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Mercedes-Benz launches Rescue Assist QR codes

Mercedes-Benz Rescue Assist -QR codes

The German car company is officially rolling out a brilliantly simple system that will help fire, police and ambulance crews access critical information about a car when arriving on the scene of an accident.

The stickers in question are QR codes that when scanned by a smartphone or tablet will identify the exact model of car, where its airbags, batteries and high voltage cables are located and the optimum points for cutting the vehicle open and safely extracting occupants if the accident is serious.

Mercedes revealed it was working on the system, called Rescue Assist, back in May 2013 and at the time said it hoped to bring it to new and existing cars in its range by 2015. It also revealed that it had waived any rights to patent the idea in the hopes that other car companies would follow its lead and introduce the stickers to their own vehicles — echoing the gesture made by Volvo when it invented the three-point seatbelt, a device estimated to have saved over 1 million lives since 1959.

Two QR stickers are applied to the car, one behind the fuel filler cap and another on the inside of the door frame on the opposing side of the vehicle. The idea is that if a car rolls as the result of an accident, whether it comes to rest on one of its sides or on its roof, the sticker can still be scanned and the relevant information obtained quickly.

At the moment, in order to identify the precise make and model, first responders need to consult a database and, as the internal differences between cars becomes greater and greater, while external differences are disappearing, this can prove time consuming. And, if the car in question is severely damaged as a result of the accident, it could be impossible to say for sure whether it is a Mercedes, BMW or a Ford, yet alone whether it is an E-Class diesel or hybrid with massive battery packs.

Of the announcement, Craig Flannery, Learning & Development Manager at The UK’s Fire Service College commented: “We’d like to be in a position where all cars have QR Codes, simply because it’s going to reduce the amount of time taken to extricate the casualty, which in turn is going to improve survival rates.”

Mercedes-Benz plans to create Rescue Assist QR codes for all Mercedes vehicles as far back as 1990 and existing owners will be able to get the stickers added to their cars free of charge.