Gold Diesel Ring for Prof. Rodolfo Schöneburg: A life dedicated to vehicle safety

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Prof. Dr. Ing. Rodolfo Schöneburg, Head of Passive Safety and Vehicle Functions at Mercedes-Benz Cars, will be awarded the “Gold Diesel Ring” of the German Association of Motor Journalists (VdM) on 26 April 2013 in recognition of his long-standing commitment to improving vehicle safety.

Rodolfo Schoneburg

“Our declared aim at Mercedes-Benz is to maintain and consolidate our trend-setting role in the field of vehicle safety, thereby furthering the cause of road safety as a whole,” observes Prof. Schöneberg in the course of the award ceremony at the VdM event “Modern Mobility” in Düsseldorf.

The accident research team at Mercedes-Benz has been systematically analysing real-life traffic accidents for over 40 years now, in pursuit of two objectives: identifying the causes of accidents and reducing the severity of crashes. “On the basis of these findings, we evolve new protection systems and new assistance systems in keeping with our ‘Real Life Safety’ philosophy,” explains Prof. Schöneburg.

Many pioneering innovations mark the course of Schöneburg’s career. With PRE-SAFE®, for example, he heralded in the new era of integral and preventive protection systems in the field of vehicle safety at the beginning of 2000. Innovations such as PRE-SAFE® Pulse, the beltbag and the active seat belt buckle for rear passengers, all of which have been developed under his direction, are due to be premiered in the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the course of this year.

Pressing ahead with the ongoing development of safety technology represents only part of the remit here, however. Discussing and explaining safety and exchanging views and opinions on safety with lay persons and other experts are equally important. Many talks and publications on the subject of vehicle safety have been penned by Prof. Schöneburg. He is esteemed worldwide as an expert and authority on safety matters.

“I see it as my vocation to play my part in helping to further the improvement of vehicle safety,” says Prof. Schöneburg. His enthusiasm for this subject is evidently infectious: since 2007 he has been promoting young talent in this field, presenting his lectures on “Integral vehicle safety” at the Technical University of Dresden (TU Dresden) and the Dresden University of Applied Sciences (HTW Dresden), for example. Some of the more than a hundred young engineering students attending these lectures have since chosen to specialise in the subject of vehicle safety.

The Gold Diesel Ring for Prof. Schöneburg continues a tribute to Daimler: former heads of development Fritz Nallinger and Hans Scherenberg received this renowned award back in 1961 and 1975 respectively.

The VdM is the largest professional organisation for motor journalists from all media and employees in the automotive industry and the car components industry in Germany. The Gold VdM Diesel Ring has been awarded since 1955 to outstanding personalities who have rendered exemplary services to the cause of road safety. The ring incorporates a fragment of Rudolf Diesel’s first test engine dating from 1893.

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