Active and passive safety
A truly safe vehicle requires features for both, active and passive safety. Active safety features help avoid accidents and are supported by smart assistance systems such as lane keeping assist functions, driving dynamics control (ESC) and emergency brake assistants – features that also protect other road users such as pedestrians or cyclists. Passive safety, by contrast, means minimizing the consequences of an accident – such as a rigid passenger cell with rear and front crumple zones whose deformation absorbs the kinetic energy of an impact. Seat-belt pretensioners, front airbags, side airbags and side head airbags like the ones on the Touareg also count as passive safety. “Even a Touareg with just the basic equipment boasts very good performance in terms of active and passive safety,” says Bergmann. The link between active and passive safety is the proactive occupant protection system. It detects critical situations with increased accident potential, prepares the vehicle for an imminent accident by, for example, tightening the seat belts, automatically closing open windows and the panorama roof and switching the hazard lights to high-frequency flashing.
“It’s all about our customers’ lives”
The high level of safety provided by the Touareg is the result of the product development process at Volkswagen. Year after year, engineers fine-tune the vehicle’s safety features and then test them in virtual crash tests using computer simulations and then also in real crash tests. “We continuously improve the safety of the vehicles,” says Bergmann. Whether it’s radar sensors or camera support, the trend is toward assistance systems that help the driver avoid accidents. “We’re developing the next level of assistance systems, such as vehicle-to-vehicle communication,” says Bergmann. A particular point of pride? “We receive letters from all around the world. In them, customers describe how they emerged unscathed from severe accidents – thanks to our safety technology.” That’s what it’s all about, says Bergmann. “It’s not about stars. It’s all about our customers’ lives.”