These QR codes tell rescuers how to safely pluck you from your wrecked Mercedes

mercedes plan help firefighters qr codes
A QR Code like this could save your life.

Modern cars might be safe, but boy are they complicated. Rescue crews can be faced with an ordeal trying to figure out how to remove victims from crashes. Fortunately, Mercedes has an innovative solution to this problem: QR Codes.

You have probably run into these codes in your life, you scan them with your smartphone and they take you to a website. What Mercedes has done is created QR codes that take rescuers to information about the car.

I have always liked the idea of QR codes, but frankly they have never lived up to my expectations in terms of actually being useful. But the rescue information that Mercedes uses forces me to change my mind.

The rescue sheets contain information on the location of the airbags (on modern cars there can be more than 10, and this isn’t always obvious), batteries, the fuel tanks, high-voltage electric cables, and high-pressure cylinders. This info can save the lives of rescuers and victims when it comes to cutting or breaking into wrecked vehicles. Especially if the car, happens to be, say, on fire.

This is a big step up from having to call in based on a license plate, or memorize the rescue procedures for every single one of the cars.

The QR Codes will be placed on the car’s B-pillar and inside the gas flap. Mercedes reports that these  areas are rarely simultaneously damaged in accidents and are both readily accessible.

The great thing about Mercedes’ program is that they won’t just be putting them on the new cars Mercedes and Smarts, they will be available on any of its cars build since 1990 – and for free at that.

This is a great common sense use of existing technology that stands to benefit a lot of people. So good for you Mercedes. Now please make one for my Toyota. 

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Computing

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Cars

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.
Cars

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Product Review

Ford’s reincarnated Ranger feels like a car that does everything a truck can do

The 2019 Ford Ranger aims to be a tool for weekend adventures, and goes head-to-head with midsize pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Ford hasn’t sold the Ranger in the United States since 2011, so it has to make up…
Cars

Audi’s self-driving car unit teams up with Luminar to go driverless in 2021

Audi's self-driving car unit has teamed up with Luminar to develop and test autonomous technology. Luminar provides its lidar technology, which sees farther than the sensors offered by rivals, while Audi brings its own software.