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by James Ward

Automotive manufacturers are always looking at interesting ways to use technology in their cars, and CarAdvice reader Melissa has found a clever use of QR codes in her new Mercedes

Q: I’ve just bought a new C-Class and there is a funny barcode under the fuel flap. What is this – have I won something?

A: That is called a QR code and Mercedes-Benz is using them to help provide important information to emergency services in the event of an accident.

A QR code, or Quick Response code, is an alternative to the conventional ‘barcode’, able to carry more information than the traditional code you might see on a packet of cereal.

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Originally developed in Japan as a way of tracking automotive parts during production, QR codes become popular with mobile-marketers as a way of embedding a website or email link that could be read by a smartphone camera.

Mercedes-Benz takes it a step further and uses the codes to link to a vehicle-specific Rescue-Card that details all potential hazards that first-responders may have to deal with in the event of an accident.

Placement of airbags, fuel tanks and batteries are shown on a mobile phone screen when the code is scanned with the phone’s camera.

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There is a code sticker both in your fuel flap and on the opposite side of the car – usually in the door-jamb – so that the information is accessible from either side.

This information is particularly important for hybrid and electric vehicles that, if involved in an accident, can pose a potential electrocution risk to rescuers.

Knowing where and how to disconnect the battery is important information.

Mercedes-Benz offers these stickers for any vehicle dating back to 1990, so older Benz owners can request these to be fitted free of charge at their next service.

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