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by David Zalstein

Mercedes-Benz will introduce new Quick Response (QR) code stickers on its vehicles from this year, in a bid to speed up the rescue of car crash victims.

To be fitted to each vehicle’s fuel tank flap and opposite side B-pillar, the QR code, a small black and white square symbol that can be read by smartphones and tablets, will provide a rescue sheet for each specific vehicle it is attached to, showing necessary information to rescue and emergency services such as the location of airbags, the battery, tanks, electric cables, high-pressure cylinders and, in the case of hybrid models, the location of additional batteries and high-voltage cables.

Making use of rescue sheets already developed by the German Automobile Association (ADAC) and provided by automakers for all their vehicles, Mercedes-Benz says the QR code stickers will be fitted to every one of its new vehicles from this year.

2012 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Rescue Sheet

As the QR code identifies each specific vehicle reliably, presenting rescue workers with the appropriate rescue sheet in only a matter of seconds, the system should speed up rescue efforts considerably compared with the existing system of trying to find a rescue sheet in a crashed car, or in severe collisions, simply identify a vehicle via a number plate and telephone inquiry.

Mercedes-Benz says it opted to fit the QR code stickers on the fuel tank flap and opposite side B-pillar as “it seldom occurs that both these parts are badly damaged at the same time in an accident, and they are furthermore easily accessible from the outside”.

Mercedes-Benz has waived its right to a patent registration to allow the system to be available to all car makers, encouraging manufacturers to continue to update their own rescue sheet links and incorporate the QR code system into their vehicles.

Suitable for all vehicle types, the QR code stickers can also be retrofitted, with Mercedes-Benz now producing rescue sheets for models dating back to the start of production in 1971.