Mercedes-Benz plan will put QR codes on cars to speed up rescues

We joke that most people don't like QR codes, but those codes link to a lot of information through one snapshot -- and Mercedes-Benz may just use that efficiency to save lives. The automaker is putting the symbols on vehicles so that emergency crews just need a phone camera scan for easy access to rescue sheets, which are schematics that show where to cut into a wrecked car when recovering trapped passengers. With such immediate knowledge, rescuers don't have to wait for a model confirmation or else risk cutting wires and fuel lines. While we'll initially see the QR codes only in Mercedes-Benz cars made this year and beyond (placed inside the fuel door and on the opposite side B-pillar), the company isn't being selfish: it's refusing to patent its method in the hope that every vehicle manufacturer will quickly embrace the technology.

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Speedy rescue of accident victims: A new Mercedes-Benz initiative: QR code that can save lives
Stuttgart, May 23, 2013

Stuttgart – When every second counts: with a small yet effective innovation, Mercedes-Benz wants to make the rescue of accident victims safer and swifter. In future a QR code, which can be read by smartphones and tablets, placed on Mercedes-Benz cars, will provide a rescue map for every vehicle type, which can be shown on the device's display. This chart contains all the information necessary to rescue any injured occupants speedily.
This Mercedes-Benz innovation makes use of the rescue sheets developed by the ADAC, the German Automobile Association, and which are already provided by all automakers for every one of their vehicle models. The sheets show firefighters, police and paramedics the design details they need to know in order to use the rescue shears effectively, for example. The rescue sheet, specific for each vehicle type, also informs about the location of the airbags, the battery, the tanks, electric cables, high-pressure cylinders and other components – in the case of hybrid models the location of the additional batteries and high-voltage cables, too. This information can save lives, because in an emergency every action counts and every second is precious.
However, in many cases rescue workers have to do their best without a rescue sheet, either because the driver neglected to carry one in the car, or because the rescuers cannot find it in the car. There are different proposals for the best location for the rescue sheet. Most favour the sun visor.
If there is no rescue sheet on board, then the rescue workers have to identify the accident vehicle with absolute certainty – something that does not always lead to the correct result in the presence of severe accident damage and missing model identification. In such cases only a telephone inquiry based on the number plate can help.
This Mercedes-Benz innovation, on the other hand, offers – in almost all cases – a swift and reliable way to a vehicle-specific correct security identity card – and can do this without requiring any action on the part of the driver. As from this year all new vehicles from Mercedes-Benz will be provided with two stickers with a so-called QR code. This square symbol with black and white sectors is often used by magazines, for instance, to direct readers via internet to a specific web page. Thanks to an app, QR codes can be read by every smartphone and every Tablet equipped with a camera.
The Mercedes-Benz QR codes identify the vehicle reliably, make fundamental information about the vehicle visible immediately and automatically direct to the website with the specific rescue sheet – generally a matter of only a few seconds. In order to make it easy to find the label with the potentially lifesaving QR code, Mercedes-Benz places one on the fuel tank flap and the other on the B-pillar on the opposite vehicle side. For 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.
Further benefits of the innovative QR code solution from Mercedes-Benz:
Rescue workers do not need to identify the vehicle themselves and navigate through Internet pages for this.
Suitable for all vehicle types, both with conventional and with alternative drive systems.
The stickers with QR code can be easily retrofitted.
All automakers can continue to update their own rescue sheet links themselves and thus use the QR system to advantage, because Mercedes-Benz has waived the right to a patent registration in order to make the system available to everyone.
For all model series from production start in 1979, Mercedes-Benz has rescue sheets in different languages available to download at