Jan Obermann

Head of electrics at Skoda

The vehicle, what it represents and its main purpose – its raison d'être, if you will – is quite different depending on who you speak to. For some it is a source of pleasure, enabling the thrill of fast acceleration, while for others it is merely a convenience that transports you from one place to another.

Regardless of why it is that people drive, as soon as cars were capable of reaching speeds higher than 25km/h they became potentially lethal objects and ever since engineers have looked at improving safety records. 

For Skoda electrics engineer, Jan Obermann, making the vehicle safer has been the goal throughout his career so far. Even in just the relatively short time he has been in the industry, Obermann has seen priorities shift.

“When I first started, 15 years ago, we were focused on passive safety – helping during and after a crash,” he says. 

“But for the last few years it has been also active safety because with active safety we can prevent accidents and we are not just helping the driver and passengers but also the surrounding traffic as well.”

He compares the extent of change in the realm of vehicle safety to that witnessed with mobile phones. 

Obermann was tasked with building a team of engineers to enhance the safety systems across all the OEM's vehicle range. The Octavia was the first to benefit from their endeavours, but Obermann believes that the systems made available on the new Superb and unveiled to the world in a glitzy ceremony in Prague earlier this year reach another superior level of safety.

With blind-spot detection, traffic-jam assistance, new adaptive cruise control and lane-assist systems – to mention just a few – the Superb takes the next step towards a greater level of protection for the occupants, other vehicles and
passing pedestrians. 

tags: June 2015 Skoda