The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand


Helping drivers out of a fix

The multi-collision brake stops the vehicle after a crash and helps provide protection from follow-on accidents.

A quarter of all accidents do not end with the initial collision. This is why the multi-collision brake is a practical assistant.

An accident seldom occurs in isolation. Following an initial collision, a vehicle often strays into oncoming traffic and collides with other vehicles as a result. In a situation as precarious as this, the multi-collision brake unfolds its full potential: It automatically applies the brakes, which can save the shocked driver and other road users from further harm.

The electronic assistant decelerates the vehicle so it comes to a stop. To do so, it connects up other systems that are already installed in the vehicle. The airbag sensors detect the first accident and send the brake command to the brake control unit. The latter then initiates a full application of the brakes with the aid of the electronic stability control ESC.

One quarter of all accidents don’t end with the first collision, as developer Matthias Lau explains. The multi-collision brake uses the automatic braking manoeuvre it triggers to reduce the energy remaining in the vehicle after the first accident. This ensures that the vehicle does not keep moving toward other road users or any obstacles present. Lau adds: “The proactive occupant protection system then springs to life: Emergency braking and warning lights, as well as the belt tensioner, are activated and all windows close automatically.”

Of key importance: The multi-collision brake can be overridden by the driver at any time. If the driver depresses the gas pedal of his or her own accord while the vehicle is being braked, then the function is deactivated – returning control over the vehicle to the driver.


Matthias Lau (50) started at Volkswagen in 1985. The electrical engineer has been working at Technical Development since 1994, and is responsible for the multi-collision brake within Vehicle Safety.