The Story behind the SOS Cube

Michael Anders did it the other way!

Highway A8 connecting Augsburg and Munich is one of Germany's busiest highway sections. Tens of thousands of commuters pour into Munich every day.

One of them is Michael Anders, a trained car mechanic and currently a salesman at a major car dealer. He has witnessed countless breakdowns and accidents over the past few years and the large number of curious onlookers have often made him angry. This led him to thinking seriously about safety and assistance in such cases. In addition, Michael Anders worked as a road safety trainer for ADAC, the German automobile association.

He hit on the idea out of the blue in summer 2007: why do you not recognise broken-down cars sooner? He had asked himself this question several times before, but now he knew the answer: you need an SOS Cube – on the car roof! The warning needed to be visible at a distance. It would help prevent many late braking manoeuvres and rear-end collisions.

He put himself in all kinds of situations and came to the following conclusion: "Warning systems so far only show incidents, but they do not concretely ask for help!" A warning triangle is "just" placed on the street and is often concealed by cars driving ahead of the viewer. But his SOS Cube would be different.

Michael Anders did it the other way: he took the warning terms and symbols everybody already recognizes from a distance. The first tests, however, involved a cube just reading "Help". And it made an impact right away. The first cube consisted of inflatable promotional items with reflecting material. He had stuck the word "Help" on them with black adhesive foil.

Putting the first self-made cube construct in his trunk, Michael Anders drove on side roads mounting the cube on the car roof in order to make initial pictures. Other drivers passing by reacted immediately. Most stopped right away asking whether they could help.

Being a typical tinkerer, Michael Anders saw his idea confirmed. But how could he turn this idea into a reasonably priced product ready for the market and sell it in the end? He was faced with a huge number of questions.

And then a TV show helped him out unexpectedly: in the SAT 1 TV Casting - Show Michael Anders won the first prize in 2009.

Since then, four years of developing the product have passed and many bureaucratic obstacles have been overcome. Michael Anders found a suitable production site for the SOS Cubes and finally received the longed-awaited test seal awarded by TÜV Süd.

The SOS Cube is currently available only for specialist dealers and is to be released for sale to the general public in 2014.