Mercedes-Benz customers can now order their new truck with self-steering assistance.
The new Actros models’ proprietary Active Drive Assist technology option enables SAE Level 2 partially automated driving capability, a first for Australian heavy trucks. Mercedes-Benz Trucks has introduced the innovative driver assistance technology as an optional feature after comprehensively completing a 1.2-million-kilometre validation program that included 20 Actros units, including 15 trucks in Australia and five in New Zealand.
Active Drive Assist helps actively steer the truck to keep it in the centre of its lane. However, the driver is still required to maintain a grip on the steering wheel.
It is one step ahead of some current systems that can push a truck back into the lane should it wander out. The Mercedes-Benz Trucks system helps steer the Actros in the first place and aims to prevent it from getting out to the edge of the lane. The Lane Keeping Assist System is proactive rather than reactive. It uses cameras to monitor lane markings and employs that data to help operate the electro-hydraulic steering system. The driver can overrule Lane Keeping Assist and turn off the system at any time.
Active Drive Assist uses an electric motor located on the steering box to assist in addition to the standard hydraulic power steering. It helps keep the truck in the lane, provides more assistance to the driver, and improves maneuverability, especially at lower speeds.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks Australia Pacific Director, Andrew Assimo, says drivers will appreciate Active Drive Assist technology.
“Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ Level 2 automation makes life easier for drivers and boosts safety by helping reduce fatigue,” Mr Assimo says”The feedback from our validation program has been overwhelmingly positive from drivers who can indeed appreciate the system’s benefits after experiencing it first-hand.”
Mr Assimo says the Level 2 Automation system is not taking control away from drivers but rather aids the driving experience. However, drivers must still hold the steering wheel while the vehicle is in motion and be prepared to take over at any stage.
“This is a driver assistance feature, not a driver replacement feature,” he adds. “Mercedes-Benz is always advancing new technology to boost safety, reduce fuel consumption and emissions and improve the driver’s experience, which is why we have introduced Active Drive Assist as an optional feature,” he says.
While Mercedes-Benz Trucks makes features such as its Level 2 Automation and innovative Mirror Cam feature optional, a suite of advanced safety features is standard on every truck its sells. Active Brake Assist 5 includes an Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS), adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.”Mercedes-Benz has long been leading the field to fully-integrated active safety systems in Australia, and we intend to continue this leadership with features such as Active Drive Assist,” Mr Assimo concludes.
What is often unseen is undervalued, especially when it comes to protecting drivers and other road users. You might think you will only ever experience Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ most advanced safety features in the most dangerous circumstances. But in fact, the safety systems in Mercedes-Benz Trucks are constantly at work behind the scenes to help both the truck and the driver arrive at their destination safely and efficiently every time.
From the Electronic Stability Program to Active Brake Assist-5, and now with the addition of Active Drive Assist technology, these innovative safety technologies of Mercedes-Benz Trucks act as invisible guardians. They help provide invaluable driving assistance, monitor traffic situations, perform pre-emptive measures, and safeguard the road ahead.
Other key technology introduced by Mercedes-Benz Trucks includes high-resolution Multimedia Cockpit tablet screens and Predictive Powertrain Control, which uses GPS and topographic information to optimise gearshifts and maximise coasting to save as much fuel as possible.
Safe trucks are also more efficient because they help relieve the driver’s workload and limit unnecessary vehicle downtime. Visit the Mercedes-Benz Trucks website to watch the films and learn more about the advanced safety systems.