Vehicles designed for the European market tend to have high-end luxury features. It’s what Europeans expect, and heavy vehicle manufacturers are embracing this trend. After all, those hi-tech options may be even more helpful in larger vehicles than regular ones, because drivers have longer hours, and mishaps have more repercussions. Mercedes is abiding by this principle in its new Actros truck. Features are both practical and cosmetic.
Instead of standard side mirrors and their potential blind spots, the Actros has MirrorCam. This truck part is now standard in every Mercedes Actros and comprises of 15-inch screens that give the driver a 360° view of his/her driving conditions. The mirrors are fed by four cameras – two on each side of the cabin. The cameras are mounted on stalks that extend outside the truck. However, if these trucks are to come to Australia, they might have to re-insert at least one mirror, because Australia Design Rules (ADR) require a mandatory rear-view mirror.
Safe screen time for truckers
Actros MirrorCam screens sit on the A-pillar of the truck, but they’re not the only screens on this truck. For ease of navigation, there are two more screens on the truck dashboard. They allow truckers to access any truck-related information they need, and the driver can configure the screens to fit their preferred function. These screens are the key component of Actros multimedia cockpit. They can be linked to the driver’s phone, with dedicated Actros apps for the two major smartphones OS. (Android Auto and Apple Car Play). The apps provide two-way data access to/from the driver and Mercedes Truck Data Centre.
The Actros is also optimised to use 5% less fuel. It’s loaded with top Mercedes truck parts and features, including Active Brake Assist 5 and Active Drive Assist. They ease the driving process for the driver while also making it safer for other road users. Active Drive Assist partially automates the vehicle. For example, the truck will automatically slow as it approaches a pedestrian or gets within a set distance of the car in front, always keeping you two seconds behind it. This happens without driver intervention, especially when the car ahead slows, stops, or cuts you off.
More tech for less fatigue
Having some of those driving decisions automated will go a long way in easing exhaustion levels among drivers. Michael May is the Mercedes Bus and Truck Director for the Australia Pacific region. He is aware that before their trucks hit the local market, a lot will have to happen, including Mercedes potentially seeking ADR exemptions. And while Daimler Trucks, in general, are speeding up their processes, it still took a few years for the newest generation Mercedes trucks to get here. That’s why May said it was still too early to discuss timelines.
“We will only introduce it once we are absolutely positive that it is right for our local customers and able to withstand our tough conditions.” In the meantime, Mercedes truck owners can still service their existing, older generation trucks using high-quality aftermarket Mercedes truck spares. The latest components in the Actros may be harder to source, but by the time the trucks get here, it’s likely that the necessary Mercedes high-quality truck parts will be here too.