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Mercedes-Benz Actros boasts a driver-assist first in Australia

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Customers can now order a Mercedes-Benz truck that can help steer itself.

Now available on Actros models, the Active Drive Assist technology enables SAE Level 2 partially automated driving capability; a first for Australian heavy trucks, said Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

The innovative technology has been introduced as an optional feature after a successful 1.2 million kilometre validation program that included 20 trucks, including 15 units in Australia and five in New Zealand.

Active Drive Assist helps to actively steer the truck and keep it in the centre of its lane, although the driver is still required to hold the steering wheel.

Mercedes-Benz said 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 actually helps to steer the truck in the first place and aims to prevent it getting out to the edge of the lane. The Lane Keeping Assist system is proactive rather than reactive.

It does this by using cameras to monitor lane markings, and uses that data to help operate the electro-hydraulic steering system. The driver can overrule Lane Keeping Assist at any time and is able to turn off the system.

Mercedes-Benz said the new technology helps reduce driver fatigue.

Active Drive Assist uses an electric motor located on the steering box to provide assistance in addition to the standard hydraulic power steering. It not only helps keep the truck in the lane, but also provides more assistance to the driver and improving maneuverability, especially at lower speeds.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks Australia Pacific Director, Andrew Assimo, believes truckies will appreciate Active Drive Assist technology.

“Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ Level 2 automation makes life easier for drivers and boosts safety by helping reduce fatigue,” said Assimo, Mercedes-Benz Trucks Australia Pacific director.

“The feedback from our validation program has been overwhelmingly positive from drivers who can really appreciate the benefits of the system after experiencing it first-hand.”

Assimo said the Level 2 Automation system is not taking control away from drivers as they are required to hold the steering wheel at all times and must be prepared to take over at any stage.

“This is a driver assistance feature, not a driver replacement feature,” he said.

“Mercedes-Benz is always advancing new technology to boost safety, reduce fuel consumption and emissions and improve the experience of the driver, which is why we have introduced Active Drive Assist as an optional feature.”

  • Watch out for our review of the new tech in an Actros test drive feature in our May 27 issue.
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