Let’s face it: Whether it’s life, the stockmarket….hell, even the weather, predicting the future is about as easy to do as nailing the Lotto numbers.
But these days more and more truckmakers are prepared to give it a go – trying their hand at an electronic, digital (and helpful) version of looking into a crystal ball.
And yes, even in New Zealand, truckies are getting the benefit of this future-seeing, seemingly mystical and magical thing.
Truckies like Allan Timms, who we’re spending time with today – primarily to get first-hand experience in his B&D Doors’ Actros FHS 2663 LS GigaSpace, with what Merc terms Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC).
Pity we’re not better at this predictive stuff ourselves: The sunny, midsummer day we were hoping for turns out instead to be a rainy, gloomy Bay of Plenty morning.
This is a test that’s mostly about the latest of the high-tech features that Kiwi Mercedes-Benz buyers can now spec in a new Actros.
Top-of-the-line models like B&D Doors’ Mercedes-Benz Actros 2663 GigaSpace (which I’m test-driving today) now offer what other truckmakers term predictive cruise control, but in Merc language is Predictive Powertrain Control.
Basically, it’s the next step on from adaptive cruise control, which uses radar and onboard cameras to maintain a safe distance between the host truck and the vehicle ahead.
The PPC system adds in highly-accurate 3D mapping and GPS to look ahead of the truck and “see” how steep the next hill is, check the radius of the next corner, know precisely how far it is to the crest of the hill you’re climbing. The aim is to save fuel and make life easier for the driver.
This truck also has the MirrorCam system on it, which I’ve tested before (and thoroughly enjoyed) and which I’m really looking forward to using again, to see if I missed anything on my first experience.