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Self-steering Mercs for NZ trial

Self-steering Mercs for NZ trial

NZ Truck & Driver News

 June 2021   

In a New Zealand first, Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks that can help steer themselves are to go on the road here in a validation programme.

Five Actros heavy-duty trucks with Active Drive Assist technology – giving them SAE Level 2 partially automated driving capability – will be run in customer fleets as part of an Australasian trial.

Another 15 Mercs with Active Drive Assist will also be running in the validation programme.

The trial trucks will go to work with “a wide range of customer fleets, clocking up substantial kilometres on various roads across both countries.”  

The Active Drive Assist system helps to steer the truck in corners – keeping it in the centre of its lane….with the driver still required to hold the steering wheel.

It is a step ahead of other systems able to “push” a truck back into its lane if it begins to run wide or wander out. 

Mercedes-Benz Trucks Australia Pacific, which announced the trial at last month’s Brisbane Truck Show, says its Active Drive Assist is proactive, rather than reactive – it “actually helps to steer the truck in the first place and aims to prevent it getting out to the edge of the lane.

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In a New Zealand first, Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks that can help steer themselves are to go on the road here in a validation programme.

Five Actros heavy-duty trucks with Active Drive Assist technology – giving them SAE Level 2 partially automated driving capability – will be run in customer fleets as part of an Australasian trial.

Another 15 Mercs with Active Drive Assist will also be running in the validation programme.

The trial trucks will go to work with “a wide range of customer fleets, clocking up substantial kilometres on various roads across both countries.”  

The Active Drive Assist system helps to steer the truck in corners – keeping it in the centre of its lane….with the driver still required to hold the steering wheel.

It is a step ahead of other systems able to “push” a truck back into its lane if it begins to run wide or wander out. 

Mercedes-Benz Trucks Australia Pacific, which announced the trial at last month’s Brisbane Truck Show, says its Active Drive Assist is proactive, rather than reactive – it “actually helps to steer the truck in the first place and aims to prevent it getting out to the edge of the lane.

“It does this by using cameras to monitor the edge of the road and lane markings, and uses that data to help operate the electro-hydraulic steering system. The driver can overrule it at any time and is able to turn off the system.” 

The company revealed that it has already had “a handful” of Actros trucks with Active Drive Assist operating in customer fleets for a few months, with positive feedback.

M-B Trucks Australia Pacific director Andrew Assimo says the Active Drive Assist technology is promising: “Mercedes-Benz is always looking for new technology to boost safety and reduce fuel consumption and emissions and we think Active Drive Assist could deliver genuine benefits to our customers.  

“Level 2 automation has the potential to deliver a major safety boost and make life easier for drivers by helping to reduce fatigue, so naturally we are very keen to validate how the system operates on Australian and NZ roads.”

Assimo says active safety aids such as the Active Brake Assist 5 advanced emergency braking system, active cruise control and lane departure warning – standard on the Actros – “have been embraced by operators.

“More and more customers are placing increased importance on advanced active safety features that can help protect truck drivers and other road users.

“Mercedes-Benz has been at the forefront with fully-integrated active safety systems and we intend to continue this leadership,” he adds. 

The company will decide whether Active Drive Assist will become an option in the Australasian market, based on operator feedback and data from the validation programme.

Merc’s new Actros, launched in mid-2020, boasts new technology including multimedia tablet screens in the cab, optional MirrorCam to replace rear-vision mirrors and predictive powertrain control – using GPS and topographic information to “see” the road ahead and optimise gearshifting.  


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