Daimler trucks used the week that would have seen the Hanover Truck Show staged in Germany to unveil a new suite of electronic safety aids for its Mercedes Benz Actros and Arocs range.
Of course Hanover has been cancelled due to the Covid crisis so Daimler conducted an online press conference to outline the improvements the company will be making to its Benz truck range.
Mercedes-Benz has always been a safety pioneer in and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars each year in research and development of assistance systems which in this case includes Active Sideguard Assist with automated braking and Active Drive Assist 2 with automatic emergency stop function, which will now both be available from June next year.
Daimler cited a field test conducted some years ago by the German Federal Association for Freight Transport, Logistics and Waste Disposal and the German Trade Association for the Transport Industry as well as Kravag Insurance which demonstrated with over 1000 vehicles, that trucks equipped with driver assistance systems had a 34 per cent lower probability of an accident than reference vehicles of the same type.
Mercedes-Benz will offer Active Sideguard Assist (ASGA) in Europe in addition to Sideguard Assist from next year – with the new system able to not only warn the driver of moving pedestrians or cyclists on the passenger side, but also to initiate an automated braking manoeuvre at turning speeds of up to 20 km/h to standstill in case the driver doesn’t respond to the warning tones. The company says ASGA can recognise the need for a braking manoeuvre and prevent a possible collision.
Mercedes-Benz claims it will be the first truck manufacturer in the world to offer a system like this with an automatic braking function.
For Australia models there is apparently currently insufficient space on the chassis rail for the Sideguard Assist radar plate sensor, due to the large fuel tanks required to achieve the range expected in the Australia Pacific market. Daimler says a solution is expected, but not within the next two years.
As well as that Benz announced its Active Drive Assist (ADA) will turn the new Actros into the world’s first series truck to be capable of partially automated driving (SAE level 2).
The company says that under certain conditions it actively supports the driver in longitudinal and lateral guidance of the truck and can automatically maintain distance to the vehicle ahead, accelerate and also steer if the necessary system conditions such as sufficient curve radius or clearly visible road markings are met.
If the driver comes too close to a vehicle in front, ADA will automatically brake the truck until the pre-determined minimum distance has been re-established. Once that is the case, the system can then re-accelerate the truck up to the pre-determined speed.
This will also be available In Germany from June 2021 according to Daimler.
The company says that the newest-generation ADA 2 can do even more and is capable of initiating an emergency stop if it recognises that the driver has not been actively involved in the driving process for a longer period of time, for example due to health problems.
The system will alert the driver via visual and acoustic signals to place their hands on the wheel. But if they don’t respond within 60 seconds, the system can brake until the truck safely comes to a standstill within its lane while warning the following vehicles using the hazard lights.
The emergency stop manoeuvre initiated by the system can be cancelled by using a kick-down at any time. If the truck comes to a standstill, the system will automatically engage the electronic parking brake. In addition, the doors are unlocked so that paramedics and other first responders can directly reach the driver in case of a medical emergency.
No decision has been made yet as to whether to introduce Active Drive Assist in Australia.
A third component is Active Brake Assist 5 which enables the emergency braking function. ABA 5 works with a combination of radar and camera systems.
Compared to ABA 4, it can respond to pedestrians with braking up to an automatic full-stop manoeuvre from speeds of up to 50 km/h.
Daimler says ABA 5 recognises the danger of an accident with a preceding vehicle, a stationary obstacle or a pedestrian that is either approaching, crossing, walking in their own lane or suddenly stopping,