Euro Commercials - Mercedes Benz, Ride and Drive event at Margarm Park.

A big thank you to our friends at Euro Commercials - Mercedes Benz for inviting us for their Ride and Drive event in Margarm Park.

This was a brilliant opportunity to see the MirrorCam, MultiMedia Cockpit, ABA5 and more in action. 
Our demo instructor first ran through the interior of the cab, it was certainly cleaner and tidier than most trucks I have seen. The new Mercedes-Benz Actros receives the updated Multimedia Cockpit. The dashboard now sports two screens that are the main source of information for the driver. It had a very sleek, modern and no fuss feel to it. Although everything can be controlled via the two touch screens and steering wheel controls, there were traditional buttons and controls there just in case.

Next we were talked through the new MirrorCam system. As the name suggests, it ditches traditional side mirrors in favor of one camera mounted on each door. The cameras beam images to 15-inch displays on the A-pillars. Not only can it work as a highfalutin' side mirror, it can also be used to help drivers reverse trailers, and the screens can be turned on if a sleeping driver thinks somebody is trying to jack their fuel. Our instructor then took a high viz vest and placed it in-line with the back of the trailer. He returned then to set a bar on the MirrorCam system, which was matched on both mirrors. This would then serve as reference when reversing, which came in handy later when we were trying to avoid hitting a post.  

As we were driving out of the display ground, our instructor pointed out the MirrorCam’s automatically following the back corner of the trailer when making a turn. This gave us a much better view than a traditional mirror, which would have been just the side of the trailer. Well we are on that topic, the MirrorCam system can switch between the ‘smart’ view and ‘traditional’ view by the switch of button.

As we drove on the M4 and back onto country lanes, we could see the new Active Drive Assist system in action. It permits low-level semi-autonomy whereby the truck itself is capable of accelerating, braking and steering in certain circumstances. It will work at all speeds, so it has stop-and-go functionality, but Mercedes-Benz is keen to remind drivers that the human behind the wheel must maintain vigilance. It relies on both radar and camera systems, like many current driver-assist systems in passenger cars.

Active Drive Assist also works in conjunction with an improved version of Benz's Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) system. Essentially GPS-based cruise control, PPC reads the topography of the road ahead and is capable of adjusting the truck's speed or its current gear in order to maximize fuel economy. Mercedes-Benz estimates that Actros drivers will see up to 5 percent lower fuel costs on rural routes -- but it bears mentioning that the truck's improved aerodynamics also factor into that estimation.

The new Actros also features the fifth generation of Mercedes-Benz's Active Brake Assist autobrake system. Now relying on both cameras and radar, it can detect potential collisions from either vehicles or pedestrians, warning the driver or bringing the truck to a stop depending on the severity. It'll work at speeds up to 31 mph, and once the truck grinds to a halt, the system applies the parking brake to prevent further movement. However…luckily…. We never had to see in action.

To summarise, these were absolutely fantastic pieces of kit that I can expect becoming the industry norm over the next few years and we were left in awe of this truck!