Daimler launches new features at Brisbane

In News, Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMay 14, 2021

At this week‘s Brisbane Truck Show Daimler Truck and Bus Australia Pacific launched new digital and safety features for its Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz brands. 

For its Cascadia conventional truck, Freightliner revealed a new-look digital dashboard, the first conventional truck to be available with the feature when it becomes an optional item in Australia and New Zealand from the fourth quarter of this year.

The high-definition Digital Dashboard introduces new levels of functionality and improves access for drivers via two large tablet-style screens that can be used to easily access a wide range of controls and information displays. A 12.3-inch display replaces the traditional instrument cluster with a digital tacho and speedo as well as gauges, trip data and adaptive cruise control system information. The 10-inch centrally-mounted display features a touch screen for ease of use, allowing access to a raft of information and settings, but also features a row of traditional buttons for features a driver may want to control in a hurry, such as audio. 

Information on both screens can be accessed through controls on the steering wheel, which features intuitive thumb control pads. The driver can still operate the climate controls with dials to the left of the central screen. 

“The screens are easy to use and give drivers access to more controls and more information than ever before. Furthermore, they look fantastic and we think our customers will absolutely love these displays that are way out in front of anything else available in the conventional truck class,” says Freightliner Australia Pacific director, Stephen Downes.

New safety for Mercedes-Benz rigids

For the Mercedes-Benz Trucks brand, the Active Brake Assist 5 advanced safety package will extend to cover its entire Australian and New Zealand rigid highway range. The full suite was not previously available with the 8×4 Arocs model given application-related packaging restrictions. 

These engineering challenges have been overcome and the 8×4 now features the radar-based Active Brake Assist package alongside its long list of existing safety features including Electronic Stability Program, driver airbag and Lane Departure Warning System. The Active Brake Assist 5 system uses a radar and camera that work together to try and prevent avoidable collisions. It has the capability to bring the truck to a complete halt when it detects moving pedestrians. 

The system can also stop completely for moving or stationary vehicles when the driver may be distracted, something that is proven to save lives and reduce road trauma. The Advanced Emergency Braking System, called Active Brake Assist, is designed to avoid or reduce the impact of collisions including heavy vehicles.

The rigid range is now also available with the optional Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) feature. PPC improves the way the engines and the fully automated transmissions are controlled in order to save fuel by adding anticipation technology to the fuel saving mix. 

PPC uses topographical information, including pre-mapped three-dimensional GPS data, to enable the truck to make the best, and most economical, choice of throttle application and gear selection. 

On steep hills, ahead of a hilltop, coasting down a hill, in dips or on the flat, PPC recognises impending driving situations in good time and takes anticipatory action. This could mean holding on to a gear, rather than changing up, just before the crest of the hill, or briefly selecting neutral to save fuel in the appropriate conditions.

Another option available for the rigid range is the MirrorCam system, with both safety and aerodynamic advantages from removing the traditional mirrors.

The new Mercedes-Benz rigid range also features Lane Keeping Assist, which alerts the driver if the truck drifts out the lane without the indicator on and Attention Assist, which alerts the driver who is beginning to drive in a fatigue-affected manner. 

A very popular part of the safety technology suite is Proximity Control Assist; an adaptive cruise control function that can modulate the speed of the truck in traffic, even when the traffic grinds to a halt.