GERMANY: The world's safest truck is now even safer: Mercedes-Benz is introducing second-generation Active Brake Assist for the heavy-duty Actros truck. This unique and multi-award-winning safety system now has even greater capability: whereas the first-generation system applied the brakes automatically if it detected a risk of a head-to-tail collision with a slow-moving obstacle in front of the vehicle, Active Brake Assist 2 is also activated if a stationary obstacle is detected. Active Brake Assist has already proven its worth in more than 14,000 trucks and over a total of more than three billion kilometres on Europe's roads.
Active Brake Assist: tried and tested over a total of more than three billion kilometres
Anti-lock braking system, acceleration skid control, disc brakes all round, electronically controlled braking system, high-pressure braking system, Brake Assist, Lane Assistant, roll control, proximity control – the list of safety technologies and systems that have celebrated their world premiere in Mercedes Benz trucks is a long one. One development highlight is the revolutionary Active Brake Assist system, which was introduced for the Mercedes-Benz Actros heavy-duty truck in 2006 and has since proven itself time and time again out on the road.
Many truck drivers have reported situations in which the safety system has prevented accidents. The experts are agreed: Active Brake Assist has saved lives – not only those of Actros drivers and occupants but also those of the people in the vehicles in front. Many insurance companies are also convinced that this system is good for their customers and, therefore, ultimately for themselves, prompting them to offer discounts on premiums for commercial vehicles equipped with this technology.
The new Active Brake Assist 2 system sets yet another milestone. Whereas the first-generation safety system only initiated emergency braking if there was a risk of a head-to-tail collision with a vehicle in front, Active Brake Assist 2 also applies the brakes if stationary obstacles are detected, for instance a suddenly encountered traffic tailback on the motorway. Daimler Trucks has therefore taken a further step towards realising its vision of accident-free driving, as part of its "Shaping Future Transportation" global initiative.
Radar-controlled system detects stationary obstacles
The radar used by the Active Brake Assist 2 system scans an area of 1-200 m in the lane ahead of the truck whilst continuously determining the distance to a vehicle in front or a stationary obstacle as well as the difference in speed between the two vehicles. If, based on the current driving style, an accident is unavoidable, the driver initially receives visual warnings in the form of a red triangle which lights up and an audible alarm. If the situation gets any worse, the system responds by applying the brakes.
The warning concept is designed to allow drivers to diffuse critical situations themselves; that's because braking initiated by Active Brake Assist 2 with 50% of the maximum braking power gives drivers the time that is needed to avoid an accident themselves.
Decisive advantage: effective from 0-89 km/h and robust under all weather and light conditions
Active Brake Assist 2 offers decisive advantages over other systems currently under development. The tried-and-tested radar technology operates robustly under all weather and light conditions, for instance. What's more, Active Brake Assist is effective across a truck's entire speed range – from 0 km/h or slow driving at brisk walking pace to motorway speeds of up to 89 km/h (when the speed limiter is activated).
Although Active Brake Assist 2 cannot always prevent accidents, the automatic application of the brakes does reduce the collision speed and, therefore, mitigates the consequences of accidents substantially.
Active Brake Assist 2 will replace the previous system at the turn of the year. As in the past, Mercedes-Benz will be doing all it can to ensure that Active Brake Assist 2 is installed in as many trucks as possible by offering packages incorporating this and other safety systems at attractive prices.
Active Brake Assist 2 is celebrating its premiere in the Mercedes-Benz Actros in late September at the International Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover
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