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September 19, 2018 Vol. 15 No. 19

So I’m posting this from a hotel room in Hanover, Germany, just before press day at the 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles Show. The operative word there is ‘before’, which means I have only limited knowledge of what’s going to be shown, what’s going to be discussed. A shame, that, but I’ve had a few previews.

Almost two weeks ago, presumably to escape the crowd of introductions in Hanover, Mercedes-Benz Trucks presented its new flagship to the world press in Berlin. The new Actros increases safety to unprecedented levels for all road users, the company says. With ‘Active Drive Assist, partially automated driving is about to enter production for the first time — the truck can brake, accelerate, and steer itself in all speed ranges.

“Just four years after the presentation of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 driving in automated mode, we are launching the new Actros with the world’s first partially automated assistance system in a series-produced truck, thus further extending our leading role for automated driving,” said Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. “When fitted with Active Drive Assist, our new Actros makes the logistics business significantly safer for all road users and more efficient for our customers.”

Unlike systems that only work at certain speeds, Active Drive Assist offers the driver partially automated driving in all speed ranges for the first time in a series-produced truck. New elements are the active latitudinal control and the combination of longitudinal and lateral control through the fusion of radar and camera information.

ACTIVE DRIVE ASSIST BUILDS on the company’s adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function and the lane-keeping assistant. Responsibility for monitoring the traffic situation remains with the driver, Daimler says, but the system provides significant support.

Then there’s the new Active Brake Assist 5 that provides support in the case of an impending rear-end collision or other crash. Since the launch of Active Brake Assist 1 in 2006, nearly 230,000 trucks from Mercedes-Benz have been sold with it on board.

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Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to