Mercedes-Benz claims automated vehicle first

The Actros has made history with a drive between Denkendorf and Stuttgart Airport, Daimler announces

Mercedes-Benz claims automated vehicle first
Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (left) with Daimler boss Wolfgang Bernhard.


Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the first series production truck to drive on a motorway on a partially automated basis.

The truck, an Actros with Highway Pilot, is a standard Actros vehicle equipped with Daimler’s intelligent Highway Pilot system, a combination of assistance and safety systems and sensors that scan the area in front of the truck and instigate safety measures if required.

The test drive comes with approval from the Baden-Württemberg regional council, who issued a road law exemption for the vehicle after consultation with the Rhineland German Technical Inspection Authority.

Taking part in the maiden journey was Baden-Württemberg prime minister Winfried Kretschmann and Daimler AG board member responsible for trucks and buses Dr Wolfgang Bernhard.

According to Daimler, the Highway Pilot system asks the driver, when entering a highway, whether it should take over the operation of the vehicle.

After pressing a button to approve, the "Actros meticulously keeps to its lane and maintains the optimum distance to the vehicle in front of it", the company says.

"Should the distance become too small or if a vehicle cuts in front of it, the truck brakes."

When exiting a highway, the truck asks the driver to "take control and the truck reverts from automated driving mode to manual control".

In the case of an obstacle appearing in front of the truck, the system also asks the driver to regain control.

Once it is passed, the system will ask to take back control of the level 2 automation vehicle.

Daimler ,-Mercedes -Benz ,-Actros ,-Highway -Pilot ,-ATN2


"The Highway Pilot does not replace the driver, but supports and relieves the strain on them by dealing with monotonous stretches for them and taking care of annoying stop-and-go driving in a traffic jam," Daimler says.

"The redundancy in the sensor system and fail-safer components such as the steering and brakes ensure an extremely high safety standard.

"If the minimum prerequisites for the system are not present due to bad weather or missing road markings, the Highway Pilot issues acoustic and visual impulses to ask the driver to take over.

"The driver has sufficient time to take over the task of driving. If there is no reaction from the driver, the truck brings itself to a standstill independently and safely."

The Highway Pilot sensors, radar and stereo camera are connected to the Actros’ powertrain, including its 12.8-litre OM 471 engine, meaning it does not require the internet to function.

The test drive took Kretschmann and Bernhard from Denkendorf to Stuttgart Airport on the A8 motorway.


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