In with the new, while SA re­mains stuck with the old

Business Day - Motor News - - COMMERCIAL NEWS -

In 2012 we at­tended the un­veil­ing of the new Mercedes-Benz Ac­tros. Then we waited. And we waited. Even­tu­ally in 2018 it was launched in SA, a full six years af­ter its re­veal.

It took so long to ar­rive in fact that Mercedes has now re­vealed the new Ac­tros. That will not be great news for com­pa­nies that have just in­vested in the not-sonew Ac­tros, but then it could be an­other six years un­til the proper new Ac­tros ar­rives.

We re­quested clar­i­fi­ca­tion from Mercedes-Benz SA on when the new Ac­tros will ar­rive here, but at the time of go­ing to print we had still re­ceived no of­fi­cial re­sponse ex­cept to point out that they have only just launched the out­go­ing model.

“With more than 60 in­no­va­tions, the new Ac­tros brings the fu­ture of heavy-duty trucks to the roads to­day,” says Ste­fan Buch­ner, member of the di­vi­sional board of Daim­ler Trucks and head of MercedesBenz Trucks.

Pos­si­bly wait­ing years for the new gen­er­a­tion to ar­rive will mean you miss out on th­ese in­no­va­tions. It might look sim­i­lar in the de­sign de­part­ment but look closer, beyond the re­designed LED day­time run­ning lights. The wing mir­rors have gone, re­placed by Mir­rorCam, a se­ries of cam­eras linked to wing mir­ror style screens in­side the cab, in­clud­ing clever blind spot dis­plays. The dash­board com­po­nents are more car-like than ever, in­clud­ing a sim­i­lar mul­ti­func­tion steering wheel de­sign to the one you will find in a C-Class and dig­i­tal in­stru­men­ta­tion. This in­cludes the Mul­ti­me­dia Cock­pit with a dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter screen the same as that on the new AClass and a dig­i­tal in­fo­tain­ment screen that in­cludes fea­tures like Ap­ple CarPlay, An­droid Auto, nav­i­ga­tion and all the telem­at­ics in­for­ma­tion through the brand’s Truck Data Cen­tre soft­ware which can con­nect the truck and driver to the cloud.

“Our new Ac­tros is even more con­nected and in­tu­itive to op­er­ate due to its Mul­ti­me­dia Cock­pit,” says Uwe Baake, head of de­vel­op­ment at the brand. “Thanks to its fully over­hauled hu­man-ma­chine in­ter­face, our flag­ship model of­fers driv­ers a workspace of the fu­ture. The unique level of op­er­a­tional con­ve­nience and dis­play com­fort is com­pelling. With two in­ter­ac­tive screens as stan­dard, all the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion is dis­played at a glance and the vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of our new as­sis­tance sys­tems is fur­ther en­hanced.”

Tech con­tin­ues with the in­tro­duc­tion of Ac­tive Drive As­sist, a level of semi­au­tonomous driv­ing that en­ables the truck to brake, ac­cel­er­ate and steer at any speed. It’s not fully au­ton­o­mous, but hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced the full sys­tem in the com­pany’s Fu­ture Truck 2025 a few years ago, it is im­pres­sive. Ac­tive Brake As­sist 5 can bring the truck to a stop faster than ever be­fore.

Fuel con­sump­tion is claimed to have been cut by 5%, in part due to the in­clu­sion of Pre­dic­tive Pow­er­train Con­trol, an in­tel­li­gent cruise con­trol sys­tem, and aero­dy­namic en­hance­ments.

In essence, the new Ac­tros is smarter, safer, more fuel ef­fi­cient, more com­fort­able and more pro­duc­tive. Given the cur­rent eco­nomic stresses, the mar­ket will be hop­ing that Mercedes does not take six years to bring it to SA.

NEW AC­TROS IS EVEN MORE CON­NECTED AND IN­TU­ITIVE TO OP­ER­ATE DUE TO ITS MUL­TI­ME­DIA COCK­PIT

The new Ac­tros might look sim­i­lar to the out­go­ing model but it in­cludes some clever tech­nol­ogy. Be­low: The in­te­rior fea­tures more con­nec­tiv­ity and more dig­i­tal fea­tures as well as Mir­rorCam dig­i­tal wing mir­ror screens.

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