The 2020 Mercedes-Benz Actros is the most technologically advanced prime mover in Australia, if not the world.
The big changes to the Actros from the model that was introduced in early 2017 can be boiled down to four main areas: a new multimedia cockpit; the 'MirrorCam' digital side mirrors; the arrival of Mercedes-Benz's Predictive Powertrain Control, which blends topographic data with cruise control to minimise fuel burn; and the latest generation of autonomous emergency braking, or Active Brake Assist 5.
The MirrorCam system is arguably the biggest game-changer in the Actros. This is the first time in Australia that cameras have taken over from mirrors entirely in a vehicle.
Certainly, the technology has been around for a while but it seems nobody has been able to implement it and get through our stringent Australian Design Rules (ADRs).
It’s interesting to note that virtually all the concept trucks shown at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show sported systems similar to the MirrorCam, indicating this technology is sure to be adopted by other manufacturers.
Mercedes-Benz has thought the system through and come up with a package that answers all the questions posed by the naysayers. We drove the Actros through Victoria on a day that threw up all manner of weather conditions from bright sunshine to torrential rain and the MirrorCam came through without fault.
However, it’s not just the MirrorCam that makes this truck a technological tour de force. The digital cockpit is first class, and the ability to customise the dash to suit the driver is terrific and really adds to the ease of driving of the ‘Benz.
Then there’s the Predictive Powertrain Control that ‘reads’ the road ahead when the adaptive cruise control is activated. It modifies the vehicle's output to suit, backing off the throttle when the vehicle is cresting a hill and coasting downhill or on flat straights, significantly reducing fuel consumption.
Finally, the Active Brake Assist 5 can detect pedestrians or vehicles and apply up to 100 per cent of braking ability without input from the driver. This will not only make the Actros safer but can avoid or at least mitigate damage from collisions with other vehicles, minimising costly repairs and their associated downtime.
All of these features, in addition to the impressive power and all-round capability for the Mercedes-Benz Actros, make it a worthy winner of the Trucksales Innovation Award.