Daimler drives in more safety in heavy-duty trucks

The company plans to launch AMT-equipped heavy-duty trucks in the coming months for enhanced safety of drivers.

By Shahkar Abidi and Ketan Thakkar calendar 21 May 2024 Views icon2799 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Daimler drives in more safety in heavy-duty trucks

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), a subsidiary of Daimler Truck AG, is making significant strides in safety technology, according to Satyakam Arya, the company's Managing Director and CEO, with the company planning to launch its MY24 BharatBenz heavy-duty trucks in the coming months, including the models equipped with the Automated Manual Transmission (AMT).

The development is significant, considering the fact that, apart from their operational efficiencies and cost savings, the AMTs offer improved driver experience and safety. Driver fatigue is always a result of the driving task like frequent manual gear changes, and researchers have extensively investigated the fatigue aspect for driver monitoring and traffic safety.

One solution is to eliminate the manual transmission and replace it with an automatic, very much like in modern cars. The introduction of AMTs eliminates the need for constant manual gear changes, reducing driver fatigue during long hauls. By automatically selecting the optimal gear, AMTs provide a smoother ride and minimize the risk of driver error. Additionally, they prevent the truck from rolling back on inclines, enhancing safety and convenience.

DICV has announced that the 12-speed Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) variants will be introduced for the first time in its tractor trailer and mining MY24 models. AMTs will be offered in 4032TT, 5532TT, 3532CM, and 2832CM for long haul and mining applications.

The vehicle maker claims that the new AMT is in use in over 500,000 trucks worldwide and offers jerk-free transmission of power to the wheels with reduced shifting time, improved reliability and low maintenance costs. It can be operated with a convenient steering column shift stick. BharatBenz trucks have the safest crash-tested cabins in India, meeting the highest safety standards (ECE R29-03) as per European cab-crash regulations, not mandated in India yet, the company said.

"We are also making rapid advancements when it comes to safety and how are we doing that?" said Arya. "We're talking about advanced safety features that not only meet the legal regulations, but also go beyond that," he adds. The company recently demonstrated use cases for the active drive assist feature of its vehicles, which can conduct steering, lane keeping, and acceleration on its own.

Commitment to safety

Demonstrating its commitment to safety, DICV upgraded its Indian vehicles to comply with the latest European crash safety norms last year, even though Indian regulations had not yet been updated. Furthermore, the company has implemented 100% fitment of safety monitoring systems across all its vehicles sold in India. In  a recent presentation, Arya highlighted the company's cutting-edge safety features, including the Active Drive Assist (ADA) system which can handle steering, lane keeping,  and acceleration autonomously, in addition
to active braking, which is capable of performing automated full stops.

From a safety point of view, industry experts point out that an active drive assist, also called ADA, comes equipped with cameras and sensors to monitor the truck's position within its lane, prevents unintentional drifting by making subtle steering adjustments to keep the truck centred. This reduces the safety risks that come with long driving, where driver fatigue usually tends to get on the higher side. Secondly, it helps in maintaining safe distance from other vehicles by automatically adjusting the truck's speed to match that of traffic flow, thereby reducing the need for constant driver inputs, among others.

DICV agrees on the importance of modernising trucks with features like AC cabins, which helps improve overall safety. They highlighted that as regulation mandates trucks move towards the AC cabins, it will help in providing a better environment for drivers and make them more efficient and safer on roads.

This feature was first published in Autocar Professional's May 15, 2024 issue.

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