Mack’s Anthem is not just a new cabin design; this is a new truck building system with all of the latest technology integrated into the truck build. It is this new system, which will not only be appearing in the new Anthem model but will also be the standard operating system and and interior design on the Mack trucks further up the range, i.e. the Trident and the Superliner.
There is a tell-tale camera on the inside of the windscreen, looking at the road in front, which is part of the Bendix Wingman system. Integrated into the front bumper is the radar system which works in tandem with the camera to keep an eye on traffic in front of the truck.
This is an aspect of the truck which the driver will notice almost immediately, the fact that the Bendix Wingman system is now standard. This is the case in all Anthem trucks and will be the case for most of the Trident and Superliner models, as the Anthem system is rolled out.
The new trucks have Bendix Wingman Fusion, which has been an option in the past few years, but also will now include the Bendix Blindspotter, as well. Not only will the trucks have smart cruise control to enable the truck to stay at a safe distance behind the vehicle it is following, but also get a warning about any vehicle sitting out of sight on the passenger side of the vehicle.
The active cruise control works well and precisely in the Anthem, and it can be easily controlled on the Co-Pilot screen, setting desired travelling speed and safe following distance. The blind spotter in unobtrusive but wakes the driver up quickly with a warning if they put on an indicator to turn left and there is something in the nearside lane. In fact, there is also an indicator light fixed to the passenger side A-pillar which will display a red light all of the time the Blindspotter system can detect something in that blind spot area.
On the subject of the indicators, the design of the two stalks on either side of the steering column are unusual to say the least. they are not the traditional design we have come to expect, either from Europe or the US. The shape is reminiscent of the engines fitted to Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, but they do function well and are easy to use (the Enterprise’s engines are called nacelles, a housing, separate from the fuselage, that holds engines, fuel, or equipment on an aircraft).
There are some unfamiliar aspects of the driving experience on the new Anthem, but there are many more familiar aspects to be found. This is a big change for Mack, in bringing the range up to date, but the change from the driver’s seat is not that large and anyone used to driving the current range, will be able to step into the Anthem with little fuss.
The driving experience and the overall performance will be enhanced with driver training. It is important to understand the technology involved to a certain degree. These trucks will be capable of very safe and economic functioning in a fleet, but to get the best out of the new technology it is probably best to go through some form of training program to get drivers up to speed with all of the new features included in the Anthem.
The Anthem is a major change for the Mack brand and its launch will have repercussions for the model range, going forward. However, the introduction of the Anthem range, and the Anthem system into other parts of the range, ensures the building blocks for any future development are in place in the truck already. The electronic architecture now in the trucks is going to be used more and more as future developments in the design of Mack trucks come along.