How This New Safety Technology Works

how this new safety technology works

A driver can stop reacting to the light twitches in the wheel from Active Drive Assist, the latest safety technology to appear as an option in Mercedes Benz trucks, when armed with the knowledge about how this new safety technology works.

Like all of the new fangled gizmos on modern trucks, the Active Drive Assist just needs a little bit of getting used to. One of the best ways to get used these new systems is to get yourself fully informed.

This ADA system will only function when the driver has activated the rest of the Safety Pack, available as an option on the Mercedes Benz, Proximity Control Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Active Brake Assist etc. It works as an overlay on all of these individual systems using their data to keep the truck in its lane.

how this new safety technology works

First up, it is important to understand this is not autonomous steering. In fact, it’s several steps away from that. It depends on two sub-systems, which were already present on previous models, lane keeping and lane departure protection.

The lane keeping part of the function uses the video camera to detect where the lane markings, either side the truck are. It will detect lanes from 3.2 to 4 metres wide and will function all the way from a standstill.

The camera data is analysed and the torque required to correct any movement away from the set path is calculated. this torque is then sent to the steering system.

The ADA system is seeking to keep the truck in the desired position within the lane. The default position is to sit the truck centrally in the lane, but there is some adjustment available for this. Out on the Western Highway, heading for Ballarat from Melbourne, it was possible to adjust the setting via the big screen in front of the driver to get the trailer wheels about 300mm off the fog line and hold them there consistently.

how this new safety technology works

The steering wheel is also keeping an eye on driver behaviour. It is looking for small inputs from the driver themselves, to correct road position. If it does not detect any driver input for 15 seconds, it will set off a visual warning. At 30 seconds it will make a warning sound and then after 60 seconds, it will deactivate the system switching the the lane keeping to passive mode and leaving the driver to do all of the steering inputs. If that 60 second limit is reached three times in a journey, the lane keeping will be deactivated until the driver keys off and on again.

In more dangerous situations, where the driver may be having a medical episode, and has not moved the wheel all of the time, even when the alarms go off, the ADA goes into action again. After 60 seconds of keeping the truck in the lane, it will start to slow the truck, turn on the hazard lights, and bring the vehicle to a halt, still sitting in its lane. That’s a safety feature.

Although this driver didn’t try and get the system to deactivate, it was possible to keep one’s hands close to the wheel with fingers around the wheel without touching it. This let the system do all of the work and the alarm lit up at 15 seconds and the audio alarm came on at 30.

how this new safety technology works

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