By Christian Shelton07 June 2017
The protection of vulnerable road users was at the top of its agenda when UK infrastructure and civil engineering provider, Tamdown, ordered its first Mercedes-Benz truck recently. The Essex-based operator specified the 80-tonne gcw tractor unit with an optional Safety Pack which includes the manufacturer’s latest Active Brake Assist 4 autonomous braking system with pedestrian recognition technology.
The company opted for a Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3363 from the West Thurrock branch of Dealer S & B Commercials. It is the operator’s only tractor, the remainder of its truck fleet comprising rigid vehicles of various sizes. The vehicle has a StreamSpace cab and a 15.6-litre straight-six engine that produces 460 kW (625 hp). The truck’s 16-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated gearbox incorporates EcoRoll and Creep functions for enhanced economy and low-speed manoeuvrability respectively. The Arocs pulls a Faymonville twin rear-steer low-loader trailer on which it transports a variety of plant, including excavators, dumpers, crushers and screeners.
The truck has the Mercedes-Benz Safety Pack, which incorporates the latest version of Proximity Control Assist. This function intervenes automatically to reduce the risk of rear-end shunts by restricting the truck’s speed and maintaining a pre-set distance from the vehicle in front. It also includes a driver’s airbag. The Active Brake Assist employs a combination of a multi-mode radar and a high-resolution camera to monitor moving and stationary objects in front of the vehicle. The system sounds an audible warning when it senses potential for a collision. If the driver takes no action, it will apply staged braking – and eventually full braking power – to prevent a crash, or to reduce the effects of an impact.
It also incorporates pedestrian recognition, which Mercedes-Benz said was introduced on UK vehicles this spring. On detecting a pedestrian Active Brake Assist 4 applies partial, but not full, braking, while simultaneously activating acoustic and visual warnings. Mercedes-Benz said the system can even recognise a pedestrian stepping into the truck’s path from behind a parked car.
According to Tamdown plant and procurement director, Mark Cain, Mercedes-Benz’s market-leading safety credentials were key to its decision to order the Arocs. “We are always conscious of our duty of care, both to our own employees and to other road users, and committed to compliance in its broadest sense,” he commented. “We were persuaded, therefore, by the reassuring armoury of advanced safety technology with which we have been able to equip our new Arocs. Importantly, the early feedback from our driver Mark Willoughby has been entirely positive, too. He says the vehicle is exceptionally comfortable and drives very nicely, with plenty of power on tap when he needs it.”