Around three months after the world premiere of Active Brake Assist 2 at the International Commercial Vehicle Show (IAA) in Hanover, the innovative safety ­system in the Mercedes-Benz Actros received its first award in Brussels today. Belgian motoring journalists have presented the coveted “FuturAuto 2011” award to this anticipatory radar system designed to prevent rear-end collisions.

The FuturAuto Award is presented annually for innovative development achievements in the field of vehicle safety, fuel economy, environmental protection and vehicle comfort. This year a total of 17 proposals were submitted, of which five were nominated by the jury. At the award ceremony Hubertus Troska, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, referred to this second generation of Active Brake Assist as a further, progressive development step towards improved traffic safety: “With this assistance system, which can now recognise both vehicles moving ahead and stationary obstacles, we have made our Actros, the world’s safest truck, even safer.”

Accident rate reduced by 50 percent in field trials
Even before its market launch in 2006, the first generation of Active Brake Assist demonstrated its enormous safety potential. The results of field trials covering 100 million test kilometres with 1000 Actros semitrailer combinations showed that the accident rate for vehicles equipped with the new safety system fell by 50 percent.

The second generation of this multiple award-winning safety package (e.g. Brussels Motor Show Safety Award, ADAC “Yellow Angel” award for innovation and European Safety Award for commercial vehicles) is even capable of much more: the new active safety system not only automatically maintains a preset safety distance from a vehicle travelling ahead, with automatic braking intervention if there is a risk of a rear-end collision with a vehicle moving more slowly. Active Brake Assist 2 also recognises stationary obstacles, for example the end of a traffic tailback, and automatically initiates braking action if the driver fails to react.

Obstacles recognised to a range of 150 metres
Active Brake Assist 2 is based on a new, scanning radar system. This scans the lane in which the truck is travelling from a range of 1 to 150 metres, continuously measuring the distance and differential speed versus a vehicle travelling ahead, or versus a stationary obstacle. If an accident is unavoidable unless the driver takes action, he is given a visual and then acoustic warning. If the situation becomes even more acute, the system responds by braking the vehicle.

Thanks to well-proven radar technology, Active Brake Assist 2 remains unaffected by weather and lighting conditions as before. It is also active throughout the entire speed range from 8 km/h until the limiter cuts in at 89 km/h. While Active Brake Assist cannot always prevent accidents, its automatic braking intervention significantly reduces the impact speed and therefore mitigates the consequences.

Lower insurance premium for Actros with Active Brake Assist
The improvement in traffic safety made possible by modern driver assistance systems is confirmed by current accident research findings. For example, DEKRA has found that the accident frequency for trucks in Germany has fallen by more than 70 percent since 1970. Active Brake Assist plays its part as one of the most efficient safety systems. This has also been recognised by various insurance companies, who grant premium discounts for vehicles equipped with such safety technologies.

Source: Daimler AG