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Coachman's seat or high-tech headquarters: How the truck driver's workplace has changed over the past 60 years

Prof. Dr. Uwe, Head of Product Development at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, explains why the Actros has reached a new dimension in the digital driver's workplace with the new multimedia cockpit.

How has the cockpit of the driver's cab changed with the new Actros?

“The current Actros series represents the change from the analogue to the digital driver's workstation. When the first fully digitized cockpit in a series truck came onto the market in 2018, it was revolutionary. In addition to the two displays of the MirrorCam, the centrally placed primary display and the secondary display of the new HMI replace most of the instruments in the cockpit. The presentation of the new safety and assistance systems is directly integrated into the driver's perspective. Driving maneuvers such as Active Drive Assist and the intelligent cruise control and transmission control Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) are clearly shown on the primary display. This ensures more safety and efficiency and relieves the driver. In addition, he can operate both displays using the touch control buttons on the state-of-the-art multifunction steering wheel without having to take his hands off the steering wheel. Baak

What were the principles according to which the new HMI in the truck was developed?

“The designers at Mercedes-Benz Trucks developed the cockpit around the driver. The aim was to design the displays and controls so that the driver can see the driving situation at all times, especially when using the assistance systems. When designing the interface between man and machine, the designers take into account that the driver is provided with a simple system for his stressful job and does not have to invest a lot of time in getting to know a new control unit. The user interface elements were therefore designed in such a way that they can be operated intuitively. "

What functions does the secondary display offer?

“The secondary display in the railing to the right of the steering wheel complements the primary display, which is located centrally in front of the driver's eyes. Where there used to be many switches for different functions, the driver now has access to various settings and vehicle functions via a touchscreen. The secondary display includes an integrated radio infotainment system and allows easy handling of heating, air conditioning, navigation, vehicle functions, telephony, and exterior and interior lighting, for example. Different switches can be displayed with which the most varied of body functions can be controlled and thus not only simplify the operation, but also the effort of the scaffolding by the body manufacturer. Two mobile devices can be connected via Bluetooth for hands-free equipment and also to use your own music and contacts. This is particularly important because the drivers usually have a business and a private mobile phone with them. In addition, two cutting-edge USB-C ports enable mass storage devices to be connected and two mobile devices to be connected directly. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, these can be easily connected and operated via the secondary display. "

What are the additional services of the multimedia cockpit interactive?

“The top version of the new digital cockpit concept is equipped with even more functions than the standard multimedia cockpit. The scope of delivery of the multimedia cockpit interactive includes the navigation system with traffic sign assistant and remote online for controlling and checking vehicle functions via smartphone. Incidentally, it is now possible to couple two smartphones at the same time, whereby one can be charged wirelessly in an inductive charging cradle. With the multimedia cockpit interactive, the truck is designed for maximum connectivity. The truck can be equipped with apps that increase convenience and efficiency via the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal. For example, transport orders can be conveniently managed from the driver's cab with easy-to-use applications. From a business perspective, real-time control of the truck via Fleetboard and Mercedes-Benz Uptime thanks to the Truck Data Center is also valuable (more on this below). And: the primary display of the multimedia cockpit interactive is 12 inches, even larger than that of the standard version. When configuring the primary display, the driver can choose between the two screen designs "Advanced" and "Classic". "Advanced" enables an individual and variable presentation of the content in three clusters. The speedometer with driving information and an integrated rev counter is placed in the center as a large circular display. To the left of this there is vehicle-related information such as supply pressure, operating temperatures or range display. The driver-related content is shown on the right, for example driving and rest times, telephone book or audio. The "Classic" display is similar to the display from the conventional multimedia cockpit. "

In the case of shift work or vacation replacement: How many driver profiles can be saved?

“Using the driver cards for the digital tachograph or for Fleetboard, the multimedia cockpit can define and call up up to six driver profiles. The respective settings are then automatically loaded by the system. The truck saves or keeps the last menu used in the central display, the sensitivity of the touch control buttons, the language and the audio settings. "

How are assistance systems displayed in the multimedia cockpit?

“When the driver has switched on cruise control or Proximity Control and the truck reaches a speed of 15 km / h, PPC is also automatically activated. The white PPC symbol then appears in the primary display. As soon as the system actively takes control of the drive train, the color of the symbol changes to green. In addition, the display shows graphics that schematically announce the route events ahead such as curves, roundabouts and intersections as well as speed limits. The display also shows the driving scenarios of Active Drive Assist, which can brake and accelerate the truck independently and keep it in the lane with active steering movements. If the system's camera detects lane markings on both sides of the road, Active Drive Assist actively supports the driver in the longitudinal and lateral guidance of the truck. This is indicated to the driver in the primary display of the multimedia cockpit by a blue steering wheel symbol and blue lane markings. The functions of the latest version of the Active Brake Assist 5 emergency braking assistant are also made visible here. "

Which settings can be made using the multifunction steering wheel?

“While driving, the driver should keep his hands on the wheel at all times and still be able to operate the various systems easily. The new multifunction steering wheel provides support here. Using the touch control buttons in the control panels on the left and right of the steering wheel, the driver can operate a wide variety of vehicle systems and functions and call up information by “swiping” and “pressing”. The driver operates the primary display with the touch control button on the left side of the steering wheel, while the secondary display can be operated with the touch control button on the right. Functions such as air conditioning, radio, interior lighting or answering incoming phone calls are within easy reach. The intuitive usability ensures less driver distraction and was one of our primary goals. With the six buttons arranged in a circle around the touch control button on the left-hand side of the multifunction steering wheel, the driver activates the cruise control or the proximity assistant, among other things. The touch control button in the middle of the left button is also important for operating the Active Drive Assist. The position of the new Actros in the lane can be set in several stages: depending on the direction in which the driver wants to move the truck in the lane, he wipes horizontally to the left or right using the touch control pad and confirms the input. He can also set the distance to the vehicle in front here. To do this, he wipes vertically up or down. "

Is the MirrorCam also part of the multimedia cockpit?

“No, the MirrorCam is an independent system with two 15.2-inch displays on the A-pillars in the driver's cab. With the digital rearview mirror, Mercedes-Benz Trucks has brought a groundbreaking invention to the road. It replaces the main and wide-angle mirror and thus offers a greatly improved all-round view. In terms of aerodynamics, safety and vehicle handling, the system is an enormous improvement and a further example of how consistently the cab of the new Actros has been trimmed to digitalization. "

Is the multimedia cockpit also available for the new Arocs?

"Even in the Arocs construction professional, the driver benefits from the ease of use and display of the multimedia cockpit and a completely redesigned HMI."

How do the multimedia cockpit and the truck data center interact?

“The Truck Data Center is a central component of the vehicle and its networking. Its connection to the outside world, so to speak, and the basis for all connectivity solutions such as Fleetboard, the Truck App Portal and Mercedes-Benz Uptime. Connectivity is an important aspect of a digital workplace. Anyone who invests in this technology secures the use of current and future digital services. "