21 May 2019 20:57
22 May 2019 08:46
What does Predictive Powertrain Control do in the new Arocs? Felix wants to find out, as the automated cruise and transmission control is now using even more precise road maps. What could reveal more than a drive along a mountain pass? Going through switchbacks in cruise control sounds a little off, first and foremost. However, Predictive Powertrain Control is much more than just cruise control. And the Schiener Berg, standing at a height of over 700 metres, is right in the way. Felix decides: “I’m going to do it, and I’ll use Predictive Powertrain Control.”
So, speed is set to 60 km/h, and 5 km less going into the bends, just to be on the safe side. “The heavy trailer shifts. Obviously, I want to avoid any sort of risk here and it’s better to start off a little slower,” says Felix. It all gets started with a steep climb.
The six cylinders of the OM 471 work with the powerful support of the turbocharger to get the articulated truck, along with 26,600 kilograms of gravel, going. The first bends are up ahead. So, at 30 km/h, that’s all for now, with the engine speed remaining at around 1,600 rpm. The 40 tonnes roll smoothly through the sharp bend, with no moment of doubt or impulse to hit the brake. The Arocs travels stoically through mountain and forest.
Felix: ‘No braking before the bend, always driving at the right speed to go through the bend without further ado. I also have the feeling that I’m driving as quickly as the road and vehicle allow. This is hard to achieve without Predictive Powertrain Control, even if you’re well rested and know the roads, and certainly not all day long.’
The new Arocs also has another revolutionary technology on board: the MirrorCam system. The cameras on the roof frame and the displays to the left and right of the A-pillar replace the wing mirrors. Felix: “Initially, you think: what’s going on here? Looking in the displays feels very strange at first,” says the father of two daughters.
After spending a few days with the new Arocs, Felix drove a truck with conventional mirrors again for a day. Felix: “What a step back! This is when you realise how amazing it is to have MirrorCam in your vehicle. The displays are also in your field of vision when you’re looking forward. To look in your mirror, you need to turn your head, however the MirrorCam displays are in so far that they are always in view.
A car overtakes and moves back into the lane in front of Felix’s Arocs. This comes as no surprise, as thanks to the MirrorCam technology, Felix is able to follow what is happening around the trailer much better. Felix: “The traffic around you feels a lot more present. The system provides an overview which helps prevent any unexpected situations.” This is also aided by the fact that the large wing mirrors are no longer in the field of vision when looking forward and to the side.
He heads for the next roundabout, moving into the right-hand lane as he comes into it, following the bend around to the left and then turning right to exit the roundabout. Felix: “I have full view of the trailer the whole time, as the camera images in both displays pan with it. This is perfect for ensuring maximum safety.”
“The only bad thing about the MirrorCam is that there aren’t any mirrors now to fix your hair.”
– Felix Amann
The truck has reached the unloading point. Felix puts the vehicle into reverse. When manoeuvring the trailer, it is very useful that the display automatically switches to the optimal overview. Felix enables the hydraulics and the punch pushes the trough upwards. “When tipping, the tractor unit has to be exactly in front of the trailer. Once the load starts to slide, it pushes – if the artic is jackknifed, this can quickly cause a problem,” he says, panning the camera image using the control panel in the driver’s door so he can see almost the entire tractor unit – starting from the front wheels. Everything is in hand, and the gravel begins to slide. Felix touches the brake and lets the Arocs roll forward gently. He is watching the unloading process in the displays the entire time. When he drives off, green symbols let him know that he should set the camera to “Drive” again.
“The only bad thing about the MirrorCam is that there aren’t any mirrors now to fix your hair,” says Felix, running his hands through his hair and laughing. Time for a coffee. And then it’s back on the road.
Read more about Felix’s experiences with the new Arocs in part 3 of the report on 9 April.
Photos: Christoph Börries