Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA) and Mercedes-Benz Trucks believe the first ever semi-autonomous truck journey from Dubai to Abu Dhabi has showcased the possibilities of the latest truck technology.

The 140km trip was recently completed by a Mercedes-Benz’s new Actros truck that features state-of-the-art technology on-board, such as Active Drive Assist, which lets the truck brake, accelerate and steer independently to prevent accidents.

“Actros 5th generation with Active Drive Assist is the first partially automated assistance system on a series produced truck in the world. Today marks the first time these vehicles hit the roads of the Middle East and Africa,” stated Kay-Wolf Ahlden, President & CEO of Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA.

“The new Active Drive Assist can brake, accelerate, and steer the truck independently.”

Unlike systems that only work at certain speeds, Active Drive Assist, or ADA, offers partially-automated driving at all speeds for the first time in a series-produced truck, explained Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA in a statement.

Updated features include the active latitudinal control and the combination of longitudinal and lateral control at all speeds through the fusion of radar and camera information.

Active Drive Assist builds upon the tried-and-tested adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function and the lane-keeping assistant from Mercedes-Benz. While responsibility for monitoring the traffic situation remains with the driver, the system provides substantial support and significantly contributes to increased road safety. The Active Drive Assist system, which enables Level 2 automated driving, is currently only available in the EU markets.

The test drive was organised in collaboration with ESMA to demonstrate the use of this system and its ‘benefits in terms of vehicle handling and road safety’.

Khalaf Khalaf Al Hammadi, Director of Standards at ESMA, added: “In the United Arab Emirates, we are committed to achieving sustainable and environmentally-friendly transportation solutions. To fulfil this pledge we follow the vision of our nation’s leaders to have a transportation sector that is sustainable and future-ready.”

Talking at the recent Truck & Fleet Conference in Dubai, Ognjen Jovanovic, body builder product manager, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA, said that the so-called Level-2 of autonomy systems of the International Truck of the Year 2020 introduces autonomy into the market.

“I would say that for us at Daimler, this is one trend that is never going to stop,” said Jovanovic. “The Mercedes Benz Actros is a level two autonomous truck and has covered close to 1,000 kilometres here in Dubai, driven autonomously under level 2. This is not the future, this is the reality.”