Opportunity Knocks

The future is bright for the Australian trucking industry.

That much was clear at the recent Australian Trucking Association Trucking Australia conference on the Gold Coast, especially during the Daimler Truck Future Leaders presentation.

A joint initiative between Daimler Truck and the ATA since 2018, the development program has helped nurture some wonderfully talented young people who will help our industry navigate the challenges of the future.

Daimler Truck sees massive potential in embracing new ideas and empowering our next generation.

We are also proud to back Transport Women Australia Limited and are the only truck manufacturer to be accredited by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, demonstrating a genuine willingness to make Australian road freight a destination industry for the best and brightest, regardless of gender.

In an industry traditionally dominated by men, often older, we celebrate new perspectives and fresh ideas.

We believe the future of Australian trucking will benefit greatly from investment in people as well as the continued innovation of products and services.

As the world’s leading truck manufacturer, Daimler Truck has always been prepared to invest in order to deliver the most advanced technology to help our customers save fuel, boost safety and improve driver comfort across our Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Freightliner and Fuso brands.

Our track-record shows leadership with the introduction of Euro 6, seamless fully-automated transmissions, integrated Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS), airbags in conventional trucks, high-resolution tablet screens, electric trucks and guaranteed buyback finance programs.

While some of our rivals had to be dragged kicking and complaining to recently introduce Euro 6 as an option by progressive customers who demanded it be offered, Daimler Truck set the standard with the first complete range of heavy trucks to feature Euro 6 engines when the new generation Mercedes-Benz Trucks Actros was launched locally back in 2016.

Some critics thought we went too early, but operators soon discovered that our advanced technology enabled them to reduce emissions and save on operational costs at the same time.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks first introduced this AEBS autonomous emergency braking technology here all the way back in 2010, Freightliner introduced it first as standard on conventional trucks in 2019 and Fuso became the first manufacturer to offer it as standard on a complete range (light, medium and heavy) as well as light bus, last year.

We have had several customers mention a dramatic reduction in incidents involving their AEBS trucks, with some even reporting no crashes since we introduced the technology.

Indeed, a large US fleet, which switched to AEBS-equipped Freightliner Cascadias saw incident repair costs for its trucks ‘drop off a cliff,’ thanks to the feature.

Saving lives and money. Now, that’s a great outcome.

The Daimler range of trucks.

Regulators recently announced AEBS will be mandated in stages between November 2023 and February 2025, but it is clear to us that customers shouldn’t wait until then to choose models with this brilliant technology.

Recently, we launched Australia’s first Level 2 automated truck, a Mercedes-Benz Actros that can effectively steer itself (although the driver must have their hands on the wheel).

You have to get behind the wheel to experience this amazing optional technology, which really does help reduce the fatigue of drivers and free them up to concentrate on driving.

The proactive system basically keeps the truck centred in its lane, in order to prevent drivers from drifting out, while the electric assistance makes life easier for the driver both on the highway and in the yard.

There can be some default resistance to these kinds of technology, but most drivers come around once they experience the benefits for themselves.

Of course, the biggest benefit is avoiding fatigue-related incidents that occur on our highways, often in the early hours that can tragically change or even end a life.

Daimler Truck was also the first Original Equipment Manufacturer to launch an electric truck with the Fuso eCanter last year with more exciting zero emission solutions hitting Australia in the very near future.

These will start with battery electric for shorter haul operations while hydrogen fuel cell technology shows great promise for long haul zero emission work.

Embracing these various innovations will lead to a better, cleaner, safety and more profitable road freight industry in Australia.

The future is full of exciting opportunity; let’s make the most of it.

Daniel Whitehead

Daniel Whitehead is the CEO and President of Daimler Truck & Bus Australia Pacific which represents the Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Freightliner and Fuso brands.

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