by Adrian Dorofte and Adrian Andronic

Mercedes-Benz starts 2015 with record sales

Mercedes-Benz Cars kicks off in 2015 with record sales across all three main automotive brands of the company - Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and smart. The division sold 125,865 in the first month of the year. The sales figures did a particularly good performance in the USA, China and Germany, where the combined growth reached almost 10%. The top performers were the new C-Class in its two declinations, the luxury limousine S-Class, as well as the compact lineup consisting of the A-, B-, CLA- and GLA-Class. The newly revamped smart portfolio, which got its market launch back in November 2014, posted an impressive boost of near 30% year-to-date (YTD), thus paving the way to a strong performance in the future for the city car brand of Mercedes-Benz Cars. For more information, check out the press release posted below.


- Best start of the year in the company's history for Mercedes-Benz with 125,865 vehicles sold in January (+13.6%)

- Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales: "We have started the 'year of the SUVs' at Mercedes-Benz with a sales increase of 37% in this segment."

- Increase of unit sales in all core markets, record sales in the two biggest markets USA (+8.9%) and China (+14.5%), strong growth in Germany (+11.4%)

- Over 50% more deliveries of C-Class Sedans and Estates than in the same month of the previous year

- smart increases unit sales with new models by nearly 30% compared to the previous year’s month; growth of over 60% in Germany.

Stuttgart, Germany, Feb 06, 2015 – Mercedes-Benz follows up on the success of the previous year and has started 2015 with record sales of 125,865 vehicles. Thus, 13.6% more Mercedes-Benz models were sold than in the same month of the previous year. In January, smart also posted a solid sales growth of 29.9%.

"We have started the 'year of the SUVs' at Mercedes-Benz with a sales increase of 37% in this segment", said Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. "In 2015 we will continue last year’s momentum with new products across all segments: in the high-end with the Mercedes-Maybach S 600 and in the microcar-segment with the new smart fortwo and smart forfour, which are highly popular among our customers. January unit sales of the new smart models increased by nearly 30% in comparison to the previous year’s month."

The European market continues to develop positively for Mercedes-Benz with a 14.5% sales increase to 47,693 vehicles. Particularly high growth rates were achieved in the UK (+20.4%), Italy (+16.3%), Spain (+47.4%) and France (+22.1%). In the toughly competitive German market, 11.4% more vehicles were sold than in the same month of the previous year (15,503 units), and additional market shares were gained. Mercedes-Benz is thus expanding its market leadership among the premium manufacturers in the domestic market.

In the NAFTA region, a total of 27,621 models were sold (+9.6%) – more than ever before. With sales of 24,619 vehicles, a sales record was achieved in the USA (+8.9%). A new record was also posted in Canada with a sales increase of 8.2%.

The Asia-Pacific region achieved a sales record of 46,269 vehicles (+16.4%), of which 28,080 Mercedes-Benz models were delivered to customers in China (+14.5%). A sales record was posted not only in China but also in Japan, where Mercedes-Benz holds the market leadship among the premium manufacturers.

In contrast to the general market forecast, Mercedes-Benz unit sales in Russia were up by 16.2% in January. However, it remains to be seen how the difficult economic situation will affect Mercedes-Benz sales in Russia during the rest of the year.

The compact cars of Mercedes-Benz continue to enjoy great popularity, which enabled a 24% sales increase in January. A total of 33,719 customers received their new A-, B-, CLA- and GLA-Class vehicles in January. The CLA Shooting Brake, which is the fifth member of the compact car family, will celebrate its market launch in March.

The C-Class Sedan and Estate were particularly successful in January. Sales of the two models are over 50% higher than in the same month of the previous year. Overall, some 31,959 C-Class Sedans and Estates were handed over to customers.

At the beginning of the year, the S-Class did not only win the hearts of "auto, motor und sport" readers, who voted the model as the best car in the luxury class. Unit sales of the best-selling luxury automobile in the world climbed by 9.2% to a new record high of 8,111 units.

The SUV boom has led to a 37% sales growth in this segment. The GLK- as well as the GL- and G-Class posted new sales records in January.

The new smart models launched in November 2014 are enjoying an excellent reception from customers. In January, unit sales increased to 8,457 smart fortwo and forfour models, which marks a 29.9% increase compared to the previous year’s month. Sales on the German domestic market grew by more than 60%.

Overview of sales by Mercedes-Benz Cars

Source: Daimler AG

Copyright © 2015, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

The new Mercedes-AMG C 63: Powerful High-Performance Athlete

The new 205 series of the C-Class could not be complete without a performance variant from Mercedes-AMG. Together with the latest generation, the sports division headquartered in Affalterbach is also introducing a new designation for its cars, like in the case of the new Mercedes-AMG GT. The hottest and most powerful C-Class of all time will now be known as the Mercedes-AMG C 63 instead of the former Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG title, thus establishing the performance manufacturer as an all-rounding carmaker. The new C 63 under the W 205 (Limousine) and S 205 (T-Modell) generations is equipped with the newest engine engineered in the Affalterbach laboratories: the AMG M177 unit is derived from the AMG M178 that premiered on the new Mercedes-AMG GT. It too features is a V8 BITURBO powerplant with a total displacement of 4.0 litres.

The all new Mercedes-AMG C 63 is offered in two distinct versions. The standard C 63 boasts a peak output of 476 hp and a maximum torque of 650 Nm. The sharpened up C 63 S model is even more powerful and dynamic with 510 hp and 700 Nm, which is set to deliver crisper sensations. Both variants are equipped with a rear-wheel-drive sports platform, the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT-7 automatic sport gearbox, the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension and the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drivemode programmes.

You can read more interesting technical details about the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 in the official press release posted below. Enjoy reading!


Pure fascination and breathtaking dynamics – the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 sets benchmarks. The high-tech drive, the signature AMG handling and the high level of individuality in equipment choices guarantee an utterly unique driving experience. The top model in the C-Class line-up is driven by a 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine closely related to the power unit that provides breathtaking propulsion in the Mercedes-AMG GT. The power spectrum ranges from 350 kW (476 hp) in the C 63 to 375 kW (510 hp) in the C 63 S. With an unrivalled fuel consumption figure of just 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined), the C 63 is the most fuel-efficient eight-cylinder car in the high-performance segment. The extensive range of standard equipment includes the AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers, the mechanical rear locking differential and the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programmes. The highly exclusive “Edition 1” is available from market launch.

Dynamics plus long-distance comfort – as a sports saloon and high-performance estate car, the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 offers compelling engine data with exceptionally low consumption figures, outstanding longitudinal and lateral dynamics and a high level of everyday usability. The interior and exterior design is more distinctive than ever before.

The V8 top model in the C-Class is available in a choice of four variants – the saloon and the estate are both offered as the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S and C 63, with the C 63 S set up for even more dynamic handling and performance. The Mercedes-AMG C 63 celebrates its world premiere on 2 October 2014 together with the show premiere of the Mercedes-AMG GT at the Salon de l’Automobile in Paris. Market introduction begins in February 2015 with the saloon , followed by the estate in April 2015.

“We are also marking the beginning of a new era with the new nomenclature. The successor to the Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG, which has been incredibly successful worldwide, will now be called the Mercedes-AMG C 63,” says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “At 40,000 units, the 204 C 63 AMG was the bestselling AMG model. We will now add to this success with the new Mercedes-AMG C 63. Be it in drive, handling or equipment, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 sets new benchmarks and will further strengthen our brand promise ‘Driving Performance’. AMG customers can look forward to an exceptionally dynamic driving experience.”

Model overview:

Best in fuel consumption, best in performance

The C 63 is at the forefront of the competitive field. The new high-performance vehicles from Affalterbach are the only ones in the segment to be equipped with an eight-cylinder biturbo engine. The result is sporty power delivery and a highly emotional engine sound – a signature of the AMG brand. Drivers benefit from unrivalled performance delivered by a supreme level of power and torque. The C 63 S accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.0 seconds and the C 63 in 4.1 seconds (Estate: 4.1 and 4.2 seconds respectively). The top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited). Power-to-weight ratios of 3.4 kg/hp (C 63 S) and 3.6 kg/hp (C 63) likewise put the new AMG V8 top models at the head of the rankings.

“Naturally, the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 is once again powered by an eight-cylinder engine. The passionate power delivery and highly emotional sound of our 4.0-litre V8 biturbo are truly compelling. At the same time, we are maintaining our leading role in the core issue of efficiency. No other high-performance V8 automobile is more fuel efficient than the new C 63,” says Christian Enderle, Head of Development Engine and Drivetrain at Mercedes‑AMG GmbH.

The C 63 not only holds the top position in terms of engine data and performance, it also sets new benchmarks in fuel consumption. With a figure of 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined, equating to 192 CO2 g/km), the high-performance car from Affalterbach demonstrates exceptional efficiency that puts it at the top of the segment. And it does not stop there – the C 63 is the most fuel-efficient eight-cylinder, high-performance vehicle in the world. It achieves a remarkable decrease in fuel consumption compared with the preceding C 63 AMG. The new Mercedes-AMG C 63 consumes around 32 percent less fuel than its direct predecessor with the 6.3-litre V8 naturally aspirated engine – while delivering even more performance and the emotional sound that is a signature of the AMG V8.

New V8 biturbo closely related to the engine in the Mercedes-AMG GT

This impressive efficiency improvement is rooted in the new drive package. The M177 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine, the newest member of the BlueDIRECT engine family, is a close relative of the M178, which is the sports-car heart of the new Mercedes-AMG GT. The innovative eight-cylinder is notable for its outstanding power delivery, targeted lightweight design, high efficiency and environmental compatibility. It also fulfils the highest standards in terms of noise and vibration comfort.

The newly developed eight-cylinder features biturbocharging, whereby the two chargers are not located on the outside of the cylinder banks, but instead, within the cylinder V – specialists refer to this as the “hot inside V”. The benefits are compact engine dimensions, optimum responsiveness and low exhaust emissions.

Petrol piezo direct injection with spray-guided combustion

Mixture preparation is handled by the petrol piezo direct injection system used exclusively by Mercedes. The third generation of the spray-guided combustion process has been developed to meet all future legislative requirements. The highly efficient and clean 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine fulfils the Euro 6 emissions standard, including the rules pertaining to maximum particulate emissions that do not come into effect until 2016. A sophisticated engine cooling system ensures high performance even at ambitious race-track speeds.

Performance exhaust system available as an option

Fascination, emotionality and immediate recognition – engine sound is an important development objective. The C 63 and C 63 S feature a sports exhaust system with exhaust flap. Depending on the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programme, the engine sound varies between low-key for long-distance travel and raw emotionality. The exhaust flap is located in the front third, at the interface between the two pipes. Its infinitely variable actuation is controlled on the basis of the drive programme, performance wishes of the driver and engine speed.

A Performance exhaust system with three switchable exhaust flaps is available as an option for both engine variants. It provides the driver with an even greater spread. In the “Comfort” drive programme, the engine is quieter and more comfortable, while, in “Sport +” and “Race”, the V8 sound is even more dominant and evocative of a race touring car – complete with acoustic up-shift and distinctive double de-clutching feedback. In addition to setting it via the drive programme, the engine sound can also be set individually at any time at the push of a button.

C 63 S comes as standard with dynamic engine mounts

A further new feature of the C 63 S that is unique in the competitive field is the dynamic engine mounts – as used on the Mercedes-AMG GT. They address the conflict of interest between comfort and handling by reducing vibration from the engine/transmission unit. The dynamic mounts can adapt their stiffness smoothly and in fractions of a second to the prevailing driving conditions and style. Soft engine mounts improve comfort by better decoupling noise and vibration. Handling and agility, on the other hand, benefit from slightly stiffer mounts. When driving dynamically, the driver feels more closely connected to the vehicle as a result of increased feedback, while steering response is more direct. The driver benefits overall from a more precise driving feel. Minimized movement of the drivetrain mass calls for less correction on turn-in.

Engine production by hand – “one man, one engine”

Powerful V8 engines have always been one of the competencies of AMG, the Mercedes-Benz performance brand. Mercedes-AMG GmbH is fully responsible for development and production. The 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine is manufactured in the Affalterbach engine shop in accordance with the “one man, one engine” principle.

Variable dynamics – the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sport transmission

A large part of the direct and sporty character of the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 is attributable to the transmission. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sport transmission offers a compelling mix of tailor-made dynamics and exceptional variability. The MCT transmission was extensively redeveloped for application in the C 63 and is now even faster in its reaction times.

Be it automatic or triggered at the steering wheel paddle by the driver, a manual up or down-shift is now noticeably faster than in the last model. The transmission is now significantly more spontaneous in the “Sport +” and manual modes in particular. This increase in responsiveness was enabled by optimisation of the transmission’s hardware and software. Also, the aluminium shift paddles on the Performance steering wheel are now able to transmit the driver’s shift inputs even faster than before, thus further increasing the dynamic feel.

One look at the drive programmes shows the high variability of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sport transmission. The available choices are “Controlled Efficiency”, “Sport” and “Sport +” – as well as “Race”, which is exclusive to the C 63 S. The driver chooses from the various drive programmes with the aid of the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT switch. The “temporary M” function, activated by using the paddles, delivers a further increase in dynamics.

AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with 3-stage adjustable damping

Fascinating agility, high cornering speeds and optimum neutrality – the C 63 is equipped with independent suspension featuring a high proportion of aluminium, dynamic-oriented kinematics, electronically controlled shock absorbers and AMG-specific elastokinematics. With the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension, the customer can vary characteristics in three stages between maximum sporting performance and good long-distance comfort.

At the front of the C 63 is a four-link front suspension with motorsport-based radially mounted brakes. Independent steering knuckles and a wider track permit higher lateral acceleration. The multilink rear suspension with independent wheel mounts likewise has a higher negative camber. To improve traction and dynamics, the C 63 has a mechanical locking differential at the rear, while the C 63 S is equipped with an electronic rear locking differential. Both locking differentials reduce slip at the inside wheel without braking input. As a result, the driver can accelerate sooner out of corners and the car maintains its stability when braking at high speed. The locking differential also improves traction when accelerating from a standstill. Compared with the mechanical solution, the benefits of the electronic locking rear differential, which is standard equipment on the C 63 S, are its faster and more finely tuned control, thus pushing the physical limits of the driving envelope even higher. The standard 3-stage ESP® with the functions “ESP ON”, “SPORT Handling Mode” and “ESP OFF” is perfectly networked with the locking rear differential and expertly tuned to the high level of dynamics.

The electromechanical speed-sensitive sport steering ensures precise and agile handling, with the driver benefitting from a direct ratio and optimised response characteristics. It also has variable power assistance, whereby the steering force is adapted relative to the current vehicle speed. The power assistance reacts not only in accordance with vehicle speed, but also in line with current lateral acceleration and the drive programme chosen via AMG DYNAMIC SELECT.

The C 63 runs as standard on titanium grey painted and polished alloy wheels measuring 8.5 x 18 (front) and 9.5 x 18 (rear) in 10-spoke design and clad in 245/40 R 18 tyres (front) and 265/40 R 18 (rear). The tyre dimensions on the C 63 S are 245/35 R 19 (front) and 265/35 R 19 (rear) running on alloy wheels measuring 8.5 x 19 (front) and 9.5 x 19 (rear) in 5-twin-spoke design, painted in titanium grey and polished.

A high-performance, ceramic-composite brake system is available for the first time as optional equipment for the C 63 S. Optional sports tyres ensure a noticeable and measurable increase in grip.

AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programmes

The driver can use four different AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programmes to influence the characteristics of the C 63. The C 63 S has the additional “Race” programme, which enables a maximum level of individualisation. The driver defines the driving experience using a switch to the left of the touchpad. There is a choice of several different pre-configured driving programmes and an “Individual” drive programme, which allows extensive self-configuration.

“Controlled Efficiency” is the balanced drive programme with a comfortable suspension and steering set-up as well as fuel-optimised drivetrain settings – including soft gearshifts and a more restrained engine sound. The “Gliding Function” is completely new and delivers a further reduction in fuel consumption. If the driver lifts off the accelerator between 60 and 160 km/h, the clutch of the MCT transmission opens and the engine is decoupled from the drivetrain. The electronics system reduces the engine revs to idle, and the resistance generated by the compression and frictional forces produced under trailing throttle are reduced.

The “Sport” and “Sport +” drive programmes increase sporting intensity. “Race” is reserved exclusively for the C 63 S and is the optimum setting for ambitious laps on a closed race track.

Form follows performance – the design reflects the technology

Form follows performance – the design of the powerful V8 top model is influenced by motorsport and reflects its fascinating technology. Sensual clarity combines with stylish sporting character – the Mercedes C 63 inspires fascination from the very first glance. From a visual standpoint, the Saloon and Estate are both clearly members of the Mercedes-AMG family. The exteriors of the C 63 and C 63 S are differentiated by specific design elements.

The emotional, sensual surface design of the new C-Class, with its reduced, minimalist forms, now has an added, positive tension that gives it a truly dynamic character. The wider track and powerful eight-cylinder call for a completely standalone front end. The Mercedes-AMG C 63 has aluminium front wings, widened on each side by 14 millimetres and bearing “V8 BITURBO” lettering. The entire front end has also been lengthened by 54 millimetres. In addition, the structure of the body-in-white has been reinforced in specific areas in order to compensate for the extreme longitudinal and transverse forces generated and transmitted by the drivetrain and running gear.

Mercedes-AMG sets clear accents in sporting character, expressed succinctly at the front end – gracing the long aluminium bonnet are two distinctive power domes. Together with the wider wings, they guarantee a particularly muscular look. Positioned low down and with a characteristic arrow form, the “twin blade” radiator grille with AMG lettering lowers the vehicle’s visual centre of gravity.

The “A-wing” takes a three-dimensional form and also serves as an airflow guide for the three cooling air intakes. Flics ensure optimum airflow to the cooling module. Along the lower edge of the front skirt, a front splitter helps to reduce lift.

At the rear end, the diffuser insert with three fins is a feature carried over from motorsport, as are the visual air outlets positioned on either side. They generate defined air separation edges and improve the cd figure. The two chrome-plated twin end pipes of the AMG sport exhaust system are perfectly integrated into the diffuser. The C 63 Saloon has a separation edge on the boot lid, while the estate has a roof spoiler – each of which ensure even better grip at the rear axle.

Stunning interior design

Every detail in the interior of the C 63 contributes to a stunning overall effect. The careful choice of select, first-class materials, their sumptuous tactile qualities and their precision craftsmanship deliver a sense of quality that is seldom seen even in higher vehicle classes. Like the exterior, the more powerful C 63 S is distinguished from the C 63 on the inside by a number of design details.

The dashboard is finished in black ARTICO man-made leather, with the premium look-and-feel further enhanced by stitching in crystal grey, the wing-like trim element in aluminium and the AMG-exclusive, IWC-design analogue clock (depending on equipment choice). Next to the touchpad is the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT switch as well as a number of AMG-specific controls, such as the button for the 3-stage RIDE CONTROL sport suspension, the 3-stage ESP® and the optional button for the Performance exhaust system with flap control.

The instrument binnacle and the 3-spoke Performance steering wheel with 12-o’clock mark deliver a dynamically sporty ambience. Equipped with dedicated carbon-look dials, the speedometer scale goes all the way to 320 km/h. Performance seats are also available as an alternative to the standard sports seats in ARTICO man-made leather / DINAMICA microfibre. They give occupants a lower seating position and ensure increased lateral grip due to their more powerfully contoured form.

A range of further optional equipment means the Mercedes-AMG C 63 can be extensively tailored to individual preferences.

Exclusive and irresistible – the C 63 “Edition 1”

The Mercedes-AMG C 63 und C 63 S are also available from market launch in “Edition 1” variants – with a stunning and irresistible combination of exclusive design and equipment features. There are six attractive exterior paint finishes to choose from: polar white, designo diamond white bright, iridium silver metallic, palladium silver metallic, obsidian black metallic and the AMG-exclusive paint finish designo iridium silver magno. The “Edition 1” is available as saloon and estate and can be identified from the outside by a number of design highlights:

Forged wheels in 8.5 x 19 and 9.5 x 19 cross-spoke design, painted matte black with the rim painted in red; tyres are 245/35 R 19 (front) and 265/35 R 19 (rear)
Night package (A-wing and trim in high-gloss black, wing mirror housings in high-gloss black, sill cladding inlays in high-gloss black, waistline trim and window frames in high-gloss black, radiator grille with double fin in silver chrome, heat-insulating tinted glass rearward of B-pillar)
Separation edge in high-gloss black (saloon only)
Black-chromed twin end pipe fairings
Red accents (decals) on radiator grille and wing mirrors
Sport stripes (decals) in matte graphite grey above sill cladding

The distinctive colour combination carries into the interior:

Performance seats, door centre panels and armrest in black nappa leather with diamond pattern and red contrasting stitching
designo seatbelts in red
Performance steering wheel in DINAMICA microfibre, flattened bottom, with red 12-o’clock marking, red contrasting stitching, steering wheel fairing in silver chrome with “Edition 1” lettering and silver-coloured aluminium shift paddles
Trim element in carbon red pepper / light aluminium with longitudinal grain and red filaments
Foot mats in black with “AMG” lettering and piping in red

Highest safety levels

The stated aim of Mercedes-Benz is to make the highest level of safety available to all. For this reason, the C-Class features many of the new and extensively enhanced assistance systems that celebrated their world premieres just a few months ago in the S and E-Class. Standard equipment on-board the C 63 includes enhanced drowsiness warning system ATTENTION ASSIST and COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, which helps to avoid rear-end collisions. The assistance systems increase both comfort and safety. Mercedes-Benz calls this “Intelligent Drive”. The predecessor to the new C-Class already demonstrated impressive results in terms of passive safety. The new model exceeds these and sets new benchmarks.

~ Official photos and details courtesy of Mercedes-AMG GmbH ~

Copyright © 2014, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025: World premiere of the spectacular study of tomorrow's trucks

Mercedes-Benz is the ultimate pioneer in vehicle engineering. The German constructor has foreseen the potential of autonomous driving cars since the 1990s through the various concepts it regularly introduced at motor shows. In 2013, the outstanding S-Class INTELLIGENT DRIVE managed to do world's first fully autonomous journey in real traffic, between the cities of Mannheim and Pforzheim in Germany, covering more than 100 kilometers. Now, Mercedes-Benz is once ushering into a new territory that is set to become a daily reality in 10 years. The Future Truck 2025 is the latest concept truck from the brand with the Three-Pointed Star and it basically is world's first self-driving truck. The prototype, which celebrates its world premiere at the IAA Hannover Show, is equipped with the Highway Pilot, the most complex autonomous assistant designed to drive the truck of the future in complete safety and predictability onto the ever-more crowded highways.

You can read more interesting technical details about the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 in the official press release from Daimler AG posted below. Enjoy reading!


Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025: Autonomous driving into an exciting future

From a vision to reality – the spectacular Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 study will be providing a visually exciting and technically feasible take on the long-distance truck of tomorrow at the 2014 International Commercial Vehicle show (IAA). In ten years' time, trucks could be driving autonomously on motorways. Transport efficiency will increase, traffic will be safer for all road users, and fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will be further reduced. To do this Mercedes-Benz connects existing assistance systems with enhanced sensors to the "Highway Pilot" system. Autonomous driving is already possible at realistic speeds and in realistic motorway traffic situations. The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 provides a glimpse of the future shape of trucks.

Revolution on the motorways: goods transport to become more efficient, safer and more connected in the future

The technology of tomorrow is already reality at Daimler Trucks. The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 constitutes a revolution in efficiency, safety and networking, a revolution for road traffic and its infrastructure, for professional driving and for the road transport sector. This is not a new truck, but rather the key element in the interconnected transport system of the future. It is being developed as part of the "Shaping Future Transportation" initiative by Daimler Trucks to conserve resources and reduce emissions of all kinds. Other aims are to ensure the highest possible level of traffic safety and to boost networking with intelligent data management considerably for tailor-made vehicle and service solutions.

The prototype demonstrated the exciting capabilities of the Future Truck 2025 back in the summer at speeds of up to 80 km/h in realistic traffic situations on a section of the A14 motorway in Magdeburg, Germany. Now the thrilling exterior and interior of that same vehicle are being revealed. The tractor unit combined with an aerodynamically optimised trailer celebrates its world premiere as a study at the International Commercial Vehicles show (IAA).

Exterior: flowing forms with a light show

In terms of design, the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 study combines function, efficiency and emotion in a fascinating way. It adheres to the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of "Sensual Purity". Soft, slightly curved surfaces that are near-natural represent both efficiency and emotion. Inside and outside, the exceptional visual appearance symbolises the great leap from classic truck to autonomous transport vehicle of the future. Innovative forms and the lighting engineering of tomorrow send the conventional truck cab into the future.

The designers have leveraged the opportunity presented by future length specifications: extending the front section allows soft, aerodynamically flowing forms to be created. Visual effects from the paintwork in light silver emphasise the enticingly smooth contours. Compact cameras replace conventional exterior mirrors. Its windscreen resembles a visor. The study's integral sun screen and aero roof have a distinctive form.

Featuring signature Mercedes-Benz style, the design is composed around the star as the central element. Looking practically seamless and as if made of one piece, the cab exudes maximum calm. Its plain yet powerful appearance lends it an imposing monolithic air.

While at a standstill with the engine switched off the front mask is closed. Classic elements such as the headlamps seem to be missing at first glance. The Future Truck 2025 comes to life when the engine starts. LEDs illuminate the surfaces and light up the paintwork. The front mask gleams and LED bulbs shine instead of conventional headlamps to the left and right in the bumper. Orange flashing lights indicate when the truck is changing direction.

When the fully drivable study is being controlled manually and on the move, the lights are white. When the truck is driving autonomously, the colour of the lights changes from white to blue. They then pulsate strongly, thus symbolising the truck's powerful heartbeat and clearly indicating the vehicle's current operating mode to other road users.

Interior: calming design for a new way of working

The sensual purity of the Future Truck 2025's calming design is also reflected by the interior. Flowing lines from the exterior are taken up again inside the cab.

Mercedes-Benz already creates a visual separation between the areas for driving and living in the cabs of long-distance transport. In the future the cab will also include a more comfortable and functional working area for autonomous driving phases.

The interior of the Future Truck 2025 is compelling as the focus is on essential functions and the design is almost puristic. The workplace for driving is calm and uncluttered like a modern, paperless office. Utilitarian engineering is excitingly juxtaposed with natural materials and a feeling of cosiness and warmth.

Wood flows from the floor to the instrument panel with generous use of the material underlying the inviting atmosphere and sense of well-being on board. The dark finish is strongly grained, open-pore and has a naturally aged effect – a welcome contrast to the high functionality of the working area.

The instrument panel is calm and uncluttered, with displays separating instruments and the exterior mirrors. They float like islands over the piano lacquer finish in the cockpit. Instead of conspicuous air outlets there is indirect climate control with a touchpad replacing conventional switch strips. The support for the instrument panel is clad in leather. Perfect craftsmanship and build quality sit side by side with the functional character of the truck's technical features.

Exciting lighting effects inside the cab also underline the distinctive character of the Future Truck 2025.

When the truck is travelling autonomously, the driver may recline their seat and also turn it by 45 degrees into the space, allowing them to consciously adopt a relaxed, comfortable working position. At the same time, indirect lighting illuminates the interior without glare.

To communicate from the future workplace the driver uses a tablet computer. This is accommodated in the newly designed centre console but is removable. Here the driver can process documents, schedule more destinations, accept further orders and arrange the next break. The computer screen can be configured to suit individual requirements, also enabling the driver to call up all key trip data.

On long routes driven autonomously, the tablet computer becomes as crucial as the steering wheel and pedals are otherwise. The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 ushers in a new way of working in the cab of a long-distance truck.

As an overall concept it combines the high-tech driver's area of the future with a state-of-the-art, paperless office and a living room. The driver in the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 feels at home even when on the move thanks to the digital picture frame on the cab's rear panel: here personal photographs of family or a past holiday scroll through on the screen. Despite all its functionality and efficiency, this high-tech truck also shows emotion.

Radar sensors and a camera scan the surroundings

The technology behind this exciting façade is no less impressive. The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 is not, for instance, part of a platoon. It does not need to be daisy-chained to other vehicles either. Radar sensors and camera technology enable the Future Truck to drive autonomously, independently of other vehicles or central control stations. Its technical features are thus crucial in giving the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 its outstanding capabilities as an autonomous vehicle. For Mercedes-Benz the culmination of this is the highly intelligent "Highway Pilot" system, which resembles the autopilot on an aircraft. Networking with other trucks or passenger cars extends its abilities further, but is not necessary for autonomous driving.

A radar sensor in the lower area of the front end scans the road ahead at long and short range. The front radar sensor has a range of 250 m and scans an 18-degree segment. The short-range sensor has a range of 70 m and scans a 130-degree segment. The radar sensor is the basis for the proximity control and emergency braking safety systems already available today.

A stereo camera installed above the instrument support behind the windscreen keeps the area ahead of the vehicle in view. This is currently the location of a mono-camera if optional Lane Keeping Assist is ordered. The range of the stereo camera is 100 m, and it scans an area of 45 degrees horizontally and 27 degrees vertically.

The stereo camera of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 identifies single- or two-lane roads, pedestrians, moving and stationary objects, all objects within the monitored area and also the road surface. The camera recognises everything that contrasts with the background, and is therefore also able to measure clearances precisely. The front stereo camera also registers the information on traffic signs.

In addition to object and distance recognition, the stereo camera recognises lane markings as a major function for autonomous lane guidance.

The road surface to the left and right of the truck is monitored by radar sensors installed in the sides. They are located on the left and right, ahead of the tractor unit's rear axle. The sensors have a range of 60 m and cover an angle of 170 degrees in the longitudinal direction.

Blind Spot Assist: more safety when turning and changing lane

These sensors form the heart of the new Blind Spot Assist system from Mercedes-Benz. The radar sensor modules are arranged in such a way that they cover the area parallel to the truck over the entire length of a tractor/trailer combination or drawbar combination. In addition this strip is extended forwards to two metres in front of the truck.

Blind Spot Assist warns the truck driver about other road users not only when turning; it also warns about imminent collisions with stationary obstacles – for example signs or lamps – and serves as an assistance system when changing lane.

For Mercedes-Benz, the planned introduction of Blind Spot Assist over the next few years is a major step paving the way for the Future Truck 2025 and underlines Mercedes-Benz's role in pioneering maximum road safety.

The transport system of tomorrow will be networked and autonomous

All sensors on board the Future Truck 2025 are networked (multi-sensor fusion), and provide a complete image of the surroundings. All moving and stationary objects in the truck's vicinity are registered.

Fusion of the data by a high-performance multi-core processor in the central computer links the data from all sensors in the whole area in front of and beside the truck.

The sensor and camera technology is active from standstill to the legally permitted maximum speed for trucks. By intervening in the steering, it automatically keeps the truck safely in the centre of its lane. The system also includes a three-dimensional digital map, which is already used for the assistance system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC). This means that the truck is always fully aware of the road's course and topography.

V2V and V2I – communication between vehicles and the outside world

The "Highway Pilot" is ideally partnered with V2V and V2I networking. Every vehicle equipped with this in the near future will transmit continuous information to its surroundings. This includes vehicle position and model, dimensions, direction of travel and speed, any acceleration and braking manoeuvres and the bend radii negotiated.

The frequency of information transfer depends on the vehicle speed and the intensity of any changes in its movement. It varies between one message per second when cruising to ten times this interval when changes are significant.

Transmission is via WLAN technology, using the standard Europe-wide G5 frequency of 5.9 gigahertz. The basis is the ITS Vehicle Station (Intelligent Transport Systems and Services) on board the vehicle.

Communication between vehicles is also standardised. The range of these continuous sent messages is a radius of around 500 m. The vehicles inform each other about their movements, so that they can respond to them immediately in anticipatory mode. This includes reacting to vehicles joining a motorway, or when approaching the end of a traffic tailback, for example. The more vehicles are communicating with each other on these routes, the more dynamically and flexibly they are able to respond to one another and together.

In an ideal scenario, an uninterrupted chain of communication forms along a route that rigorously informs the driver and vehicle about road and traffic conditions a long way ahead on their journey.

V2I means that all these messages and signals are also sent to external recipients such as traffic control centres. These are then able to respond flexibly, for example by changing the speed limit or opening up additional lanes. Messages can also be sent to vehicles, for example about temporary roadworks.

All these data inform the driver and the onboard computer about events happening outside the range of vision in good time. The driver and vehicle are therefore aware of obstacles in advance, before they can become a hazard.

Anti-tailback measures: road traffic as a self-learning system

The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 is therefore not on the road in isolation, but constantly communicates with its environment, unnoticed by the driver.

Traffic information are passed on in this way and the data become available to all road users. Because networked vehicles respond automatically to these data, homogeneous traffic flow is ensured along with exceptional utilisation of limited road infrastructure. In combination with autonomous driving, road traffic will develop into a self-learning system.

The average speed is thus improved by better traffic flow alone and without raising the maximum speed. At the same time, homogeneous traffic saves on fuel.

Future becomes reality: autonomous driving in practice, including independently of other road users

After joining the motorway, the driver of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 merges with the traffic flow in the appropriate lane. The system then prompts the driver to activate the "Highway Pilot". The driver activates it, and the vehicle switches to autonomous mode.

According to the given traffic situation, the Future Truck 2025 is on the road independently, as no vehicle in front is needed as a reference to guide it through the traffic. It acts autonomously in its lane. If there is another vehicle travelling ahead, the truck can adapt to its speed within the permitted limit and maintains a set safety distance. It is therefore always possible for other vehicles to join the lane safely. The safety distance is also always maintained – the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 adapts perfectly to its environment. The Future Truck 2025 operates independently of other road users thanks to networking. However, to fully benefit in terms of logistical efficiency and making optimum use of infrastructure, comprehensive networking is desirable. This development is certain to occur in a gradual manner. Open standards and protocols are important to this end.

From driver to transport manager in the cockpit of the future

In many situations autonomous driving relieves the driver of "having to" drive, especially on tiring and often monotonous long-distance routes. As the truck regulates its own speed and automatically finds the best route using a navigation app, and because the transport company, dispatcher and goods recipient are constantly informed about the location, route and expected time of arrival in real time, the driver is relieved of time pressure. Today this is a major stress factor for drivers.

The driver gains time for other activities and is able to communicate with his surroundings. It is conceivable that the driver will be able to take on tasks previously performed by the scheduling team or which provide social contact. Owner-driver businesses in particular will be able to perform office tasks conveniently on the move if required.

Carrying out further activities will significantly change the professional profile of the truck driver. This will in turn give rise to opportunities for advancement from the purely driving role to transport manager. The profession of truck driver will become more attractive – autonomous driving is therefore also a compelling answer to the shortage of drivers. With autonomous driving, the truck and its driver become a team more than ever before, an intelligent, highly capable and cost-effective combination of man and machine.

Consumption and emissions down – efficiency and safety up

At the same time fuel consumption and emissions are significantly reduced during autonomous driving, thanks to the more homogeneous traffic flow. Transport times will become more predictable. The new activities carried out by the driver or transport manager during journeys will revolutionise the freight forwarding sector, making it a dynamic and self-learning system.

Traffic flows on long-distance routes that are predictable for all road users mean more safety for all those involved. Already, assistance systems regulate vehicle speeds and are able to automatically initiate emergency braking to prevent accidents. Both have proved their worth for a number of years. Autonomous driving stands for perfection by fusion of the assistance systems.

In the future, accidents caused by human error will therefore be largely a thing of the past. Safety regulations such as speed limits or safety gaps between vehicles will always be strictly adhered to. Anticipatory driving, a recurring theme in driver training courses, means programmed safety and cost-effectiveness for the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025.

Autonomous driving: set to become reality in the short term

One of the most interesting questions on the subject of autonomous driving is the time horizon envisaged for its realisation. In purely technical terms, turning it into reality on the roads is already feasible within around five years. In terms of passenger car development cycles, a possible start is envisaged in 2020. Owing to the more complex factors for heavy commercial vehicles, the time horizon for such vehicles will, however, be rather longer – realistically implementation is possible within ten years, also in view of the legal considerations that still remain to be clarified.

The introduction of autonomous driving will not happen digitally from one day to the next, as development is progressing in a gradual manner: evolutionary stages are necessary to revolutionise goods haulage on the roads. In the coming years, new and improved assistance systems will continue to pave the clearly set-out way to autonomous driving.

Conditions necessary for autonomous driving

The technical preconditions are now being demonstrated for the first time with the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025; however legislation also needs to be adapted to this new dimension in driving. A further development of the "1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic", which almost all European countries have signed and implemented, is already under way. The Convention is intended to make road traffic safer by standardising regulations, and one of its core principles is that the driver must have control of the vehicle at all times and in all circumstances.

On the basis of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, UN/ECE Regulation R 79 does permit corrective steering intervention for steering systems, but not automatic steering over 10 km/h. This allowance is a precondition for Parking Assist and Stop-and-Go Assist.

The Vienna Convention came about at a time when autonomous driving was still in the realms of science fiction. A committee of United Nations experts has recently supplemented the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, providing the basis for legalisation on autonomous driving. Corresponding systems will be permitted in the future, as long as they can be deactivated or overruled by the driver at any time. This is standard for the "Highway Pilot" in the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025.

Data security must also be ensured in technical and legal terms. This concerns external access to the individual vehicle, and also the transfer of data for V2V and V2I or internet communication.

In addition to operating permission it will be necessary to clarify other legal aspects such as liability for traffic infringements and accidents, which can never be completely ruled out. The same applies to insurance and product liability aspects. How new working models and professional profiles are to be reconciled with the current regulations on driving and resting times also remains to be defined.

The answer: Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025

Where the associated legal steps are taken, the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 with the "Highway Pilot" system is the answer to the challenges of the future. The answer to increasing traffic, inadequate infrastructures, increasing cost pressure and a shortage of drivers. Against the background of numerous new and enhanced assistance and telematics systems and V2V/V2I communication, a new era in road goods transport and communication is being ushered in. In the future traffic will flow more smoothly, predictably and safely. Traffic systems will become more flexible, with better use of the infrastructure. Avoidance of human error at the wheel will reduce hazards and accidents. Transport operators will operate more cost-effectively and flexibly. Truck drivers will be able to assume different tasks as transport managers. This answer to the many challenges is not just a vision, it is already reality.

Credits: Daimler AG

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