Mercedes-Benz Travego
Sep 03, 2008
World premiere: Mercedes-Benz Travego the new generation with Active Brake Assist
  • New Active Brake Assist actively helps prevent rear-end collisions
  • Installation of assistance systems reduces insurance costs
  • New: Front Collision Guard passive safety system
  • Travego sets safety standards
  • All-new cockpit design geared even more towards the driver
  • Six-cylinder in-line engine with additional output rating
  • New: Mercedes PowerShift eight-speed automated transmission
  • Chassis: new trailing axle with independent wheel suspension
  • New interior, monitors with 19-inch screen diagonal
Safety is the most important of the Mercedes-Benz brand values. And, as such, it is the focus of the new-generation Mercedes-Benz Travego high-deck touring coach, which marks the world premiere of the Active Brake Assist (ABA) system in the bus and coach sector. Further new equipment for the Travego includes the patented Front Collision Guard (FCG) passive safety system, which provides effective protection for the driver and co-driver in the event of a frontal impact. Plus there are further safety features such as the cornering light function, a rain/light sensor, long-life LED corner marker lights above the windscreen, a trailing axle with independent wheel suspension for the three-axle models and the optional chassis pitch and roll control system. Awaiting the driver is a new-look, user-friendly cockpit. As an option, the OM 457 LA six-cylinder in-line engine can be ordered with a new, higher output rating of 335 kW (456 hp). Further special equipment available for the latest incarnation of the Travego includes the new Mercedes GO 240-8 PowerShift eight-speed automated transmission. All of which makes this particular Mercedes-Benz one of the most attractive high-deck touring coaches ever seen.
New Active Brake Assist actively helps prevent rear-end collisions
Active Brake Assist has won a number of awards and, more importantly, actively helps to prevent rear-end collisions. It can therefore save lives. Since it was launched in the Mercedes-Benz Actros heavy-duty truck in 2006, Active Brake Assist, also known as emergency braking assist, has proven a resounding success, having clocked up a combined total of more than 350 million kilometres on the road for our customers. Now it is set to celebrate its world premiere in the bus and coach sector – in the new-generation Mercedes-Benz Travego. If Active Brake Assist detects an acute risk of a rear-end collision with a slower-moving vehicle in front, it initiates emergency braking following intermittent warnings. If the coach comes to a stop during emergency braking, the hazard warning lights are automatically activated.
Active Brake Assist is based on DISTRONIC, which has been available as an option for the Mercedes-Benz Travego for several years. It uses the DISTRONIC radar sensor which, in turn, is able to detect obstacles moving within a defined range in front of the vehicle by means of its three radar beams. The distance to and the relative speed of the vehicle in front are monitored and assessed on a permanent basis.
If the traffic situation remains unchanged and there is a risk of a collision, a progressive series of warnings comes into play. Firstly the driver receives a visual warning in the shape of an illuminated red triangle with the outline of a vehicle on the instrument panel along with an audible alarm signal that gradually becomes louder. If the risk of a collision becomes more acute, partial braking is initiated. The technology used in this instance takes account of the occupants on board by increasing the braking pressure smoothly. If the driver fails to respond, the system finally applies the full braking power of its own accord. If DISTRONIC is ordered, Active Brake Assist is delivered with it at no extra cost.
Installation of assistance systems reduces insurance costs
Buses and coaches fitted with Active Brake Assist receive a five-percent discount on liability and fully comprehensive insurance from Mercedes-Benz Bank AG. Buses and coaches fitted with Lane Assistant and DISTRONIC also receive a five-percent discount. If all three assistance systems are installed, a ten-percent discount is granted.
Reduction in collision speed and accident severity
Although Active Brake Assist cannot always prevent accidents, the application of the brakes with full power can at least significantly reduce the collision speed and, therefore, the severity of the accident.
The system uses a series of progressive warnings to alert the driver in advance, allowing the driver to then manoeuvre the vehicle or apply the brakes, if possible, in order to avoid a collision. Even though rear-end collisions are not the most frequent type of accident involving buses and coaches, they are among the most serious. The developers expect Active Brake Assist to bring about a reduction in the number of these accidents involving fatalities or serious injuries. During develop­ment of this system, the focus was on ensuring protection for other road users as well as for the vehicle occupants. Active Brake Assist for buses and coaches sees Mercedes-Benz taking a further step towards realising its vision of accident-free driving.
Travego: exemplary safety right from the start
Since its premiere in 1999, the Mercedes-Benz Travego has earned itself an enviable reputation as a commendably safe touring coach featuring an extensive range of safety equipment. Right from the start, the standard-equipment package has included the Electronic Braking System (EBS) with internally ventilated disc brakes all round, the anti-lock braking system (ABS), acceleration skid control (ASR) and a wear-free retarder as an auxiliary brake. The flawlessly ergonomically designed cockpit with a joystick-style shift lever also set new standards.
In the ensuing years, a whole host of safety components – including the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), DISTRONIC, Lane Assistant, the Continuous Braking Limiter and Brake Assist (BA) – made their debuts in the Travego, allowing it to build on its commanding lead in the safety stakes. All of these developments lead to the unveiling of the Safety Coach demonstration vehicle, equipped with all of the relevant safety features available at the time, in 2006. With Active Brake Assist, the Travego has set another milestone in the development of bus and coach safety.
New: Front Collision Guard passive safety system
The same applies to numerous other innovations that feature in the new-generation Travego. The Front Collision Guard (FCG) is a unique, complex passive safety system designed to protect the driver and tour guide in the event of a frontal impact. Its components include a transverse profile which acts as an underride guard for the protection of other road users and can prevent a car, for example, from driving underneath the coach. Behind this profile is a structure consisting of crash elements, which absorb energy in a predetermined manner in the event of an impact.
In addition, the driver's area in the Travego – including the steering, pedals and seat – is now mounted on a solid frame section that can slide downwards in its entirety in the event of a serious frontal impact and, therefore, increase the driver’s space by several crucial centimetres. As well as testing the effect of the Front Collision Guard system using computer simulations, the developers have also put it through its paces in several crash tests under real-life conditions. The FCG also complies with future statutory standards for bus and coach pendulum impact tests. Together with Active Brake Assist, which can reduce the collision speed dramati­cally in the event of an unavoidable frontal collision, the FCG provides the driver and tour guide with an unparalleled high standard of safety.
Travego sets safety standards
A wealth of other details enhance the exemplary level of safety provided by the Mercedes-Benz Travego even further still: the new cornering light function is activated when the driver indicates to turn and moves the steering wheel, providing the speed is below 40 km/h, in which case the fog lamp on the side of the inner wheel illuminates a wide area of the road to the side of the vehicle as well as in front of it.
The new rain/light sensor activates the windscreen wipers when they are needed and also selects a suitable wipe interval and wipe speed. Additionally, the sensor switches on the headlamps if the light outside is poor. This function is active when the light switch is in position "A" (Automatic).
Further safety aspects include the use of LEDs as corner marker lights above the windscreen. These are designed to last the entire vehicle lifetime and make it virtually impossible to inadvertently drive the vehicle without the required lighting. Previously Travego models have already featured LED side marker lights. After the driver leaves the Travego and activates the central locking, the new "follow‑me‑home" light function and the fog lamps illuminate the area in front of the vehicle for several seconds to help them find their way safely.
The face of the Travego: front bumper sporting a new design
The introduction of the new-generation Mercedes-Benz Travego marks a series of subtle changes to the exterior, including a front end that is 40-mm longer due to the addition of the Front Collision Guard system. The Travego is instantly recognisable by its new front bumper with a prominent swage line and a distinctive recess at the position of the number plate. The form of the new-look bumper corners and the newly designed, integral fog lamps emphasise the Travego's dynamism.
A bonded windscreen further adds to the elegance of the Travego's front end as it allows the rubber-strip surround to be dispensed with. In addition, the bonded screen helps to further reduce wind noise and improve aerodynamics.
All-new cockpit design geared even more towards the driver
Whereas the previous Travego cockpit incorporating a joystick-style gearshift marked a milestone in the design of the driver's area in buses and coaches, the cockpit for the new-generation Travego marks a further major step forwards. It boasts an all-new design, geared even more towards the driver, along with a series of curved and rounded forms that make for an exceptionally ergonomic workplace offering maximum appeal. The instrument panel, centre console and area in front of the tour guide's seat with an integral refrigerator appear to merge together seamlessly whilst the cockpit as a whole now gives an even stronger impression of completeness and outstanding quality.
The instrument panel is positioned centrally within the driver's field of vision. Both the speedometer and the rev counter are large dial-type gauges sporting a 3-D look and chrome surrounds. They flank a large colour display on which a vast range of data – from fluid and air levels to trip-computer information – can be shown. It is operated via keys on the new four-spoke multifunction steering wheel. Navigating the menus is easy and intuitive, as in Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Similarly, the telephone, hands-free system and basic functions of the audio system can be operated almost effortlessly using the buttons on the steering wheel. An easy-grip leather steering wheel is part of the standard specification.
Ergonomically optimised shift lever and controls
The joystick-style shift lever boasts a new shape and is trimmed with a chrome ring. What's more, its installation position has been ergonomically optimised. Above the shift lever, positioned directly in the driver's field of vision on the right-hand side of the instrument panel, there is a permanently-installed navigation screen.
The control consoles for the audio and video system, heating, ventilation and air conditioning are now located at the top of the centre console, while the digital tachograph, positioned within easy reach of the driver and in their direct line of vision, can also be found here. All of the control buttons have been moved to their optimum positions as part of the new design. These changes mean that there is now even more stowage space available at the bottom of the centre console with its new, curved design.
Six-cylinder in-line engine with additional output rating
The new-generation Travego also incorporates an optimised powertrain with a perfectly matched combination of engine, transmission and driven axle supplied from a single source. An additional engine variant has been added to the line-up in the shape of the Mercedes-Benz OM 457 LA six-cylinder in-line unit with a dis­place­ment of 12.0 litres, an output of 335 kW (456 hp) and an impressive torque of 2200 Nm at 1100 rpm. This powerplant ensures outstandingly capable perfor­mance under all conditions and, thanks to proven BlueTec engine technology, is also exceptionally economical. It can be ordered as a Euro 4 or Euro 5 version.
With its harmonious power delivery and impressive pulling power, this engine is ideal for pairing with a long overall ratio. Hence the Travego is equipped with the new Mercedes GO 240-8 PowerShift automated manual transmission with a standard axle ratio of i=3.909 at the motorway speed of 100 km/h at just 1300 rpm. This set-up minimises fuel consumption and, therefore, exhaust emissions whilst also further reducing noise emissions.
New: Mercedes eight-speed automated transmission
The new Mercedes-Benz GO 240-8 PowerShift eight-speed automated transmission has been purpose-developed for installation in buses and coaches, making it the only specialist bus and coach transmission in its performance class, reflected by an extremely compact and lightweight design. What's more, the dimensions of the transmission's aluminium housing are identical to those of the six-speed manual transmission, which is still available, making installation much easier. There is no need for a clutch pedal with this transmission. With comparable performance, use of the PowerShift transmission on typical routes brings about a significant reduction in fuel consumption compared to a vehicle fitted with one of the more conventional automated transmissions available on the market.
Ideal ratio spread thanks to progressive gear-ratio steps
With eight speeds and a large gear-ratio spread (1st-gear ratio 6.57, 8th gear 0.63), the transmission covers the entire spectrum from precise manoeuvring at inching speed to low and fuel-saving rpm at motorway speed. In contrast to other trans­missions in this performance class, the GO 240-8 PowerShift transmission's gear-ratio steps are progressive, ensuring near-perfect power link-up both when upshifting to accelerate and when downshifting on uphill inclines.
Second gear is used as the starting gear on the flat. The transmission ratios have been optimised to suit bus and coach operation, meaning that it is not normally necessary to skip gears. The gear changes themselves are smooth and swift whilst the transmission's control unit responds quickly to changes in topography or load requirements.
Easy to use, with manual mode if required
The automated transmission is extremely easy to use. Usually the driver will opt for automatic mode, although they can intervene manually at any time simply by nudging the shift lever forwards or backwards. In this case, the transmission remains in automatic mode. Pushing the shift lever to one side is all that it takes to engage manual mode, enabling the driver to change gear whenever required, providing this is technically feasible.
Wide choice of engines and transmissions
The new-generation Travego features the same proven powertrain components as its predecessor. As before, the OM 457 LA engine with a displacement of 12.0 litres, an output of 315 kW (428 hp) and a peak torque of 2100 Nm now comes as standard. Additionally there is the Mercedes-Benz OM 457 LA 6-cylinder in-line engine with a displacement of 12.0 litres, 335 kW (456 hp) and a torque of 2200 Nm. There is also the option of the OM 502 LA V8 powerplant with a displacement of 15.9 litres, an output of 350 kW (476 hp) and a maximum torque 2100 Nm, should extra power be needed. All of the engines are available as Euro 4 or Euro 5 versions.
As for the transmission, the Travego comes as standard with a six-speed manual unit in the shape of the GO 210-6 or GO 230-6 with joystick-style gearshift. Special equipment includes the new Mercedes GO 240-8 PowerShift eight-speed automated transmission. Meanwhile, the economical and quiet-running Mercedes‑Benz HO6 hypoid rear axle comes with a choice of ratios, allowing a perfect powertrain configuration every time.
Chassis: new trailing axle with independent wheel suspension
Major new features have also been incorporated into the chassis for the new-generation Mercedes-Benz Travego. Here too, the Travego sets new standards in terms of comfort and handling dynamics. One of the focal points of the three-axle models is the new trailing axle with independent wheel suspension, whose advantages include improved track guidance, smoother suspension characteristics thanks to lower unsprung masses, extra installation space and a design that is around 150-kg lighter due in part to the axle design and electronic control of the still hydraulically actively steered axle.
All variants of the Travego benefit from modified front-axle mountings that are even more effective at preventing thumping noises. What's more, the axle is more smoothly sprung yet loses none of its edge in terms of track guidance or damping properties. And the familiar direct road feel provided by the steering remains intact. Standard equipment for the Travego now also includes electronic level control.
Optional pitch and roll control system further optimises handling characteristics
Another new feature of the Travego chassis is the pitch and roll control system, now available as special equipment. Whereas the characteristic curve for a conventional shock absorber always produces a compromise between safety and comfort as well as between an unladen and laden vehicle, the pitch and roll control system ensures continuously variable control of the shock absorber characteristics as a function of the driving situation and the vehicle load. To this end, the vehicle's CAN bus provides the control unit with information about the driver's actions and the vehicle load, while position sensors on the axles supply data relating to the vehicle's movements. Having gathered all of these data, the control unit then calculates the optimal parameters for each axle and adjusts the shock absorber characteristics accordingly within a fraction of a second.
This process results in enhanced safety thanks to tauter damping when braking, cornering at speed or driving on poor road surfaces. In other driving situations, as well as on flat roads, softer damping ensures greater comfort. Furthermore, the rolling, pitching and lifting movements of the body – which are typical of high-deck touring coaches due to their large overhangs and high centre of gravity – are compensated for more quickly. In addition, the less pronounced fluctuations in the pressure exerted by the wheels on the road surface help to keep roads in good condition, while the driver gets the benefit of improved handling.
New interior, monitors with 19-inch screen diagonal
The new-generation Mercedes-Benz Travego is more comfortable than ever, not least thanks to large monitors with a 19-inch screen diagonal, which afford passengers an unhindered view of films or television programmes from any seat. In addition to this, the ceiling and the luggage racks have been redesigned to further boost their visual appeal and reduce their weight.
The model year 2009 range
Like its forerunner, the range of new-generation Travego models comprises three high-deck touring coaches: the Travego (two axles, 12.18-metres long), the Travego M (three axles, 13.0-metres long) and the Travego L (three axles, 14.03-metres long).
The Mercedes-Benz Travego at the 2008 International Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover
At the 2008 International Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, the Mercedes‑Benz Bus and Coach unit will be unveiling the Travego's many new features as a world premiere in the shape of a three-axle Travego M model measuring 13 metres in length. The vehicle is equipped with alloy wheels, DISTRONIC, Lane Assistant, Travel Star Xtra seats with Luxline leather upholstery, a galley, an on-board toilet and a digital-television receiver coupled with 19-inch monitors. The diamond-white paint finish reflects the latest trend in passenger-car colours.
In addition to this, the show stand also features models and exhibits highlighting the functions of new safety systems such as Active Brake Assist and the Front Collision Guard. Visitors can see how Active Brake Assist functions for them­selves on working models. Those visiting the show wanting a close-up view of the new-generation Mercedes-Benz Travego with all of its safety systems can experience the vehicle live in a nearby testing area.
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World premiere: Mercedes-Benz Travego the new generation with Active Brake Assist
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