February 18, 2020 - Minus temperatures and icy roads, short days and poor visibility: Winter presents both the trucks and their drivers with a particular challenge. Finnish transport company Vähälä has 65 of their own trucks and is putting their trust in the new Actros for their daily routines in the extreme conditions of Finland which are unmatched across the rest of the continent. The Finnish winter has days that start with temperatures slightly above freezing, which will then reach minus 40 by the time drivers arrive at the northern provincial capital of Rovaniemi in the evening, having travelled a good 900 kilometres from the south of the country to get there.
Operation as a “high-capacity truck” – not a problem thanks to the MirrorCam
Vähälä uses the Actros 2663 as a “high-capacity truck” with two semitrailers. Trailers like these, reaching up to 34.5 metres in length and weighing 76 tonnes in total, have only been permitted in Finland since the start of 2019. And the new Actros appears to have been perfectly designed for this role. Finnish law dictates that any towing vehicle with a train length of 28 metres or more must have a digital camera system – something the new Actros includes as standard with the MirrorCam.
The MirrorCam has replaced the main and wide-angle mirrors on the outside of the truck with two compact, streamlined camera arms on the roof frame. The images captured are transmitted to displays on the A-pillars in the driver's field of vision. The system thus provides assistance when navigating bends, for example, whereby the image of the curve inner moves in accordance with the vehicle's own movement. The driver thus always has the end of the trailer in their sights. Plus, the large display switches to a wide-angle mode when reversing, thus providing the driver with a better overall view.
Powerful cameras, minimum soiling – a real bonus during the winter months
All truckers generally benefit from these features. However, those truckers looking to safely navigate the poor visibility of Finland's dark and gloomy winter days, particularly with an extra-long truck, certainly appreciate this additional support.
The MirrorCam provides even more benefits, especially during the winter months. The system functions reliably in all weather conditions as the camera lenses are heated once temperatures drop below 15 degrees. Furthermore, the intensity of the light means the MirrorCam ensures good visibility even at night. And, the compact design of these cameras means they are far less prone to getting dirty, for example from slush.
Support from Active Drive Assist in all speed ranges
In addition to the MirrorCam, the new Actros boasts a number of other innovative features – certainly a valuable asset when faced with challenging winter conditions. The new Active Drive Assist, for example, which supports the driver when braking, accelerating and steering in all speed ranges. Or Active Brake Assist 5, the latest generation of the emergency brake assistant.
An improved version of the Predictive Powertrain Control, the intelligent cruise and transmission control, has been included in the new Actros. With additional map material, it is also practical for inter-urban routes. A big plus for those navigating the sparsely populated regions of Finland, in particular. Not forgetting the new Multimedia Cockpit with its two new digital displays and convenient intuitive operation.
Low fuel consumption leverage fully utilised
Predictive Powertrain Control not only increases safety but also fuel efficiency. Further leverage here includes the economical Euro VI engines, finely tuned drivetrain configurations and further improvements to the aerodynamics, thanks in part to the absence of outside mirrors. Vähälä's 65 trucks travel a total of eight to nine million kilometres every year. The reduced fuel consumption is thus noticeably reflected in diesel costs.