By bringing the electronics on the new Cascadia bang up to date, Freightliner can then include all of the latest safety and efficiency features sophisticated onboard computing power can offer. The systems available allow for a high level of communication around the vehicle but also to the outside world.
The list of safety systems matches that available on any highway truck in the world. Active brake assist uses both video and radar to identify anything in front of the truck which could cause problems. The system will automatically apply braking to avoid hitting moving pedestrians, cars, moving or parked. It also informs Adaptive Cruise Control, keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front, down to 0 km/h.
There is lane keeping assistance using the video from the front of the truck to warn when the driver drifts across lanes. Added to this system is a new one for Australia, Side Guard Assist. This uses two radars looking backwards and forward at the side of the truck. It can warn of vehicles in the blindspot when turning or changing lanes. It also warns the driver if it detects the trailer is likely to hit an object like a power pole.
One of the features available is something called Intelligent Powertrain Management. This uses topographical mapping to inform control systems when the truck is using cruise control. This will activate the coast feature when the engine is not required to maintain forward momentum, on inclines less than 3.5 per cent.
IPM will also accelerate the truck into the foot of an upcoming grade to maintain momentum on the climb. The system will also cut back on rpm as the truck approaches the crest of a hill to save fuel and use the downward incline to regain cruising speed.
The advanced computing power also enables Freightliner to offer the latest iteration of a product called Detroit Connect, which offers connectivity and advanced telematics. Remote diagnostics is possible, alongside remote engine updates, engine report downloads and firmware updates whilst on the road.
Driver Accommodation in the New Cascadia
One of the strengths of the Argosy in Australia was the size and design of the driver accommodation. The release of the Cascadia and its cabin options looks likely to offer similar standards of space and features.
There are five different cabin options available, the day cab, a 36, a 48 and two 60 inch cabins. The 60 inch comes in a normal roof and a high roof option. The 36 inch will keep the dimensions tight enough to enable 26 metre B-double operation. As is typical with these North American cabins, there will be a number of different interior design options.
The Big Project Up To Date
After a period of being in the doldrums, the Daimler Truck organisation has picked itself up and brushed itself down to make a bit of a comeback. Fuso has been a consistent performer, but both Mercedes Benz and Freightliner seemed to be flatlining. The introduction of the new Benz heavy duty range three years ago reinvigorated the organisation and got some well-earned runs on the board.
This year, with the introduction of the new Cascadia bang up to date, there is an opportunity to give the Freightliner brand some similar defibrillation therapy. Looking at the design and specification of this range, and the efforts Freightliner is putting in behind it, the Cascadia should have a considerable impact in the Australian market.
There are frustrated Freightliner fans who have been waiting for a suitable truck. There are also operators looking for sophisticated conventional having to buy European cabovers. There are many more who could well give Cascadia a go. The truck is also being released before the other sophisticated conventional in the pipeline, the Mack Anthem, has made an appearance. Freightliner have an opportunity and look capable of being able to take it.