Mercedes-Benz has announced Predictive Power Control will make its debut in the Actros, a heavy-duty truck used in Europe. This new system is capable of reducing fuel consumption by three percent by regulating speed, braking, and the transmission. This system extends the EcoRoll function and relies on GPS data to select the right gear and when to apply the brake. In the Actros, the PPC system can also determine when to downshift a gear or two early on when applicable.
The Predictive Powertrain Control really shines when navigating up- and downhill gradients though. The GPS-based system combines geodetic data with the system’s ability to detect exactly where the truck is. This, in turn, determines the type of terrain laid out in front of the truck and adjusts the transmission appropriately and applies the brakes if necessary. This is good news for seasoned truckers who are traversing a route for the first time, and aren’t familiar with what topography lies ahead of them. If the system detects an obstruction (curve, steep, grade, etc), it will focus on the set speed while sipping diesel fuel. If the system feels the route ahead is clear, it will continue to focus on what lies ahead until something comes up.
Daimler Trucks had a GPS speed regulator added back in 2009 in the United States. Freightliner trucks were sldo on the receiving end of a GPS speed regulator, but it didn’t include gearshift intervention like the latest version in Europe has. The cruise control system in the Freightliner trucks stateside is now called Predicative Powertrain Control in Europe.
While this new system may sound complicated all the driver needs to do is apply the accelerator. Braking by the driver will still need to be done obviously but the system can now step in and apply the proper amount of braking or select the appropriate gear.
Automotive.com’s take: Adapting this system to Mercedes-Benz passenger cars doesn’t seem totally out of the question. The technology exists, and most Mercedes-Benz cars have many of the necessary components already built in. All that’s needed is the programming to link it all together.