TMC20: Mack Gives Drivers Assistance With Command Steer

Mack Trucks is adding a dynamic steering option to its Anthem models starting in June, giving drivers a little boost in driving efficiency.

Mack Command Steer uses an electric motor connected to the existing hydraulic steering to reduce driver efforts to steer the truck by up 85%. It also reduces muscle fatigue by up to 30% and will assist in correcting the truck's path when needed, said Stu Russoli, Mack highway product manager.

"[With Mack Command Steer] you can drive very confidently in an uneven ground situation," he said during a press conference at the Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting in Atlanta on Feb. 25.

The technology, which will be optional equipment only on the Anthem model at this point, utilizes sensors and the truck's ECU to observe and analyze over 2,000 parameters per second to make decisions on when to help. Command Steer's motor then applies needed torque to keep the truck on the desired path.

It autocorrects back to zero after the assistance is no longer required.

"The additional torque, or steering force, provided by Mack Command Steer means drivers no longer have to ‘fight the wheel' while driving on poor roads or in difficult weather conditions," Russoli said. "This helps drivers maintain greater control and keep their focus on what's ahead, enhancing safety for everyone on the road."

Russoli said Mack Command Steer will operate when driving on uneven roads, over potholes or other disruptions on the vehicle's path, and when blowouts occur. The result is less strain on the driver.

 "Even with the all-day comfort provided by the Mack Anthem model's ergonomic interior, driving a heavy-duty truck remains a highly physical task," Russoli said. "With Mack Command Steer, we're improving safety and productivity as well as helping to protect the truck's most valuable asset – the driver."  

Mack also announced that the day cab version of the Anthem is now certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay program. The sleeper version is also SmartWay-certified.

To achieve SmartWay certification, Mack Anthem day cab models must be spec'd with roof fairings and side shields, chassis fairings and an aerodynamic bumper option. In addition, low rolling resistance SmartWay-certified tires are required. All SmartWay-certified Mack Anthem models feature a SmartWay logo on the doorjamb.

Last week, Mack announced capabilities that will allow drivers to decide when over-the-air updates are made. When a parameter change is required, the Mack Uptime Center sends the download to the truck and the driver initiates the download.

"It takes the necessity of talking to an agent out of the picture, so you can do it at your convenience," Russoli said.

The average download takes less than 15 minutes, he said.

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