In February at the 2020 Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Mack Trucks introduced its new Command Steer steering assistance system for its long- and regional-haul Anthem models. Now Mack announced it’s adding Command Steer to its Granite line of heavy-duty vocational trucks.
Mack Command Steer is a “smart” driver assistance system that reduces driver fatigue and can help cut muscle strain up to 30% by combining an electric motor with the existing hydraulic steering.
“Driving a fully loaded, heavy-duty construction truck is a physically demanding task, especially when you add the uneven terrain common to most jobsites,” said Roy Horton, Mack Trucks director of product strategy. “With the added steering assist from Mack Command Steer, we are able to reduce driver effort by 85% and significantly improve driver productivity and jobsite safety.”
Horton said Mack Command Steer monitors terrain, driver inputs, and environmental elements more than 2,000 times per second through sensors found throughout the truck. Based on that input, the system provides variable steering effort through its electric motor, which applies additional torque as needed to the steering.
In addition to significantly reduced steering effort at slow speeds, Mack Command Steer also helps filter out uneven terrain such as the holes, dips and ruts common to most jobsites, Horton added. When such an irregularity is detected, the system reacts to counter the steering force, smoothing steering feedback and reducing the possibility of steering wheel “kicks.”
“While drivers will experience a significant reduction in steering effort, particularly on uneven jobsite surfaces, Mack Command Steer brings many benefits to on-road driving as well,” Horton said. “The system will also compensate for situations, like strong winds and crowned roads, helping drivers maintain greater control so they can focus on the task at hand.”
Mack Command Steer also features a return-to-zero capability that automatically returns the steering wheel to the zero or center position in forward and reverse. This helps simplify tight maneuvers, such as backing a trailer or positioning a dump or mixer to unload, Horton said.
Mack said Command Steer for Granite axle-back models will be available for order in the third quarter.