Predictive cruise control [CAR June 2012 print edition]

GPS-based system will save fuel

July 4, 2012
by Canadian Automotive Review staff

From the June 2012 print edition of Canadian Automotive Review.

Mercedes-Benz has introduced GPS-based cruise control it claims will reduce fuel consumption by three percent.

The system, known as Predictive Power Control, is available on the Actros truck, and works in conjunction with the standard EcoRoll fuel-saving system. It intervenes to control speed and braking, and can now also regulate the transmission, downshifting in anticipation of hills.

Daimler Trucks introduced a GPS speed regulator, without gearshift intervention, three years ago as an option for its Freightliner branded trucks in the US. When it was launched onto the market in 2009 this system, which was available in overseas markets under the name Predictive Cruise Control, was the first cruise control system to be so “farsighted”. Combining geodetic data with the ability to pinpoint the vehicle’s position through the Global Positioning System (GPS) makes predictive driving in cruise control mode possible.

The new Mercedes-Benz system builds on this basis, using its knowledge of the road ahead when driving up or downhill. In doing so, Predictive Powertrain Control turns the classic and inherent disadvantage of a non-regulated cruise control system into clearly measurable advantages: fully laden long-distance haulage trucks such as the new Actros 1845 BlueTec 6 can achieve fuel savings of around three percent in long-distance operations over moderately difficult topography compared with “non-regulated” examples fitted with a classic cruise control system.