Detroit Assurance is the name of a new safety system from Daimler Trucks North America. It’s designed to minimize the potential damage in a rear-end collision by slowing the truck before the crash occurs. It can also help prevent such collisions. In less dire circumstances, it can help drivers save fuel too.
Detroit Assurance uses a forward-looking radar-based system to scan an area more than 600 feet ahead of the truck. It can track up to 40 metallic objects in its path, but it reacts only to objects it perceives as threats directly ahead of the truck. It ignores objects outside of the lane-wide path, and vehicles that are moving faster than the truck.
Ultimate Test Drive put Detroit Assurance to the test recently in Miami, Florida and the system proved very effective at its job. We also discovered another benefit to the system. Set properly, Detroit Assurance helps the driver maintain the proper following distance at almost any road speed. This enables a proxy self-drive mode where the truck maintains road speed and following distance based on the speed of the vehicle out front. It’s entirely possible for a driver to spend hour upon hour out on the highway, in dense or light traffic, and never have to touch the brake or the throttle pedal.
The best thing about Detroit Assurance is that it’s virtually invisible to the driver until it’s needed.
There are three parts to the system; the first is called Adaptive Cruise Control. It’s designed to maintain a preset following time from any vehicle ahead of the truck while the system is engaged — which is anytime the cruise control is on. The second part is called Active-Brake Assist. It’s always on, and works alongside Adaptive Cruise Control by de-throttling the engine or applying the engine or service brakes as needed to help maintain that space cushion. The third part of the system is an optional lane departure warning system. We cover the benefits and effects of all three parts of the system in these two Ultimate Test Drive videos.