Active Steering for Enhanced Safety and Driver Comfort

Mack Trucks is making the job of the highway truck driver and the heavy-duty construction operator easier with the introduction of Mack® Command Steer for the Mack Anthem® and the Mack Granite® axle back.

On highway

A highly advanced active steering system, Mack Command Steer adds an electric motor to the existing hydraulic steering to help reduce driver effort up to 85% and improve driver productivity and comfort.

“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,” says Stu Russoli, Mack highway product manager. “With Mack Command Steer, we’re helping reduce driver fatigue and muscle strain by up to 30%, improving safety and productivity as well as helping to protect the truck’s most valuable asset: the driver.”

Russoli says driver reaction from earlier test drives shows that drivers are amazed at how well the new steering system works. “When they are driving across the country and the wind is blowing hard on one side, they report relief over not having to fight the wheel. The drivers I’ve talked to say they are a lot less fatigued; it makes it much easier to keep the truck in the lane,” he says.

Mack Command Steer provides variable steering assist based on the driving situation. Multiple sensors throughout the truck monitor road conditions, driver inputs and even environmental elements, and the system relays those observations more than 2,000 times per second. The system’s electric motor then applies additional torque as needed to the steering, making it easier to keep the truck on the desired path.

“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 says. “This helps drivers maintain greater control and keep their focus on what’s ahead, enhancing safety for everyone on the road.”

Another unique capability of Mack Command Steer is a return to zero feature that automatically returns the steering wheel to the center or zero position, helping simplify maneuvers in tight spaces, whether going forward or in reverse.

“It’s not just a motor that helps you steer easier, it’s a really smart brain that monitors terrain, driver inputs and environmental elements for increased driver safety and comfort,” Russoli says.

Construction jobsites

Mack is also making operating a heavy-duty construction truck easier and safer, by bringing the benefits of Command Steer’s active steering system to the rigors of jobsites. “Driving a fully loaded, heavy-duty construction truck is a physically demanding task, especially when you add the uneven terrain common to most jobsites,” says Roy Horton, Mack Trucks director of product strategy.

In addition, Horton says that to significantly reduce steering effort at slow speeds, Command Steer also helps filter out uneven terrain such as the holes, dips and ruts common to most jobsites. 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.”

“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,” Horton says.

Mack Command Steer’s return-to-zero feature helps simplify tight maneuvers, such as backing a trailer or positioning a dump or mixer to unload.

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