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Around 640 Mercedes-Benz Axors for automated harvesting operations delivered in Brazil by the end of the year

Automated Mercedes-Benz trucks are being used in the Brazilian sugar cane harvest since 2019. Mercedes-Benz do Brasil has configured the Mercedes-Benz Axor specifically for automated harvesting operations as part of a development partnership with the Brazilian agricultural technology manufacturer Grunner.

By the end of this year, Mercedes-Benz do Brasil will have already delivered a total of around 640 vehicles to Grunner for modification. Of these, around 580 vehicles will already be in customer hands.

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The Axor, which has proven itself in the Brazilian market, is equipped with all the technological components that enable automated driving: The vehicle independently takes over speed and distance control as well as longitudinal and lateral guidance.

Although the driver retains control of the truck at all times, hands do not have to be permanently on the steering wheel. In addition to the automated driving functions, the Axor has an additional front axle, extended tire spacing, so-called “high flotation” tires for agricultural use and antennas to receive satellite signals.

Before the truck can actively help on the plantation, the harvesting route is determined beforehand on the computer, accurate to the centimeter. The automated journey is controlled via cruise control, GPS and geo-referencing. The Axor works in conjunction with a sugar cane harvester, which also drives automatically and conveys the harvested sugar cane directly into the truck body. The average speed is around six kilometers per hour. Once filling of the Axor is complete, the driver takes over the truck again for goods handling.

Compared with a conventional tractor unit, significant advantages can be achieved in terms of fuel consumption, lubricant consumption, as well as maintenance and servicing costs. Precise preset routing also increases productivity: a vehicle can harvest around twice the amount in the same time thanks to higher average operating speeds.

The automated Mercedes-Benz Axors with Grunner's technology are tailor-made for their purpose; with technology specifically adapted to harvesting work, they are not part of Daimler Truck’s dual strategy on autonomous driving.

Through its independent subsidiary Torc Robotics, Daimler Truck is driving the development of SAE Level 4 autonomous trucking in the United States. The solution developed from this partnership is specialized and designed to handle traffic between distribution centers on highways. At the same time, Daimler Truck is working with Waymo. The goal: to combine Waymo’s autonomous driving technology with the Freightliner Cascadia, expected to be available in the US in the coming years.

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