Mirror, mirror on the wall – who is the best of them all?
Cyclists and pedestrians consistently require absolute attention and top caution from truck drivers! This is why it is important that everything is done to further minimize the risk of a collision when turning or changing lanes. MEKRA Lang from Central Franconia, Germany, is an important partner that has been focusing on further developing conventional outside mirrors for a long time.
MirrorCams were developed in close cooperation with Daimler, which replace the conventional main and wide-angle mirrors with a camera system.
The new Mercedes-Benz Actros is the first truck series that is on the road without conventional outside mirrors. This product premier brought MEKRA Lang onto the stage as the winner of the 2018 Daimler Supplier Award in the Innovation category.
Innovation in looking back
The MirrorCam shows the driver the real time image of the left and right cameras (attached to the roof frame) on high-resolution 15 inch displays on the A-pillars in the cab.
There are several MirrorCam utilities that support the driver: During curves, for example, the image of the inner display pans along and thereby delivers an optimal view of the entire trailer. When driving straight ahead, distance lines help determine how far back the rear traffic is. A special maneuvering view gives the driver a better oversight: The nearby vehicle surroundings are shown in the lower part of the display, while the further away ones are shown in the upper part.
With the omission of the mirrors, the new Actros consumes up to 1.5% less fuel on freeways and expressways than its predecessor. The view through the glass pane is also improved. This provides the driver with a significant advantage in terms of safety and ergonomics. If Cornering Assist is installed, the MirrorCam display also shows critical driving situations and warnings.
This innovation makes our new Actros the world's first Mercedes-Benz series production that has digital mirrors. Elegant, efficient and safe: MEKRA Lang brought the technology to the next level.
MEKRA Lang the vision experts
With the new MirrorCam and associated display, MEKRA Lang brilliantly overcame the challenge of further developing a traditional product made from plastic, steel and glass into an innovative and tech-driven product. MEKRA Lang started out as a small rear courtyard workshop in Fürth, Germany. Today, the innovative, family-owned business is a worldwide leading manufacturer of vision systems for commercial vehicles, employs more than 2,930 employees and is represented at 14 locations in 9 countries.
Three questions for Dr. Werner Lang, President MEKRA Lang.
Congratulations Dr. Werner Lang. Your company was awarded the 2018 Daimler Supplier Award in the Innovation category by Global Procurement Trucks & Buses. We are thrilled about your success, which you have earned with your “vision solution” in the new Actros. Let us ask you three questions:
What is your general secret to success?
A general secret to success no longer exists in our changing times. We owe the success of this project to committed individuals – our employees, who give more than we can expect of them. Implementing this innovation in the commercial vehicles industry put a great demand on our team (and myself) over the last eight years. Our secret to success is therefore ‘only’ these great people who we call our team.
I think a quote by Albert Einstein accurately illustrates our work over the past years: “Two things are necessary for our work: untiring persistence and the willingness to discard something that one has put a lot of time and effort into”. And complemented by Albert Schweitzer: “Science, correctly understood, heals humanity of its pride, because it shows them their limitations.”, in our team it was also persistence and humility that prepared the path for success – nothing more and certainly nothing less.
Where there any specific hurdles that you had to overcome during the transition to digital outside mirrors?
Thanks to the strong decision-making by Daimler, we had a single goal in mind – like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
This ocean of innovation presented us with some unexpected events. We had to change the system’s architecture several times during the development of the series production, while still keeping goal of the deadline for the series production breakpoint in mind. A venture that would have been impossible without our customers’ understanding and our unwavering will to succeed. Daimler AG was an essential partner and path clearer throughout the entire time, without whose confidence we would have never reached our goal.
How did your team receive the award?
It was a very special experience for us after all the hard work of the past years – knowing that our customers really value our work. One can’t imagine anything more rewarding – and I am sure that I am speaking for the entire MEKRA team. We of course celebrated the award with the entire team!
We thank you for the answers and congratulate you and your team for the achievement and the well-deserved award.