Daimler’s new tech focus involves Safety Coach

Daimler Buses showed two of its flagship products last week: The Tourismo safety coach and the zero-emission eCitaro bus. Both were made available to drive to give an impression of what they can do

Tourismo Safety Coach in right-hand drive will be shown to UK operators

Daimler Buses gave the chance to sample two of its most technologically-advanced products last week: The Mercedes-Benz Tourismo Safety Coach and the battery-electric eCitaro.

As exclusively revealed in routeone, right-hand drive Safety Coach is already here, and dealership EvoBus (UK) plans to hold a number of customer events next year to demonstrate its capabilities.

The eCitaro is for the UK in 2021. It represents Daimler’s interpretation of the electric bus, and in some ways that differs notably from those EVs that are already in the market.

The manufacturer anticipates progressive increases in the energy density of the eCitaro’s batteries, with an ultimate range of 400km having previously been suggested.

Safety as standard

In left-hand drive form, the Tourismo Safety Coach is a 13m, two-axle M/2 model. That differs from the right-hand drive example, which is to the same length but has three axles.

Active Brake Assist 4 (ABA4) is fitted, and it will be standard on all Tourismos built from 2019 onwards. ABA4 maintains the ability to make a full-force stop when a stationary or moving object is detected ahead, but it can also do the same for a pedestrian.

Sideguard Assist is included. Radar monitors substantially beyond the full length of the coach to the nearside, and the driver is warned of cyclists, pedestrians or stationary objects there.

At the moment, Sideguard Assist does not activate automatic braking if an obstruction is detected. However, a Daimler representative dropped a heavy hint that future iterations of the concept will do so.

Tourismo Safety Coach comes laden with many driver assistance systems

On the road

It was possible to drive the Safety Coach on a mixed route of highway and rural roads around Mannheim.

While that gave a good general impression of the Tourismo, it was not possible to explore how most of its safety technology works; by definition, that can only be experienced either on a test circuit or in an emergency situation.

The most obvious indication to the the driver of these capabilities is a dash display that shows the distance between the coach and the vehicle ahead, and its speed. That is useful when approaching slower traffic on a multi-lane road, as it gives ample time to plan moving out to pass.

Among other systems fitted are intelligent cruise control, ‘stop and go’ functionality for use in slow traffic, and Attention Assist, which monitors the driver’s tiredness. Stop and go allows the coach to make progress in very heavy traffic without pedal input from the driver.

Otherwise, the Safety Coach is much the same as any other current-model Tourismo, meaning that it is a fine coach from a driver’s perspective.

The highest-output variant of the OM 470 engine delivers 456bhp, and when coupled to the eight-speed Powershift 3 automated manual gearbox excellent progress is made. In particular, the manner in which the engine pulls from 800rpm must be experienced to be believed.