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Reflecting on MirrorCam one year on.
When Katie Blowes was introduced to Arocs with MirrorCam a year ago, she wasn’t sure. Investing in a truck with no mirrors seemed a huge gamble. However, after trialling the vehicle at the Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK Experience Centre, she was sold on the innovative technology. One year on and her company LondonEnergy Ltd has a growing fleet of nine Arocs models all complete with MirrorCam. The technology is not just delivering safety improvements to drivers, but helping the company attract and retain sought-after talent offering better working conditions.
There was one driver in particular who first refused to get behind the wheel of an Arocs with MirrorCam because he was concerned it might be more challenging to drive. However, after hearing the positive comments from other drivers he had a go and now he’s one of the biggest advocates for MirrorCam – he absolutely loves it! It’s given him a wake-up call that the industry is changing, and our drivers are right at the forefront of modern technology.
LondonEnergy Ltd first purchased five 2020 bulk plate Arocs units with MirrorCam in July 2020. As a pioneering technology, the move from wing mirrors to MirrorCam was viewed as bold, but Katie was determined to bring the latest technology to her team of drivers.
The company diverts household waste and recycling away from landfill efficiently and responsibly by producing energy from waste. Its flagship site is situated at the Edmonton Eco Park on a forty-acre site and includes a Waste to Energy, Waste Transfer Centre, and a Bulk Recycling Centre. Due to its location, drivers find themselves regularly having to navigate the busy and often narrow streets of the UK’s capital, which is where the Arocs’ small, streamlined camera arms built into the roof frame on the left and right are really delivering noticeable benefits.
“MirrorCam takes so much stress away from the driver by widening their pane of visibility. Our drivers all travel through north London, so they are always looking out for pedestrians, cyclists and other hazards. MirrorCam improves their vision, and it gives them reassurance that they are being protected from potential knocks and scrapes that traditional wing mirrors may well miss. Small things like this show that as a company, we really do care about our drivers and their mental health, as well as everyone else on the road.
“Our concern was always what would happen if we knocked MirrorCam or the technology failed but we’ve never had a problem with it, which is really good because MirrorCam is new technology to us, to Mercedes-Benz and to the industry. No-one else is doing it. It just shows that Mercedes have really done their research and homework on this. MirrorCam is creating a mindset shift that the future of truck driving is exciting and full of technology.”
This mindset shift is helping LondonEnergy compete in the difficult fight for new truck driving talent,. Many of the company’s drivers have remained loyal to the business for several years and are fully bought into its safety-first ethos. For a business operating at the heart of waste management and sustainable operations, it is crucial that LondonEnergy extolls these values to its team members and Arocs is playing a role here too.
“It’s not just MirrorCam. Active Drive Assist on the Arocs is also brilliant – the truck pretty much drives itself. One of our drivers actually came all the way back from Tilbury (to Edmonton) without touching the acceleration or the brake – it did it all itself! Obviously, he was paying attention and retained control of the vehicle, but this just shows how impressive the technology is.”
Such technology is also helping LondonEnergy to attract new drivers. The company is operating four Arocs units 24 hours a day as part of its extended operations, through multiple shifts. This means demand for new drivers is high, but the Arocs is winning people round.
“The thing about our offer to employees is that it’s not about the company, it’s not about me as a transport manager, it’s not about what we do that attracts drivers – it’s the truck. If we can go out to the market with our safety-first ethos and back this up with a modern technological fleet of Arocs units, this gives us a huge advantage.
“Mercedes-Benz is a front-runner in the market when it comes to innovation. Even the fact that the modern display system in the Arocs has excellent haptics and recognises five tachographs means drivers can switch effortlessly between trucks for shifts.”
As a business focused on sustainability, the next step for LondonEnergy is a move towards electric vehicles. The company ordered a further four 2021-plate Arocs bulker units in May 2021, such was the positive reception of the previous vehicles within the organisation. MirrorCam looks set to be a mainstay even as the company transitions its fleet.
Katie adds: “We’ll definitely consider investing further in MirrorCam – once you move to cameras, it would be hard to go back.
“The future for us is electric. Due to the nature of our business, we want to be pioneers in sustainability and electric trucks will be the future. I have no doubt that Mercedes-Benz will have a strong offer here. They are a big player and well respected in the HGV market. It’s always exciting to experience their new innovations and pass the benefits of their trucks onto our drivers.”