Rolling School!
Transport Magazine

Rolling School!

Educational: an Actros featuring MirrorCam at Verkehrsakademie Münsterland (VAM).

Münsterland transport academy (VAM) wants to train budding drivers using the latest resources and has therefore turned to the Actros. The dynamic provider is certain that the truck has what it takes to resolve the shortage of drivers.

Around 150 young people a year qualify for a class CE or C driving licence at the Münsterland transport academy (VAM), entitling them to drive heavy trucks with or without trailers. “We can’t complain about lack of take‑up,” says junior manager Daniel Autmaring. However, the 27‑year‑old knows that if demand for new drivers in the transport industry is taken as a yardstick, there is a need for even more graduates. After all, there is a risk of a shortage of drivers. This is one of the reasons why the transport academy has turned to the Actros.

Autmaring and his colleagues are convinced: the top model from Mercedes‑Benz Trucks offers a lot of potential, especially as a training vehicle, for attracting young people to a career behind the wheel and thus can solve the problem of the shortage of drivers. After all, the Actros has the very latest technology on board that can be found in a truck. Such as the MirrorCam, which replaces the rear‑view mirrors. Or the Active Drive Assist, which helps drivers to get started with automated driving. As well as the extended Predictive Powertrain Control for gear and cruise control.

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Daniel Autmaring, junior manager at Verkehrsakademie Münsterland (VAM) with commercial manager Philipp Stegemann (right).

At VAM, experienced instructors show novice drivers the ropes with these assistance systems right from the off. “Once the participants get to grips with them, they are generally very excited and see the benefits right away,” says Daniel Autmaring. “The majority of the young generation in particular is well versed with technology, and they are excited to try out the assistance systems and immediately feel at home in the newly designed cockpit of the Actros with its two displays.”

The transport academy uses an Actros 2545, the first model equipped for driving school operation. This involves the incorporation of an additional centre seat. This allows the instructor to sit close to the student, especially during the first few lessons – for example, to explain how the displays on the A‑pillars work, on which the MirrorCam images can be seen. In addition, pedals are installed in the footwell in front of the centre and right‑hand seats, enabling the instructor to take corrective action. Depending on requirements, the black truck can be configured as an articulated truck or as a solo vehicle.

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“The young generation is well versed with technology and is excited to try out the assistance systems in the Actros.”

Daniel Autmaring, junior manager at Verkehrsakademie Münsterland (VAM)

“It is also important for us that a truck is used in as many as possible of the companies from which the learner drivers come. And it was clear very quickly that this would be the case with the Actros,“ says Philipp Stegemann, commercial manager at the company based in Ibbenbüren. However, large market penetration is not the only reason why VAM exclusively uses Mercedes‑Benz trucks for training. “We do this because we are fully convinced of the technology, reliability and functionality of the vehicles.” In addition to the Actros, the current training fleet also includes a previous model and an Atego.

Established in 2008, VAM is constantly growing and now has around 40 employees. The company offers training in all vehicle classes from light motorbikes to heavy trucks. “We are much more than just a driving school,” Stegemann emphasises. For example, many further training courses are also offered. The programme includes the Professional Driver Qualification Act (BKrFQG – Berufskraftfahrerqualifikationsgesetz), load securing and dangerous goods seminars, as well as training for driver trainers and transport managers.

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Stylish paintwork, strong truck: Münsterland transport academy (VAM) chose the Actros as its training vehicle at a very early stage, receiving the very first model of the truck equipped for this purpose.

1500

training participants come to the Münsterland transport academy (VAM) each year.

The approximately 1,500 people who take part in the training courses each year come from hauliers with a handful of trucks as well as from medium‑sized and large transport companies. And they don’t just come from the Münsterland area, as Philipp Stegemann explains. “We can use approved training rooms all around Germany and we even sometimes send our trainers out directly to companies.”

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Outstanding features: the instructor can take corrective action as necessary using the pedals in front of the centre and passenger seats.

The Münsterland academy sometimes has visitors from far afield – once even from Japan. The mission was to train the delegation in operating a special vehicle designed by a German company based on an Axor. The four‑axle truck with side‑loader body was to be used as part of a government project to install solar modules on mountain sides. “We first had to get to grips with it ourselves before we could instruct the Japanese delegation”, Daniel Autmaring recalls the extraordinary project.

Another type of collaboration is also quite extraordinary: “We train professional drivers, often on behalf of companies in the region that don’t have the capacity to do so themselves,” Autmaring explains. The trainees qualify for their driver’s licences under the guidance of the VAM trainers. Then it’s time to make some real deliveries, with general cargo on board, for example. Initially, a guide accompanies the young drivers in the passenger seat, while they subsequently take on their transport missions alone.

These trips are planned by cooperating companies. However, the vehicles in which the trainees take to the road belong to VAM. Accordingly, the Münsterland academy has added a small haulage company to its training and development business. The reasoning behind this is that businesses need new blood, so let’s do what we can! “We want to train professionals for the transport industry,” says junior manager Autmaring. The fleet of four trucks is made up exclusively of Mercedes‑Benz vehicles. It is only a matter of time before the first Actros with MirrorCam is in use here, too.

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The Actros.

The Actros.

Everyone talks, one delivers.

A truck ahead of its time. The Actros meets the continually growing demands in long-distance haulage and heavy-duty distribution haulage more effectively than ever.

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Photos & video: Alexander Tempel