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DUBLIN, Va. — Volvo Trucks North America is introducing a steering system on its Class 8 trucks that the company said reduces steering force up to 85%, which it said can reduce driver fatigue and improve road safety.
The system, called Volvo Dynamic Steering, features an electric motor mounted atop a truck’s hydraulic steering gear. Sensors on the vehicle measure input at more than 2,000 times per second to determine steering wheel response, and continuously monitor drivers’ actions, environmental factors and road conditions to make adjustments, Volvo said.
The Volvo Dynamic Steering setup on display at the VTNA customer center in Dublin, Va. (Joe Howard/Transport Topics)
First launched by Volvo Trucks in Europe, VDS is designed to help drivers maneuver changes in terrain and road conditions, ranging from rugged conditions to tight maneuvers in urban settings, VTNA said from a Sept. 12 media event here.
The Lead/Pull Compensation feature included with Volvo Dynamic Steering provides a torque offset within the steering system to compensate for crowned roads, steady crosswinds and other short-term conditions that can affect handling. (Volvo Trucks North America)
The electric motor can provide up to 9 pound-feet of additional torque to the steering column when needed to help drivers react to sudden changes, such as potholes and tire deflations, Volvo said.
Other VDS features include a return-to-center function that enables the steering wheel to return to the center position when the vehicle is in motion, which can help drivers maneuver in reverse or in tight areas. A “lead/pull compensation” function provides a torque offset within the steering system to compensate for crowned roads, crosswinds and other short-term conditions that can affect handling. Plus, the dampening setup filters input from the road surface and the system’s sensors to help improve handling and vehicle stability, Volvo said.
VDS will be available as an option in the Volvo VNL and VNR models in early 2020.
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“Drivers are the trucking industry’s biggest assets, and opportunities to increase driver recruitment and retention are top-of-mind for our customers,” said Chris Stadler, VTNA product marketing manager, in a news release. “Providing state-of-the-art features that improve drivers’ physical working conditions and comfort is an important aspect of driver satisfaction, as well as increasing overall productivity and road safety.”
Volvo Trucks’ new D13TC offers three individual drive modes, Dynamic Torque, an additional 405 horsepower rating, and the next evolution of the Volvo Trucks’ patented wave piston design. (Volvo Trucks North America)