Category: Volvo

Reference Library – Tractor Units – Volvo

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Introducing Volvo’s New VNR Regional Haul

MONTREAL, Que. — Volvo’s new VNR regional haul truck made a flashy debut at ExpoCam this week, in front hundreds of customers, dealers, and industry press. The truck, which will replace the VNM, features a more modern interior and aerodynamic design.

It will be about 3.5% more fuel-efficient than a VNM with GHG14 engine, according to Wade Long, product marketing manager, Volvo Trucks North America.

Brian Balicki, chief designer, said Volvo looked to motorsports for inspiration, and set out to design a truck that embodied the terms: bold, edgy, innovative, modern, and human.

Volvo VNR 400

“We really translated these statements into the product,” Balicki said at the ExpoCam launch. “We wanted to make sure this was an iconic design, that many years down the road this will still feel very modern and people will know from very far away that this is a Volvo truck.”

The exterior features a redesigned hood that provides better visibility of the road. It’s also 70 lbs lighter. A new honeycomb-style grille gives the truck an updated appearance. Headlights are mounted in from the edge of the fenders to prevent damage. The three-piece bumper has two replaceable end caps that can be swapped out when broken.

The interior of the truck is more homey, with an automotive-inspired design and many new amenities for the driver. For example, a refrigerated passenger seat, where a driver can store beverages within reach. Balicki said Volvo looked to the airline industry for inspiration when designing the interior, specifically at how first class cabins are designed.

“With the new VNR, we brought aesthetics – it’s pleasing to the eye – and we brought aerodynamics to a segment that has not historically had that brought to them,” said Long.

The new grille was designed to optimize air flow, and comes with a chrome bezel grille surround. Options include rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic headlights. More than 2,000 drivers were interviewed during the design process, Long said.

“Regional drivers had different needs,” he said. “There are more requirements for ingress and egress, they’re in and out of the cab frequently. We wanted to make sure our VNR was designed around that.”
Three interior levels are offered. The cab features a new modular rail system with cupholders that can be placed exactly where the driver wants them. And there is no shortage of power options; there are multiple USB and 12-volt power outlets in the front and up to 12 in the sleeper.

The VNR driver environment.

Long said the steering wheel has been redesigned and can now be rotated 32 degrees, with a 4.5-inch telescoping range. There’s also a 30-degree head tilt feature. Long said this was done to make comfortable a wider variety of drivers.

“The stature of the driver pool is changing,” he said. “We can accommodate the shortest to tallest driver.”

Up to 19 buttons can be placed on the steering wheel for easy access to controls. A new five-inch color driver display lets drivers know at a glance if something requires their attention. The driver display can be controlled using the buttons on the steering wheel.

Interior lighting also received a lot of attention. Cool blue lighting is provided throughout the cab, because research indicates that color makes drivers feel better rested at the end of a driving shift. Red reading lights are available and a new “puddle lamp” shines from the bottom of the door onto the steps and ground when the door is open. Deeper door pockets are provided for increased storage.

Long said the seats have also been redesigned, providing two inches of additional travel and improved positioning, including a lower hip point for shorter drivers. There are seven seats available, in all interior packages.

“Customers found drivers want the same seat in every cab they have,” he said. “Now they can have the same seat in all their cabs, you don’t have to worry about having different (seat) features in different levels of interior.”

Cooled seats are also offered.

Volvo achieved a 113-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) measurement, while adding four more inches of corner visibility, due to the new hood. The 3.5% fuel efficiency improvement is due in part to the more aerodynamic design, but also enhancements to Volvo’s D-series engines. Long said the D11, which is now available with up to 425 hp, will be a popular option in the new VNR. It provides customers with about 365 lbs in weight savings compared to a 13-liter. Design improvements have taken about 175 lbs out of the truck. The VNR shown at ExpoCam weighed in at 14,500 lbs, dry.

Models include the 300 (day cab, flat roof), 400 (42-inch mid-roof sleeper), and 640 (61-inch mid-roof sleeper).

The regional haul truck market is growing, as fleets shorten average haul lengths and attempt to get drivers home more regularly. Last year, regional haul trucks represented 21% of the Canadian Class 8 truck market.

The new truck will enter production in August, but orders are being taken immediately. The tagline for the VNR was “the shape of trucks to come,” suggesting, just perhaps, that a new linehaul tractor is in the works. But Volvo officials were unwilling to share any details about other models that may, or may not be, in development.

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What it feels like to sit behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber

About 20 minutes into my ride in a self-driving Uber, I got a nonchalant offer: Did I want to sit behind the wheel? I’d already seen our Ford Fusion get cut off. And then there was the flatbed that veered into our lane, forcing my cautious test driver to take control and steer us to safety. We’d navigated around impatient pedestrians, cyclists and unmarked railroad crossings on Pittsburgh’s narrow, well-worn roads. The conditions felt a lot tougher than my first trip in a fully self-driving car, about a year ago at Google’s headquarters. “Oh sure, I’ll go for it,” I said, feeling a mix of excitement and anxiety. I knew my editor wouldn’t be happy if I said no. So in a gravel lot a stone’s throw from the Allegheny River, I left the safety of the Fusion’s backseat and climbed behind the wheel. The two Uber employees I was riding with provided a crash course in how not to, well, crash. If things got hairy, I could hit the brake or a giant red button on the center console to regain control of the Fusion. Starting Wednesday, Uber will be offering Pittsburgh customers the option of riding in about a dozen these cars. Passengers will sit in the back while two Uber employees in the front seats monitor the car’s performance. Uber isn’t saying when it will expand self-driving tests to other cities, or when the cars will operate without test drivers. Related: Is Uber’s self-driving car a job killer? [1] If self-driving cars work, the impact on society could be huge. Roads may become safer and transportation could be cheaper and more accessible — but many drivers may lose their jobs. For this revolution to happen, people will have to be willing to literally go along for the ride. Research has shown that most U.S. residents aren’t ready to trust self-driving cars yet. The Pittsburgh trials are a way for Uber to see how customers react to the cars, and what makes them uncomfortable. For me, there’s nothing alarming about riding in a self-driving car. But I started worrying once I was behind the wheel. “Just don’t crash this car,” I thought as I adjusted the mirrors. The Fusion was decked out with a small fortune of computing gear — 20 cameras, seven lasers and 360-degree radar coverage. It has more computing power on board than you’ll find in a typical small business, one Uber engineer told me. Repairs would be especially expensive. On River Avenue, I hit a chrome button on the center console and the car was suddenly driving itself. We plodded along at 25 mph, vigilantly honoring the speed limit. I held my hands gently on the wheel, and could feel it shifting back and forth ever so slightly to remain in the middle of our lane. As we approached a red light, the car eased to a stop behind a Kia. So far, so good. The turn signal flicked on, and we soon turned right onto the 31st Street Bridge. The car corners at a consistent angle, making turns that are slower and wider than the typical driver. At another intersection, a truck blared its horn as we turned, apparently frustrated with the car’s scrupulous style. Related: Uber will soon offer rides in self-driving Volvos, Fords [2] The car’s first real test with me at the helm came a few minutes later on Penn Ave. The car put on its right blinker and slowed for a turn. But a cyclist was overtaking us on our right. I’d driven the old fashioned way, all the way from Washington, D.C., for a moment just like this. Could the car handle a tricky situation? The cyclist kept pedaling, pulling a half-car length ahead of us at the intersection. The car appeared to have aced the test as we started another methodical, gentle turn. But a chime sounded, indicating that the car wanted me to take over. I guided the car through the rest of the turn. It was more than the car was programmed to handle on its own. A few blocks later, the car was back in autonomous mode and hugging the right side of the lane, just a couple feet from a row of parked cars. I resisted the urge to jerk the wheel to the left. We passed the parked cars without incident and came up to a truck parked in the middle of our lane, facing the wrong direction. I tapped the brake, and piloted the car around the truck, following the advice of the safety drivers. They felt the car could handle the challenge, but wanted to err on the safe side with a newbie behind the wheel. I spent almost an hour in the Ford Fusion, and six minutes behind the wheel. Between the test drivers and myself, we intervened five times. The drivers are taught to be especially cautious and will intervene even if the car doesn’t request it. Passengers in the backseat of Uber’s self-driving cars have a tablet to communicate with the vehicle. If Uber’s cars are ever good enough to drive around Pittsburgh without a test driver behind the wheel, Uber’s business will rapidly transform. Customers could book less expensive rides because there’s no need to pay a human driver. Uber believes self-driving cars will hasten a shift to a world where no one needs to own a car. Uber is testing in Pittsburgh because it hired a group of robotics experts from nearby Carnegie Mellon University. The city’s nature also provides a range of useful challenges. Aaron Steinfeld, an associate research professor working on autonomous vehicles at Carnegie Mellon, believes there is no better city to do autonomous vehicle research. “We have everything going on here,” Steinfeld said. “We have weather, we have hills, we have bridges, we have tunnels, we have all kinds of drivers. We’re in the sweet spot of East Coast and Midwest drivers so you see all sorts of behavior.” CNNMoney (Washington) First published September 14, 2016: 6:29 AM ET References ^ Related: Is Uber’s self-driving car a job killer? (money.cnn.com) ^ Related: Uber will soon offer rides in self-driving Volvos, Fords (money.cnn.com)

Czech driver tops Volvo fuel challenge 0

Czech driver tops Volvo fuel challenge

Date: 13.09.2016 The 2016 winner bested the global field in a slightly revamped competition The winner: Tom Hor i ka. The Volvo Trucks Drivers Fuel Challenge 2016 has been run and won with Tom Hor i ka from the Czech Republic taking the crown as the most efficient driver. Besting 12,000 global applicants and the finals other 27 competitors, Hor i ka used only 2.90 litres of fuel to complete the challenge in just 10 minutes and 40 seconds. “Winning The Drivers Fuel Challenge means the world to me,” the 34-year-old driver says. “And since I am both a truck driver and a company owner, I know how important fuel-efficient driving really is.” Testing drivers on their ability to travel efficiently, Volvo Trucks challenge required them to traverse a 6.9km test track in Gothenburg, Sweden, in less than 12 minutes and 30 seconds and save as much fuel as possible.

The drivers were judged on the fuel used and were awarded bonus points for finishing the course inside the allotted time. Volvo Trucks product manager in charge of the challenge Lene Larson says the test highlights the skills required by today s drivers. “Through the Drivers Fuel Challenge we want to show the difference a good driver makes,” Larson says. “A fuel-efficient driver can make a substantial difference and save as much as 10 per cent in fuel costs. “In the long run, that means huge cost savings for transport companies. “And I am truly impressed by how well the drivers utilised the potential and techniques of the trucks.” This year s event added the bonus point twist, making driver s juggle speed versus fuel. Volvo Trucks senior vice president of product and vehicle sales Ricard Fritz says it was in an effort to further match real-world requirements. “Meeting delivery deadlines is critical for today s transport companies,” Fritz says. “By including time constraints, the skills to prove in the Drivers Fuel Challenge are even more practical and relevant to the driver s day-to-day work. “To win, the driver needs to drive in an exceptionally well-planned, forward-looking and fuel-efficient way.” Rounding out the challenge s top four was Stanislav Martynov from Russia, Emir Salihovi from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kjetil Dale from Norway.

On top of being crowned Volvo Trucks most fuel efficient driver, Hor i ka won a trip to the Formula 1 race of his choice.

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