Eaton has developed two new features for its UltraShift Plus automated manual transmissions, which offer better control in low-speed scenarios.
Urge to move brings a passenger car-type feel to the truck by creeping forward when the brake pedal is released. I had the chance to play with this feature at Eaton’s Marshall, Mich. proving grounds last week and found many practical applications for it.
Urge to move can be useful when stuck in traffic. Give your leg a rest and just creep forward, increasing or decreasing speed with the upshift button on the shifter. It also assists with coupling, providing a more controlled backing speed while in reverse.
Blended pedal gives drivers the ability to manipulate the clutch – ideal for mixer applications.
Urge to move is also exceptional on the hills. I backed up a 15% grade using the feature and down that same grade in complete control without touching the accelerator or brake pedals. And that was with a heavy-hauler loaded to about 125,000 lbs!
Not everyone will like it, but since urge to move comes in the form of a software update via ServiceRanger 4, it can be added at no cost and removed if drivers don’t like it.
The same goes with blended pedal, which allows the driver to manipulate the clutch by feathering the accelerator. It allows for the more precise positioning of the truck, great for pouring cement in mixer applications or backing into position. It gives back to the driver some of the control that is lost when moving from a three-pedal manual to a two-pedal automated transmission.
Both these features are backwards compatible on existing UltraShift Plus transmissions. If you don’t have access to the ServiceRanger 4 tool, there may be a labour charge involved in downloading the updates.
But the beauty is, you don’t need to buy a new transmission to get them. And you can upload them on a driver-by-driver, truck-by-truck basis, to keep everyone happy. It’s not a wholesale change you must make across your entire fleet. You can read more about these systems here.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies