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Mats: Kenworth’s concept of future bulk hauling

For the fourth consecutive year Kenworth came to the Mid-America Trucking Show with its view of the future. Its latest high-tech concept vehicle focuses on security, safety and productivity."In today'...

For the fourth consecutive year Kenworth came to the Mid-America Trucking Show with its view of the future. Its latest high-tech concept vehicle focuses on security, safety and productivity.

“In today’s world, it’s even more imperative for truck manufacturers to push the envelope by providing truck fleets with effective security and safety technology,” says Ed Caudill, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice-president.

“This new Kenworth T800 High-Tech Truck is really a technological marvel,” Caudill brags. “It features technologies that could be part of a secret agent’s repertoire – biometric authentication, GPS-based telematics tracking systems, Surround Electronic Vision System, Kenworth Night Vision, and high-intensity discharge headlamps.”

Kenworth teamed with Heil Trailer International to produce a T800 High-Tech Truck specifically designed for bulk haulers, which typically transport cargo such as fuel and hazardous materials. Tractor and trailer systems are integrated so that they can electronically “communicate” with each other.

A key feature is a biometric authentication system, which checks a driver’s authorization to operate a specific truck within a fleet. When the driver’s fingerprint is identified by the truck’s computer it allows the driver to turn the engine on and operate the truck at normal traffic speeds. If the fingerprint doesn’t match, the vehicle can still be started but at much restricted horsepower, limiting operation to well below normal speeds. The fleet dispatcher also receives an alert message via wireless communication that an unauthorized user is involved.

Meanwhile, Kenworth’s GPS-based telematics tracking system allows fleet dispatchers to track the movement of the truck throughout North America. The dispatcher receives information on the driver’s identity, adherence to a predetermined and authorized route, vehicle weight, and other data.

“If a truck is stolen or hijacked, the system allows the truck to be tracked and the driver and cargo found quickly by the authorities,” Bechtold says.

“Even if the driver is forced to give a fingerprint, the dispatcher can still disable the truck remotely by using wireless technology.”

The Kenworth Surround Electronic Vision System provides nearly 360-degrees of coverage around the tractor and trailer to enhance safety while driving and security while parked. The driver views a flat-panel display screen in the cab mounted near the rearview mirror.

The concept tractor-trailer includes three cameras on the trailer, one rear-view and two side-view. A curbside-view camera for enhanced blind-spot reduction is outside on the cab’s passenger side. The forward-looking Kenworth Night Vision, the fifth camera, can see 1,500 feet ahead, or about five times normal headlights.

To help make the trip more productive, the Kenworth Vehicle Information Center (VIC) provides the drivers with information on fuel economy, loads, service and maintenance. The driver can also check the truck’s current status through electronic tire pressure, electronic brake monitoring, and Air-Weigh’s on-board electronic scale system. All these systems are integrated between the Kenworth T800 and the Heil advanced concept trailer. VIC also offers two-way email messaging over a wireless connection.

“Bulk haulers are concerned about weight, so we’ve incorporated many lightweight features to help them maximize their payload,” Bechtold says. “As a result, the truck only weighs 13,900 pounds.”

To address weight concerns, Kenworth incorporated several lightweight features. It turned to Bridgestone’s GREATEC wide-based single drive tires and Alcoa aluminum wheels on both the tractor and trailer, reducing overall weight by nearly 600 pounds. Other lightweight components include the new Kenworth AG380, ZF Meritor FreedomLine automated transmission, and composite leaf springs.

The brake system features Dana Spicer 16.5 x 5 front drum brakes. To assist the driver with pre-trip inspections, the MGM e-Stroke brake monitoring system is integrated into the Kenworth Vehicle Information Center for real-time diagnostics.

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