Volvo Makes VEST Standard on Vocational Trucks

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Volvo VHD vocational truck now has Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST) as standard equipment on all concrete mixers. The technology is already standard across Volvo’s entire range of highway tractors in North America.

Volvo made the announcement during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. on March 23 along with updates on other company product developments.

VEST is a full electronic stability program, engineered to bring a higher level of protection from truck rollover and jackknife, using a standard pneumatic foundation brake system. The Volvo VHD also has a standard antilock brake system (ABS), as well as ABS-based traction control.

“Vocational trucks like the Volvo VHD are particularly well-suited for this technology, since they can have a high center of gravity and dynamic loads,” said Scott Kress, senior vice-president of sales and marketing. “By providing additional control in adverse situations, VEST enhances a driver’s ability to avoid accidents -which the US government estimates cost from $245,000 to $3.4 million per incident.”

In addition to mixers, this advanced vehicle stability and anti-rollover protection is being implemented on other VHD models as each configuration and application is validated by Volvo’s engineering department.

VEST uses a steering angle sensor, a lateral acceleration sensor, and pressure sensors in the rear suspension air bags to determine driver input and vehicle response in rapidly changing situations.

A modified ABS electronic control unit uses an advanced software algorithm to determine from sensors and other inputs when the vehicle is approaching a critical safety threshold.

As the truck approaches critical safety limits, VEST begins to reduce engine power while immediately applying braking pressure as needed to individual wheel ends. This reduces speed and avoids the imminent risk of rollover or jackknife.

The VHD is a flexible truck platform frequently customized for specific applications, with a wide variety of work bodies installed by aftermarket suppliers. Each application is individually validated, since the vehicle design, work bodies and other equipment, plus cargo, all affectt important vehicle dynamics.

Another standard feature on new trucks from Volvo is Volvo Link Sentry, which provides fleet management capabilities. The system increases security and support for drivers on the road, while at the same time protecting fleets’ bottom lines, noted the company.

Volvo Link Sentry is an on-board vehicle monitoring and communications system, which tracks and communicates key productivity and performance information each week for individual trucks, including fuel used, distance travelled and miles per gallon. A new feature of Sentry also provides a look at individual driving behaviour and performance that affects safety.

Sentry automatically sends weekly reports to fleet managers, which show actions with safety implications during the preceding week for individual trucks including interventions by VEST, antilock brake activations, traction control assistance events and wheel spinouts.

This feature goes into production in June 2007, while trucks built prior to June will receive this software update to their Sentry at no charge.

Sentry also works as a 24-hour roadside assistance program for drivers. Sentry monitors the truck’s systems and tracks any vehicle diagnostic codes. The data is automatically sent via satellite to technical experts at Volvo Action Service.

“The security and support offered to drivers and fleets from Volvo Link Sentry and Volvo Action Service are so great that we made both services standard for Volvo trucks,” added Kress. “This combination has proven itself to be an incredible benefit for customers since August 2005, when we first made it standard on our flagship Volvo VT 880.”

Volvo’s I-Shift transmission system has been well-received in Europe and now the system will be implemented in the US. The I-Shift was introduced in September 2006 and eight out of 10 Volvos in Europe are now ordered with the new technology. The first I-Shift was installed at the New River Valley plant in Dublin, Va. during the last week of March, which became the 100,000th I-Shift to be installed in a Volvo truck.

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