MATS Report: Freightliner announces upgrades, including predictive cruise system for improved fuel mileage

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Freightliner showcased a new predictive cruise system at the Mid-America Trucking Show that uses GPS to evaluate the upcoming road profile more than a mile in advance and then determines the most fuel-efficient speed for the truck.


RunSmart Predictive Cruise is now available on the 72-inch raised roof Freightliner Cascadia with Detroit Diesel DD15 engine. Freightliner says the system, developed with NAVTEQ, will improve fuel mileage in areas with rolling hills.


The RunSmart Predictive Cruise system uses GPS technology as well as 3D digital mapping to interpret the geography that lays up to one mile ahead of the truck. It then adjusts the actual speed of the truck for maximum fuel economy, as dictated by the terrain. All the while, the system will remain within 6% of the set cruise speed, Freightliner officials announced.


Currently, 200,000 miles of roadway are covered by the system within the continental US.


“This is part of our long term vision to improve truck efficiency using GPS and 3D digital map technology,” said Derek Rotz, manager of advanced engineering for Daimler Trucks North America. “RunSmart Predictive Cruise shows what can be achieved through dedication and collaboration to break new ground. We’re proud to be first in this industry to bring predictive technologies to the market.”


Freightliner also announced the availability of the Thermo King TriPac APU as a factory-installed option on the Cascadia, Century Class S/T, Columbia and Coronado models with the Detroit Diesel Series 60 or DD15 engines.


“Today’s economic climate has customers seeking more ways to save money, and the Thermo King TriPac APU is a proven solution,” said Melissa Clausen, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks. “Owner/operators and fleets could see a significant savings on total operating costs.”


Also at Mid-America, Freightliner introduced a new battery-powered cab comfort system for its Cascadia. The ParkSmart HVAC system is fully-integrated into the truck’s sleeper and eliminates the need for an APU, according to the company.


While rolling down the road, ParkSmart uses electrical current generated by the alternator to run the air-conditioner and coolant from the engine to run the heater. When the truck is no longer running, the cooling system uses an electrically-driven A/C compressor that runs on four additional batteries located between the frame rails behind the sleeper, according to the company. This can maintain cab cooling for 8-10 hours, officials said.


Heating is accomplished through the use of a diesel-fired coolant heater that circulates coolant through the auxiliary heater core and engine, while also offering a block heater.


“Driver comfort is very important to all of our customers, so we seek solutions that will enhance the cab environment,” said Freightliner’s Clausen. “ParkSmart’s low-maintenance and long-lasting cooling and heating capabilities make it an economical option that allows drivers to focus on what’s really important: the road and rest.”


Finally, Freightliner announced availability of the Lectronix T7000 Infotainment System as a pre-wire option on the Cascadia. The system combines truck navigation capabilities with voice, video and entertainment features into one system.


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