Top 10 of 17 — Over the Air engine programming

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My first choice for the year comes in the form of technology that supports streaming data – specifically in the way engine software can now be updated without physically connecting a service tool or laptop.

OK, it’s not a single new product, per se. (Is that cheating?) International, Detroit, Mack, Volvo, and Cummins are all rolling out the capabilities in some form or other. But they will all make a difference.

Volvo Trucks North America estimates that three out of four new trucks on the road are missing the latest software updates, which can be issued two to four times a year. The updates, however, tackle pesky fault codes, improve performance, and more.

It’s easy to understand why vehicle owners have put off such updates in the past, though. They can involve about two days in a service bay. Now there’s no need to wait.

Other Top 10 picks for the year include:

Paccar’s 12-speed automated transmission 

Accuride ROLLiant Hub System 

SAF-Holland’s lighter AeroBeam suspension

Truck-Lite’s smart trailer system 

Meritor’s high-efficiency linehaul tandem drive axle

Thermo King power management tools

Bendix’s greener air dryer cartridge

PeopleNet’s wireless backup camera

FlowBelow’s removeable fairing

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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking,, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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