Dana’s Dual Range Disconnect
First revealed at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, Dana's Dual Range Disconnect drive axle system offers the fuel savings benefit of a downsped 6x2 drivetrain and the performance benefits of conventional 6x4 setup with a mid-range axle ratio. The key word here is disconnect. While running at speeds up to about 54 mph, the system functions as a 6x4 with torque going to all four wheels for optimum traction. It also runs at a 3.10:1 ratio for better performance and startability. Above 54 mph, the interaxle driveshaft disengages, leaving the driving to only the forward drive axle. Interestingly, the axle ratio of the forward axle is 2.26:1, which lowers engine rpm and in effect creates a downsped drive train. The benefit, of course, is better fuel economy resulting from a 300-400 rpm drop in engine speed.
Volvo’s Adaptive Gearing
Volvo Trucks has put a new spin on an old powertrain management strategy; by locking out top gear on its I-Shift overdrive transmission, drivers can pull loads efficiently in 11th gear (direct drive) and still get the performance they want. When running empty, sensors in the transmission and the suspension sense the lower weight and unlock 12th gear, which is overdrive. The truck can cruise home in at a very low engine speed at a higher road speed. This video explains how Adaptive Gearing works and features more excerpts from an interview with Gene Brice, co-owner of Idaho Milk Transport. Adaptive Gearing is ideally suited to tank fleets that run about half their miles empty, and when you hear Brice's fuel economy with this system, you'll be asking if it can work for you too. And don't forget to check out our Focus On report on Volvo's Adaptive Loading system to see what it has to offer.
Peterbilt’s ‘Cruise Control of the Future’
DALLAS, TX -- Peterbilt showed off its take on autonomous vehicle technologies to reporters Friday during a Technology Showcase at the Texas Motor Speedway. Bill Kahn, manager of advanced concepts at Peterbilt, doesn't really like to call the two demonstration vehicles "autonomous," although they would qualify as a Level 3 autonomous vehicle under U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration classifications. He characterizes the technology more as the "cruise control of the future" and a "stepping stone to autonomous vehicles." Peterbilt engineers have dubbed it "advanced driver assist systems." A bumper-mounted radar system, on one of the trucks, and a lidar camera on the other, are used to determine the distance from the truck to the vehicle or obstacle ahead of it. The lidar has the added advantage of not only being able to determine an obstacle ahead, but also a wider field of "view" and the ability to provide some data on the size and shape of whatever's there.