Volvo Trucks expands over-the-air offerings

by John G. Smith

ATLANTA, Ga. – Volvo has taken the next step in its over-the-air programming capabilities, unveiling the new Parameter Plus subscription package that allows up to 50 parameter updates per year.

“It really brings a lot of value,” says Ashraf Makki, product marketing manager at Volvo Trucks North America. “We can literally control 130-plus parameters over the air.”

Software updates for engines and transmissions can be completed in less than 20 minutes, and the parameter changes can be set in less than 10 minutes wherever a cellular connection is available. Both are a fraction of the 2.3 days of downtime traditionally associated with such work completed in a shop.

Parameter changes could include things like a truck’s top road speed, which might need to be lowered to enhance fuel economy against a backdrop of higher diesel prices. Other changes to an engine or transmission could support a new lane that includes different topographies, or a switch from dry bulk to liquid tankers.

Volvo’s I-Shift automated manual transmission, for example, includes a setting for gentle shifts that could help absorb the sloshing contents in a tanker, Makki says. Other fleet managers might want to meet Ontario’s 105 km/h speed limiter requirements while in that province, but choose higher top speeds when traveling routes in the U.S.

Last year, when over-the-air updates were first introduced, nearly 1,300 trucks received such software and parameter updates. Today, nearly 16,000 trucks receive them.

“A lot of non-severe fault codes, they could be resolved over the air,” Makki adds, referring to other support. Changing the frequency of DPF regens is one example of that.

“This is really connecting the remote programming to remote diagnostics,” he says of the over-the-air programming in general.

Volvo trucks can receive up to two parameter updates per year at no charge.

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