Leave it to Volvo Trucks to come up with a unique and startling way to illustrate the powertrain possibilities of automated manual transmissions (AMTs) – specifically in terms of helping a fully-loaded tractor-trailer maintain speed while saving fuel.
The truck used in this “Live Test” is a Volvo FH 540 tractor powered by what the OEM calls an “updated” D13 engine mated to its new I-Shift Dual Clutch gearbox.
"Meeting deadlines and keeping fuel consumption low, even when driving uphill and on winding roads, are key elements to success for many of our customers,” noted Claes Nilsson, president of Volvo Trucks, in a statement.
“This test is the perfect way to challenge our recently updated powertrain,” he added. “‘The Flying Passenger' illustrates in a very concrete and visual way what performance and driveability is all about."
Filmed in a closed-off area in the Dinaric Alps mountain range in Croatia, the truck’s driver – 12-year trucking veteran Louise Marriott – had to maintain a set speed in order to keep the paraglider, Guillaume Galvani, being towed behind her rig airborne.
Now, of course, the Volvo FH is a cabover tractor design, one we won’t see in the U.S. market. But that’s not to say it can’t handle some pretty tough trucking work, as the video below illustrates.
As well all know, there’s nothing like an “extreme” setting to show off the “outer-edge” capabilities of motorized vehicles – be they trucks or cars.
Then there’s Mike Ryan, one of the most well-known truck stunt drivers in the business. He put together two “drifting” video shoots a couple of years ago similar in style to what Ken Block does with his souped-up Ford racing cars – only Ryan used a much bigger vehicle, a modified Freightliner truck, in his stunt show:
Here’s a “behind the scenes” look at how Ryan put all of that together:
It takes a lot of work to do all of this, obviously, and doesn’t exactly match up to the realities of trucking – but the end results sure are fun to watch!