LAS VEGAS. Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) is now offering a factory-installed collision mitigation technology package as an option on its VNL and VNM tractor models called Volvo Active Driver Assist, which is actually the Bendix Wingman Fusion system.
Göran Nyberg, VTNA’s president, noted during a press event here at the American Trucking Associations (ATA) annual conference that Volvo Active Driver Assist will be directly integrated into Volvo’s Driver Information Display, so no additional display units or prep kits will be required.
The active driver assist system combines as front bumper-mounted radar sensor and a windshield-mounted camera to offer a wider object detection range than either technology on its own, noted Wade Long, VTNA’s director of product marketing.
He added that by having a camera system integrated into vehicle, VTNA can also offer an integrated lane departure warning system (LDWS) with “data capture” capability.
Nyberg also provided some projections for the freight market and U.S. economy during his remarks, noting that “2016 is a year of uncertainty” with the “excessive” inventory-to-sales ratio dampening freight demand.
“When that oversupply of inventory ‘washes out’ we will see freight come back,” he said. “It is not the first or last time we will see such [inventory] swings.”
Nyberg projected that North American Class 8 sales will total 240,000 units overall for 2016, yet with changes to the sales trends within particular truck segments.
For example, he noted that long-haul units declined to 43% of the U.S. Class 8 truck market this year from about 50% back in 2015. “Long haul is down due to low freight demand,” Nyberg said.
Yet the “regionalization” of freight is driving up demand for tractors spec’d for regional operations to about 35% of the market, he emphasized.
Nyberg added that VTNA anticipates continued growth for the construction market and noted that “cheap diesel” is delaying growth for natural gas-powered trucks, which make up 2% of the market today. Yet he stressed that the U.S. Department of Energy is now predicting 2.2% growth in diesel fuel prices per year through 2040 so that may change the calculus for natural gas.
VTNA made several other announcements during its press event at the ATA’s annual conference, including:
- With $20 million in federal funding from the DOE’s SuperTruck II program – matched dollar-for-dollar by Volvo and its project partners – the OEM plans to develop an advanced heavy-duty tractor-trailer concept delivering increased freight-hauling efficiency and lower carbon emissions.
- VTNA plans to use alternative engine designs and an integrated system approach to build a lightweight tractor-trailer that exceeds the freight efficiency goal of 100% improvement on a ton-mile-per-gallon basis compared with a 2009 baseline. The team also will demonstrate a powertrain capable of 55% brake thermal efficiency.
- VTNA has also entered into a “memorandum of understanding” or “MOU with global telematics provider Geotab to broaden the “connectivity options” for Volvo customers, though specifics about new service offerings will be announced at a later date.