The New I-See Predictive Cruise Control from Volvo Trucks

Volvo Group acquired Mack back in 2000, and since then they have had a significant share of the 18-wheeler market. Volvo Trucks is working to bring new innovations and technology to the trucking market to improve safety and performance. Available this year is the new I-See Predictive Cruise Control. The developer of I-See, Anders Eriksson explains that using this technology, "The truck knows the gradients of the road ahead, so it tells the engine and the I-Shift transmission how to maximize the truck’s kinetic energy, save fuel and reduce CO2."

I-See is designed to strategically use the truck's kinetic energy; the predictive cruise control helps drivers obtain better fuel consumption and performance. Volvo's director of product marketing Wade Long says that I-See works with the truck's GPS unit to map up to 4,500 routes. As the truck approaches a hill, I-See downloads information about the road topography from a shared database. I-See takes specific measurements of every hill, and the next time that hill is encountered it will instruct the truck to accelerate and gain momentum. It will also assist in coasting, called Eco Rolling, and engine breaking after the hillcrest. Once the route is mapped I-See will work even when GPS is not available. When used with the truck's regular cruise control, I-See can increase fuel economy by 5%. It works best when coupled with Volvo's improved automated manual I-Shift transmission, which is now used in 83% of the trucks sold.

I-See uses GPRS/3G technology to download data about the hills on your route. If you approach a hill that is not already in the database, or in I-See's working memory, information about the hill will be recorded and then the data will be uploaded and made available to other I-See users. This collective knowledge makes it possible to maximize fuel savings even on a new run.

Volvo is also working on other improvements including Eco-Roll, which disengages the driveline just before the start of the downhill gradient to let the truck roll for the optimum period to save energy. According to Allison Athey, Volvo product marketing manager – transmissions, "Volvo Eco-Roll and the intelligent Volvo Engine Brake (VEB) work seamlessly together to minimize the need for braking, reducing driver fatigue and brake wear. The driver is more productive, and the vehicle is more efficient." Volvo is also utilizing down speeding, which uses gearing to take advantage of peak torque at lower RPM resulting in better fuel consumption. Another example is the implementation of turbo compounding, which adds 50 horsepower by recapturing waste heat. Compared to other versions of Volvo’s D13 engine, it can save 6.5 percent on fuel consumption.

All of Volvo's new innovations in trucking technology are designed to increase efficiency and safety while increasing usability and helping the driver be more productive. These improvements are tangible for the driver and will create a better driving experience.

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