Save fuel and increase safety

New technology to get even more out of the current truck designs is being experimented with around the world, by simply enabling trucks to run closer to the truck in front, without compromising safety. Here is a simple-to-understand video giving us the basics of just how platooning works in trucks. This shows us the EcoTwin project from DAF with two trucks, wirelessly linked via WiFi, driving at a close distance with the driver in the second truck not needing to accelerate, brake or steer. Read more

Change at the top

Volvo’s Global President and CEO has been removed and replaced by the boss of its biggest rival. Volvo announced its previous CEO, Olof Persson, is stepping down to be replaced by Martin Lundstedt, who has resigned as President and CEO of Scania. However, the transition is expected to take some time, so an interim CEO, Jan Gurander, has been appointed by Volvo in the interim.

 

Martin Lundstedt, set to take over as new President and CEO of Volvo
Martin Lundstedt, set to take over as new President and CEO of Volvo

“After three years of focus on product renewal, internal efficiency and restructuring, the Volvo Group is gradually entering a new phase with an intensified focus on growth and increased profitability,” said Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chairman of the Board of AB Volvo, when making the announcement. “This will be achieved by further building on our leading brands, strong assets and engaged and skilled employees all over the world. Martin Lundstedt has 25 years of experience from development, production and sales within the commercial vehicle industry. He is also known for his winning leadership style.”
Olof Persson has been President and CEO the Volvo Group for almost four years. However, speculation in the Swedish press suggested Persson was to be replaced, a month ago. This was completely denied by Volvo at the time, with Svanberg quoted by Reuters as saying he was not engaged in an active search to find a replacement for Persson, who had led a drive to boost profitability over the past nearly four years.
“Olof Persson has with energy and determination carried out an extensive change of the Volvo Group,” said Svanberg, this week. “He has focused Volvo on commercial vehicles and sold unrelated businesses and assets to a value of over $3.6 billion. He introduced a functional organization and paved the way for cost savings of $1.8 billion. He also concluded the agreement with one of China’s largest truck manufacturers, Dongfeng, and led the company during the largest product renewal in the group’s history. Today the Volvo Group is considerably better positioned to compete for leadership in our industry.”
Martin Lundstedt has spent his entire career at Scania, joining in 1992 as a trainee after obtaining an MSc in Industrial Management and Technology. He had led projects in Brazil, managed engine and truck production and headed the franchise and factory sales group before stepping into the considerable shoes of Leif Ostling, who had been in the job for 20 years, as President and CEO at Scania.
“We respect Martin Lundstedt’s decision to leave the company and wish to thank him for his successful efforts to further develop and strengthen Scania’s strong market position during his years as President and CEO,” said Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Scania Board of Directors.

 

Per Hallberg, Acting President and CEO of Scania
Per Hallberg, Acting President and CEO of Scania

Per Hallberg, Executive Vice President, Head of Production and Logistics, has been announced as acting President and CEO, until a permanent successor to Lundstedt is found. Hallberg will keep his current management responsibilities as well.

Mid America, trucks on show

The Mid America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky took place last week and, as usual, had plenty of bling as well as new product on display. Reports from the show floor tell us there is optimism in the air among the trucking folk who attended. It would seem the industry over there is finally getting out of its post-2007 slump.

Here’s a beauty on its way to the Show and Shine at the MATS venue. It’s a 1980 Kenworth fitted with a Caterpillar 3408 V8, looking good!

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144 tonnes on 10 axles

Getting this much mass on just ten axles is quite a feat. Regulations and safety concerns, as well as infrastructure capacity usually makes operators go for more axles to spread the mass out better. This truck is also doing it with just 540 hp from the 16 litre engine, and working in snow and ice conditions, not a bad effort at all!

 

Here in Australia we like a lot more axles and a lot more power. This truck and trailer set have the second engine on the third trailer and 24 axles on the ground

 

There seems to be a much more relaxed way of thinking for these mine trucks in Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Volvo complete Chinese purchase

The Volvo Group has completed the purchase of 45 per cent of the Chinese truck manufacturer, Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles. Spending just below $1 billion, Volvo’s agreement with Dongfeng Motor Group Company sees the Swedish truck manufacturer become a 45 per cent stakeholder in the Chinese automotive company’s subsidiary, Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles (DFCV).

 

The DFCV handles production of heavy-duty and medium-duty commercial vehicles. The process leading up to this deal has been protracted as both sides had a number of conditions to be met. This is Volvo’s second attempt to get itself into the Chinese truck market and gain access to Chinese manufacturing capability. The previous deal fell through with a certain amount of acrimony several years ago.

 

“This strategic alliance is a real milestone and entails a fundamental change in the Volvo Group’s opportunities in the Chinese truck market, which is the largest in the world,” said Olof Persson, Volvo President and CEO. “At the same time, it will provide us with the opportunity to become involved in growing DFCVs international business in a manner that will benefit us and our Chinese partner.”

 

In 2013, the Chinese truck market was said to amount to 774,000 heavy-duty trucks, with a further 286,000 medium-duty trucks sold. Of this market DFCV claims, what it calls, a leading position with sales of 120,600 heavy-duty trucks and 51,000 medium-duty trucks, giving it market share of 15.6 and 17.8 per cent, respectively.

 

The structure of a joint venture company between Volvo and Dongfeng is expected to be unveiled later this month. On January 26 an inauguration ceremony has been announced to be held in Shiyan, China to mark the conclusion of the transaction. We can expect more details of the deal to become available at that point.

Work begins on new dealership

In the Adelaide suburb of Wingfield, a major new dealership is now under construction on a 4.3 hectare site which will eventually contain a 6,600 square metre covered facility. South Central Trucks’ new project will be the home for Volvo, Mack and UD Trucks in South Australia and is expected to employ over 130 staff.

South Central Trucks is part of the CMV Group. The new dealership amalgamates the existing South Central Trucks Mack and UD, and South Central Trucks Volvo dealerships, both located at Gepps Cross. Read more

Wrong way charlie

There’s always one who just doesn’t fit in, gets the wrong end of the stick. Here is one such, a truck driver in the UK gets confused by the road signs and comes down the wrong slip road. However, the driver gets the truck out of a bad situation without harming anyone or putting anyone in danger.

 

Many truckies would judge a suspended prison sentence as being more than a bit harsh for the offence. He got in the wrong spot, but sorted it out with little inconvenience to others, give him a break.

Car vs truck

Here’s the latest in the series of high production films being produced by Volvo and released on YouTube to promote its truck range. This one, released this week, sees racing driver Tiff Needell in the new FH with dual clutch AMT taking on a world beating sports car, the Koenigsegg One:1, in a two for one race round a race track.

 

Great video with plenty thrills and spills, well made and good enough to be a segment on Top Gear, but does this sell more trucks?

 

Clearly Tiff Needell had a good time. Pretty quick for an old guy.

 

Cranking the Volvo FH out to 130 km/h

360 degree vision from Volvo

Volvo Trucks claims to have developed a system which is capable of seeing a 360 degree scan of everything around it. The computerised system evaluates information from multiple sources simultaneously, and is said to function in a similar way to the human mind. Currently, the technology is in a testing phase, Volvo says it may become reality in five to ten years.

 

The technology was developed in joint project with Volvo Cars called Non-Hit Car and Truck. After evaluating what is happening it suggests actions to the driver to avoid incidents. If the driver does not respond, the steering or braking system may take over and take evasive action.

 

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“Our vision for traffic safety is to have no accidents involving Volvo trucks,” said Carl Johan Almqvist, Volvo Trucks’ Traffic and Product Safety Director. “This unique technology has taken us yet another step towards our vision and will hopefully save many lives in the future.”
The central control computer takes input from cameras, radars and other sensors positioned on all sides of the vehicle. A 360-degree scan around the truck takes place every 25 milliseconds. Data iis processed, situations are analysed and options are generated. The technology is claimed to be able to distinguish and identify different road users including pedestrians, cyclists,motorcyclists and other vehicles.

 

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“The technology can predict traffic scenarios up to five seconds ahead, depending on the speed of the objects, and map out the best plan of action,” says Mansour Keshavarz, Systems Engineer at Volvo Trucks, who has worked with the technology. “In many ways the technology serves as a co-driver, but one that can see all around the vehicle. It can also alert the driver to things that are happening so that he or she can react, for example by warning with an alarm signal or braking to avoid a collision.

 

“Trucks are a different type of vehicle and do not act the same way as cars in traffic. Each truck is loaded differently, for example, and their large size prevents them from carrying out severe avoidance manoeuvres, such as swerving quickly to avoid a collision. So it is important to research and develop technology specifically for trucks.”

 

Volvo says it has the main components in place but will have to do a lot more testing in order to develop a failsafe system.

Fuel economy matters

Is fuel economy a really big deal? Do we mean it when we say we want to reduce fuel consumption significantly? The answer is hard to work out, no-one will ever say they don’t care about fuel economy, but so much of our behaviour in trucks and the way we set them up goes against maximising km/litre. In this video Volvo go into some of the things we need to think about and the effect of behaviour changes on fuel economy. Read more