US catching up to European electronics

Judging by information being released in the US at the Mid America Trucking Show this week, the US is turning to much more sophisticated electronics in trucks coming out in North America. Where European truck manufacturers have held a considerable lead over their US counterparts in the past, innovation introduced in Europe is being quickly followed by its introduction on the US market.

This trend is in stark contrast to the situation just a few years ago when European trucks were being sold with multiplexed electrics, CANbus systems control, intuitive automated manual transmissions, adaptive cruise control, EBS et al. At the same time North American trucks used a wiring loom, clunky AMTs and unsophisticated electronics.

Illustrating these changed times is this Cummins video. These features are being introduced onto the US market this year, barely a year after many of the features mentioned, as being included in the new Cummins system, were introduced by Volvo in its state of the art FH prime mover.

This is the way electronics appears to be going globally, with a faster take up of innovative technology leaving electronic leaders with a shorter period in which they have the exclusive use of new sophisticated systems. Ideas which were just a twinkle in the eye of some Swedish or German electronics nerd a short time ago are now being included in the package offered onto the US market, traditionally, one of the most conservative.

The drive for efficiency as well as the difficulty in finding experienced drivers in North America seems to have provoked new ideas in the trucking industry. A truck in North America often appeared to be supplied in its most basic form, with manual gearbox, drum brakes and little sophistication, not any more.

These changes should be good news for truck buyers in Australia. The next generation of trucks released here, whether they are from Europe or the US are likely to have myriad options for the buyer. You will be a able to buy a truck as basic, or as sophisticated as you choose, from most brands.