Tracing Our Steps to a Transformed Trucking Experience

The human life stands upon many critical foundations, but none of those foundations have proven to be as integral for us as the one holding our growth-oriented tendencies. This commitment towards getting better, no matter the situation, has brought the world some huge milestones, with technology emerging as quite a major member of the stated group. The reason why we hold technology in such an esteemed regard is, by and large, predicated upon its skill-set, which ushered us towards a reality that nobody could have ever imagined otherwise. Nevertheless, if we look beyond the surface for one hot second, it will become abundantly clear how the whole runner was also very much inspired from the way we applied those skills across a real world. The latter component, in fact, did a lot to give the creation a spectrum-wide presence, and as a result, initiated a full-blown tech revolution. Of course, the next thing this revolution did was to scale up the human experience through some outright unique avenues, but even after achieving a feat so notable, technology will somehow continue to bring forth the right goods. The same has turned more and more evident in recent times, and assuming one new automotive-themed development ends up with the desired impact, it will only put that trend on a higher pedestal moving forward.

Volvo Trucks North America has officially announced the launch of a new and reimagined Volvo VNL for heavy-duty trucking operations. Designed to meet the challenges and demands of the North American market, the stated truck comes especially equipped with the means to support safety and sustainability. Talk about the product on a slightly granular level, though, we must begin from how it creates an aerodynamic advantage through its wedge-shaped cab design, curved and bonded windshield, tighter clearances around turbulent air areas like wheel openings, the bumper, and the hood, while simultaneously bringing a tighter trailer gap. Apart from that, the truck is also powered by the latest generation D13 engine, which in turn, is available in four horsepower ratings, ranging from 405 to 500 hp, and three torque ratings ranging from 1,750 to 1,950 lb,-ft. of torque. The intention behind these different power options is geared towards fulfilling a versatile set of applications. We referred to how the vehicle has an explicit interest in safety; the same is evident in its line-up of active safety systems that pack together solutions like Volvo Active Driver Assist Plus with Pilot Assist. Having something like Volvo Active Driver Assist Plus in the mix makes for a significant detail, considering it is supported using Volvo Dynamic Steering, a technology well-equipped to maneuver at all speeds, including more controlled backing, stability at all road speeds, along with adaptability and correction for crosswinds, highway crowning, soft shoulders or emergency situations like tire failure. There is also a brand-new pedestrian detection feature which bears the responsibility to alert the driver whenever a pedestrian or bicyclist may be in their path or blind spots. Once it has done that, the feature can then further activate frontal automatic emergency braking for objects directly in the path of travel.  Other than that, the new truck also has some passive safety systems that cover the bonded and wrapped windshield providing panoramic views. Such a feature can play a hugely critical role in scaling up the driver’s visibility and reducing the in-cab wind noise so to conceive less disturbance and greater safety. Among other safety features, we must acknowledge that the cab in question is designed as per Volvo Trucks’ leading crash test standards, meaning it can offer a side-curtain airbag, alongside options for driver-only or driver and passenger airbags. More on its making, these cabs are made from high-strength steel to deflect the energy of a crash and significantly reduce the chance of injury. Complimenting the same are the company’s flared frame rails that allow the powertrain to drop down below the cab to protect the driver. Rounding up the safety picture is an innovative feature called E-Call, which connects the driver to emergency services where cellular connectivity is available, and provides location details. The said connection is automatically established in the event of a rollover crash or airbag deployment.

Moving on, another detail worth a mention regarding Volvo’s latest brainchild is its new optional air suspension system called GRAS (Global Rear Air Suspension). GRAS basically leverages dual leveling rods to reduce roll and pitch angles, improve lateral stability, minimize road shocks, and maintain a constant ride height. Furthermore, when you place a system of this sort next to Volvo Smart Suspension and Volvo Dynamic Steering system, you get a steering control which remains effective regardless of load, terrain, road condition, and varying engine torque levels. Coming back to suspension for a second, the combination of these two technologies is conceived with three different settings to adjust the suspension as per various loading and unloading conditions. Enhancing the user experience even more is an idle management tool to help reduce, or even eliminate engine idling when the vehicle is stopped or parked. Having brought up the point of parking, we must mention the presence of an integrated Volvo Parking Cooler. Served as a climate-control option, the cooler is programmed to use the onboard 24-volt battery system to power the cab’s HVAC while parked. This, in particular, can reduce emissions, engine wear, and fuel costs. Of course, there are a myriad of other features purposed just to enhance driver experience. For instance, the vehicle has an optional folding bunk to allow access to the dinette space, a singular multi-functional control panel in the back of the cab, upgraded insulation for climate control and noise reduction, a larger refrigerator and enough power options to support multiple devices.

“Progressive solutions are needed to help tackle the challenges of the transportation industry, including the need for increased productivity and efficiency while also reducing emissions. Companies must prioritize driver retention and well-being with driver-friendly features and advanced technologies, providing an exceptional driving experience that is key for fleets to attract and retain drivers,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America.

Hold on, we haven’t even touched on Volvo VNL’s connectivity capabilities, capabilities that show up on the back of a built-in Volvo Connect solution. To give you some context, Volvo Connect is an all-in-one fleet management portal, which houses Volvo Trucks’ digital services under one platform, including vehicle data insights, diagnostics, remote programming, fuel economy reports, safety reports and location services. Joining the same is the new Volvo MyTruck app that empowers drivers to stay updated about their truck by monitoring estimated remaining fuel range, DEF levels, and coolant levels. It further delivers notifications in regards to potential issues, such as light malfunctions, low washer fluid levels, and other important items. Not just that, the app also lets you schedule specific days and times to start climate control and have the cabin climate reach the preferred temperature before you even start your shift. Turning away our attention from that and dedicating it to uptime side of things, this angle is supported through Blue Service Contract, an optional and comprehensive dealer managed service plan. The stated plan works in conjunction with Volvo’s connected services to give dealers real-time data when maintenance is due and diagnostic information for detected fault codes. Such a mechanism should help customers schedule service in advance, and also get dealers to perform remote programming updates for the purpose of maintaining the health of truck and preventing unplanned downtime. This is also applicable during dealer afterhours, where if a Volvo Trucks’ Uptime Center detects something wrong, it will instantly alert the vehicle owner. Still, to keep electrical failures from occurring in the first place and improve serviceability, Volvo VNL will markedly offer a new 24-volt electrical architecture.

We finish things off with multiple packaging options that Volvo Trucks has introduced for powertrain and safety. In essence, customers can pick from three powertrain packages that all feature Volvo D13 engine with five different horsepower and torque ratings. As for safety, there are packages flexible enough to let the truck owner opt for most appropriate mix of technology in their case.

“With an interior and exterior design that stops you in your tracks, every innovation introduced in the all-new Volvo VNL was made with the goal to make a driver’s job a little easier and safer and provide a new level of customer value. As we completely reimagined the Volvo VNL, we looked at the future of transportation and saw an opportunity to set new industry standards and sustainably shape the world we want to move,” said Voorhoeve.

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