Volvo Cars and Trucks Will Gossip About Road Hazards
Volvo is rolling out a new cloud-based service called “Connected Safety” that will let Volvo cars and trucks talk with one another to alert each other of hazardous traffic situations. Connected Safety will roll out this year in Sweden and Norway and builds upon the cloud service already available to Volvo cars that are connected to the cloud. That system allows 2016 and new Volvos to alert other connected Volvos when cars around them have their hazard lights switched on. When Volvo turns on this feature for its big trucks, it will allow the system cover a wider area, identify more hazards, and (assumingly, of course) improve overall safety traffic.
Volvo could eventually expand the system to include other safety-enhancing functions like warning of slippery roads, various road hazards, accidents, slower traffic, etc. It’s even possible that other automakers could opt into the service, allowing even a larger area and more vehicles to make use of the service. Of course, Volvo isn’t the only automaker that has made strides in this department and, as connected infrastructure continues to develop, we’ll see more and more of this to the point that’s we may very well know what’s around every curve or corner before we ever get there.
Screw You Tesla; Volvo Electric Trucks Hitting the Market in 2019
Tesla is making a push to be an industry leader in the electric truck space, but it’s going to have plenty of competition from the auto industry. One company that wants a stake in the segment is Volvo. The Swedish automaker made that known after announcing plans to start selling electric medium-duty trucks in Europe by 2019. Volvo also said that the first units of its EV trucks will be put to the test this year with selected “reference customers.”
Self-Driving Semi-Truck Takes 120 Miles Trip, Delivers Beer
Surely you’ve seen the iconic 1977 film, Smokey and the Bandit wherein The Bandit (Burt Reynolds) and The Snow Man (Jerry Reed) dodge the hard-nosed Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) over hundreds of miles as the boys drive to Texarkana from Atlanta to bring back a load of beer in Snow Man’s 18-wheeler. If not, stop what you’re doing and watch it.
Anyway, the boys would be jealous if they saw this self-driving semi take a load of Budweiser beer from Fort Collins, Colorado to Colorado Springs – all without someone behind the wheel.
The 120-mile journey took place this week thanks to the partnership between Otto and Anheuser-Busch. Otto is a self-driving truck startup founded by ex Google employees and now owned by Uber. Anheuser-Busch, of course, is the long-established brewer of Budweiser beer.
"The initial appeal for us was to see how we could meet the needs of a company like Anheuser-Busch," Otto co-founder Lior Ron told USA Today. "But now after this successful test, we’re eager to see how it will handle other roads and other weather."
James Sembrot, senior director of logistics and safety for Anheuser-Busch, says the company wanted to "see if we could help pioneer technology that will make the jobs of those shipping product easier and safer." Sembrot continued, saying, "We liked the prospect of those folks traveling safer in trucks that help improve environmental impact. There’s no question in our mind that transportation companies will want to make these improvements."
Safety is always a priority and rested drivers are generally better, safer drivers. Secondly, the environmental impact would be the decrease in fuel consumption thanks to the self-driving truck’s smooth operation.
The Otto system isn’t fully autonomous. It does require a driver for city streets and urban areas. On the highway, however, the system can be activated, allowing the truck to pilot itself while the driver can relax or sleep.
Continue reading for the full story.
The 2016 Truck Rodeo: The Full Results
By now you’ve probably read how the 2017 Ford Super Duty was crowned the Truck of Texas and that the 2017 Nissan Armada won the SUV of Texas. But the Super Duty and Armada were far from the only winners at this year’s Truck Rodeo put on by the Texas Auto Writers Association.
More than 70 journalists and social media influencers descended upon the 1,623-acre Longhorn River Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas to test approximately 71 pickup trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and commercial vehicles in TAWA’s annual event.
A total of 17 categories grouped the vehicles with their competition, ranging from compact crossovers and full-size SUVs to Off-Road pickups. Other categories included best connectivity, best technology, and best powertrain.
Keep reading for the full results.
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Volvo Trucks Beats Its Own Speed Record with 2,400-HP Semi: Video
You may recall last week when Volvo ran a teaser video about its newest high-performance semi truck. As oxymoronic as it sounds, this behemoth was custom built for one purpose only – to beat Volvo’s previous speed record made in 2012.
It’s called The Iron Knight and it’s powered by 13.0-liter D13 turbodiesel engine making 2,400 horsepower and a whopping 4,425 pound-feet of torque. Mounted mid-ship, it sends power through Volvo’s I-Shift dual-clutch automatic transmission to the rear tires. Unsurprisingly, the sprint to 62 mph takes only 4.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 171 mph despite its tremendous weight and flat face.
The driver is Volvo’s accomplished truck racer and test man, Boije Ovebrink. He’s also the same driver who set the 2012 record in Volvo’s Mean Green Hybrid truck. While the driver might be the same, Volvo’s truck has certainly changed. Gone is the hybrid system, as are 2,205 pounds of curb weight. The Iron Knight then packs on an additional 600 horsepower over the hybrid truck.
In order to break the FIA-sectioned record, the team would need to complete two runs, one in each direction, within an hour window. During the 500-meter run (0.31 of a mile), The Iron Knight posted a time of 13.710 seconds with an average speed of 81.58 mph. The truck then completed the 1,000-meter run (0.621 of a mile) in 21.290 seconds with an average speed of 105 mph. This beat Volvo’s previous 1,000-meter record time of 21.56 seconds.
Congrats, Volvo, on making one awesome truck.
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Volvo Builds 2400 HP Truck To Break World Speed Record: Video
Sure, there’s might be a racing league for semi trucks, but whatever Volvo is cooking up somehow seems more impressive. In fact, the global automaker is touting this as a 2,400-horsepower attempt at a world speed record.
Details are scarce at this point, but Volvo is purposefully teasing the August 24th video release of the high-speed run on its YouTube page. According to the video, we know Volvo is attempting to break the FIA world land speed record for this class of truck. This diesel-powered beast is dubbed “The Iron Knight” and is a collaboration project between technicians, engineers, and designers at Volvo Trucks.
The power comes from Volvo’s D13 turbodiesel and is mated to an i-Shift Dual Clutch transmission. There’s no word of 0-to-60 mph times or top speed estimates, but those specs will come on the 24th.
Until then, enjoy this teasing video.
Continue reading for the full story.
Volvo must pay their marketing department big bucks. The heavy-duty truck side of the Swedish company is known for outlandish stunts that put Volvo trucks to the test. Well, at least a simulated test.
Remember when Volvo Trucks’ president, Claes Nilsson, stood on the front grille of a FMX truck as it dangled hundreds of feet in the air, supported only by the front tow hook? And no one can forget the “epic split” done by none other than Jean Claude Van Damme. With one foot on either truck, the two Volvo FM semis eased apart – while driving in reverse – forcing Van Dam to show off is legendary martial arts abilities in the form of a split.
Now Volvo has handed the controls over to four-year old, little Sophie. Yep, in its latest stunt to show off the updated Volvo FMX truck line, engineers rigged the truck to run via remote control and “gave her control” of the nearly 20-ton vehicle. As expected, little Sophie’s driving skills aren’t fully developed. The truck crashes and bangs into obstacle after obstacle. Of course, this allows Volvo to show off just how strong the FMX truck is.
The notable features found on the FMX include a front bumper constructed of 3 mm-thick steel and attacked to the frame, designed to keep the cab, engine components, and driver safe. All the important drivetrain bits are tucked up under the truck, preventing debris (or concrete road dividers) from hurting things like axle shafts or universal joints. The truck’s part-time, automatically engaging 4WD system keeps it moving though goopy mud and over rocks.
The final test came via a cinderblock building. Poor little Sophie’s driving record takes a hit as she propels the truck off course and into the concrete structure. Heck, Sophie even lets the truck topple off the side of an embankment, making the truck to a full 360-degree roll. Beside a shattered windshield, broken from running through the building, the truck is said to escape damage. Impressive and entertaining.
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Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.
I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”
This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.
So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.
Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo
Volvo seems to be on a streak of making ridiculous and outlandish demonstrations for the commercial truck lineup. Remember Jean Claude Van Damme’s epic split while balanced between two Volvo FM trucks? Well that was supposed to showcase the truck’s tight steering. Now Volvo wants to show off the truck’s I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission. So how does the Swedish automaker do that? By racing a Koenigsegg One:1, of course.
The video above is a mere teaser for the big event happening November 11th when a Volvo FM commercial truck will race the 1,340-horsepower Koenigsegg One:1 supercar. Apparently this little test will help sell FM trucks to folks looking to beat a One:1…
While the test is a bit over-the-top, the point is to show how well and how quickly the truck’s dual-clutch transmission shifts. “Matching a Volvo FH against Koenigsegg One:1 is the perfect challenge to see if our newly launched I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission lives up to expectations in terms of driveability and driving comfort that comes with seamless gear shifting,” says Per Nilsson, PR Director at Volvo Trucks.
Doing the driving honors is British TV show Fifth Gear host Tiff Needell. Ground Zero for this epic test is the hilly and twisty Ring Knutstorp in southern Sweden. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for the full run down of November 11th’s events.
Volvo was always pioneer in safety features and now the company announced that they added a new Active Braking feature to the Volvo Enhanced Cruise (VEC). Until now the VEC was stopping the truck only when the Cruise control was on, by activating the engine brake and applying up to one-third of the service brake pressure when a rear-end collision was about to occur.
Thanks to the new upgrade, the Active Braking will dethrottle the engine and apply up to two-thirds of the service brake pressure even when the cruise control is not engaged. This was the system provides automatic braking when a collision is imminent minimizing the possibility of a crash. The system works thanks to a radar sensor which detects if any stationary metal objects are found in front of the truck.
Frank Bio, Volvo Trucks product manager, trucks said: “Active Braking provides valuable situational information and helps professional drivers take preventative measures to avoid hazards. Volvo’s integrated approach to active safety technologoes provides the unique advantage of being able to set the warning hierarchy and present the most important warning or warnings to the driver.”
Land speed records are usually set by exotic sports cars that have no problem setting 200 mph without breaking a sweat. The last thing - or at least vehicle - people will associate with speed records are trucks. Big-bodied, mammoth trucks that are less about speed than they are about power.
Try telling that to Boije Overbrink, who was determined to make sure that he went down as driving the fastest semi-truck in all the world. Easier said than done, right? Apparently, not for Mr. Overbrink. Using a specially-built Volvo semi and bringing it to Hultsfred Airport in Sweden, the 59-year old, who also happened to be celebrating his birthday on that very same day, clocked in an average speed of 81.32 mph for 500 meters and 103.58 mph for an entire kilometer.
Taking into account the slow acceleration of trucks that size, speed runs for this category are only measured on the average time it clocks over an entire course. Taking all that into consideration, the truck clocked in a speed of over 155 mph over an entire course.
Relative to the speed set by high-powered sports cars, 155 mph may not be all that impressive, but when you’re talking about a semi-truck with all that sheet metal, 155 mph is by far both impressive and scary at the same time.