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Volvo offers ZF "ReAX" steering on Mack Anthem


kscarbel2
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Fleet Owner  /  February 26, 2020

ATLANTA — By adding an electric motor to the hydraulic steering column, Volvo can reduce driver effort of turning the wheel by up to 85%, the OEM said at the Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting. The new option for Volvo's Mack Anthem, called Command Steer, will be available in June.

(The ReAX electronic steering system, designed and produced by Germany's ZF, was first introduced in April 2013 as "Volvo Dynamic Steering". Volvo's promotion gave the impression that it was Volvo technology, however it was actually developed by Germany's ZF. Under their agreement, Volvo was the exclusive user for the first 5 years. That time now having expired, ZF is free to sell the system to all truckmakers. )

The motorized component collects driver, vehicle and environmental data and judges what amount of torque to apply to the steering column to ensure the truck stays true to its intended path.

The wheel could be turned with one hand exerting the same energy as a kitten lightly swatting butterfly, as opposed to a bulldog-like bite.

“Even with the all-day comfort provided by the Mack Anthem model’s ergonomic interior, driving a heavy-duty truck remains a highly physical task,” said Stu Russoli, Mack's highway product manager. “With Mack Command Steer, we’re helping reduce driver fatigue and muscle strain by up to 30%, improving safety and productivity as well as helping to protect the truck’s most valuable asset: the driver.”

The new driver-assist solution also comprises a suite of sensors that collect road condition data such as speed and torque on the steering column. This flow of 2,000 pieces of data per second informs the wheel on how to react given the conditions.

Drivers fortified by Command Steer “no longer have to ‘fight the wheel’ while driving on poor roads or in difficult weather conditions,” Russoli said.

For example, when force generated by high winds unbalances the vehicle and load and causes drifting, Command Steer “will adjust so you could drive very comfortably,” he said.

The wheel was also designed to intuitively compensate for unexpected variables on the road.

“If you're if you're on uneven ground, your right wheel goes off the road, it's not going to pull you to the side off into a ditch,” Russoli explained. “If you have a flat tire, potholes, other disturbances in the road, it's going to correct that.”

The wheel also returns to zero if the driver lets go when backing up to park or going forward to make a turn, beneficial in tight places.

NASCAR hauler driver Tony Fripp said “it’s pretty much effortless” as he used one finger to steer the in-reverse tractor-trailer between two other Black Anthem trucks in a video Russoli presented.

Mack also said the Anthem day cab models are SmartWay certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To become SmartWay-certified, trucks must have technologies and features that reduce their environmental impact through improved fuel efficiency.

“Even with steady diesel prices, customers are continuing to place a strong emphasis on improving the fuel efficiency of their heavy-duty trucks,” said Russoli. “We’re proud to have our Anthem day cab model join our Anthem standup sleeper model as SmartWay-certified, giving customers fuel-efficient options for nearly every over-the-road application.”

To achieve SmartWay certification, Anthem day cab models must be spec’d with roof fairings and side shields, chassis fairings and an aerodynamic bumper option. In addition, low rolling resistance SmartWay-certified tires are required. All SmartWay-certified MackAnthem models feature a SmartWay logo on the doorjamb.

Just prior to TMC, Mack announced the launch of driver-activated Mack Over The Air updates, enabling customers to activate their software updates on their own schedule. Mack Over The Air allows remote software updates and the setting of vehicle parameters through GuardDog Connect.

Available beginning in the fourth quarter, the new driver-activated updates eliminate the need for coordination phone calls with Mack OneCall agents, meaning most updates can be completed in less than 15 minutes.

 

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