Volvo Dynamic Steering is the biggest news in the field since the power steering was invented. In the new Volvo FMX it takes on the most challenging surfaces on or off the road – and brings the driver out less tired.
“This is just what’s needed in construction – some clever technology in between the driver and the potholes,” says senior chassis engineer, Jan-Inge Svensson.
It’s the small potholes that are the biggest problem
Steer with one finger
The assistance is progressive, so Volvo Dynamic Steering has lots to offer at low speeds. This is where frequent turning with heavy loads can be a real struggle. “You often see drivers leaning forward to get more upper body strength,” explains the development engineer Kristoffer Tagesson. “But this innovation makes it possible to steer a fully loaded truck with one finger. And by giving the exact right force at every instant, the wheel turns in the same way every time – regardless of disturbances from the road. This makes steering far more predictable.”
Cancel potholes and get more done
Compared to the power steering in a passenger car, Volvo Dynamic Steering has a number of sophisticated features. For instance, it can cancel out the road disturbance, as Jan-Inge Svensson explains.
“Potholes usually give the steering wheel a kick, but this cancels out the disturbance before it can get there. It’s the small potholes that are the biggest problem as they can turn a gravel road into a washboard, and then you have to reduce speed. So the steering can either reduce or increase your productivity.”
Volvo Dynamic Steering takes the weight off the driver’s shoulders.
Fatigue is a pain
When ice builds up on tarmac, or on a construction site, drivers can feel the vibrations through their entire bodies. “By filtering away the disturbances we can make the driving less tiresome. And with less fatigue you get a safer driver who does a better job,” says Jan-Inge Svensson.
No hands in reverse
“With nine or ten tonnes on the truck’s front axle and the wheels fully turned, backing up is a heavy job,” says Kristoffer Tagesson. “With Volvo Dynamic Steering you put it in reverse and start steering with the slightest of effort. Then you can let go of the wheel and watch it turn smoothly back until the truck straightens up.” Because it has a steering wheel return feature, the assistance is released as the wheel comes back to its neutral
Real time accuracy
Volvo Dynamic Steering combines both hydraulic steering and an electrical motor, providing up to 85 percent of the necessary steering effort at low speeds. The motor is controlled electronically 2,000 times per second, for the perfect level of assistance at every moment. “This gives you an idea of its precision,” says Jan-Inge Svensson.
“The technology is built on a Torque Overlay platform, which means we have a very wide scope to extend its functionality in the future. I believe that what I-Shift did for gearboxes, this will do for steering. It’s going to be a very popular option.”
Little things mean more at high speed
The new steering can also compensate for the variation in friction on different wheels that is common when braking on uneven surfaces. Another feature compensates for the steering drift caused by the banking of a road – a constant source of irritation on highways. Both of these qualities help to provide greater directional stability and clean steering forces. “The rougher things get under your wheels, the more you will appreciate it,” says Kristoffer Tagesson. “Even with several axles, Volvo Dynamic Steering makes it feel like a normal truck on a normal road.”
Fewer wear and tear injuries
Today, even young drivers are starting to suffer from neck and shoulder problems. Not least in construction. “In this light, Volvo Dynamic Steering isn’t just about comfort,” says Jan-Inge Svensson. “It’s about reducing wear and tear on drivers and maximising produc-tivity. From a driver’s viewpoint, it can prolong your active career without running into shoulder problems. And with today’s shortage of good drivers, less sick leave and greater productivity are more valuable than ever before”.
Looking at the two engineers there is a visible sense of contentment. “Yes” says Kristoffer Tagesson. “This turned out to be even better than we expected.”
Explore the benefits of Volvo Dynamic Steering on the construction site