Since its launch, Volvo Dynamic Steering has helped prevent accidents and made truck drivers’ day-to-day work safer. Peter Een is an experienced truck driver who believes the system averted what would otherwise have been a serious incident.
Peter Een had just unloaded a consignment of timber and was on his way back to his employer – Sundbergs Åkeri in Herrljunga, Sweden – when, suddenly, he heard a loud bang. The tire on his front right wheel had exploded. “You immediately go into panic mode,” says Peter, who has been driving trucks for nearly 50 years. “The last time it happened, I swerved across the entire road before managing to come to a stop in the left lane. It was pure luck that I came out of it as well as I did.”
But this time Peter did not need to rely on luck – he had Volvo Dynamic Steering. Despite travelling at 80 km/h, the truck stayed perfectly on course. “It turned out that the tire had come off, and I was driving on the rim. It cut through the asphalt like a knife. Without Volvo Dynamic Steering, I would never have been able to keep the truck on the road, and it could have ended really badly.”
Ordinarily, when a tire blowout occurs on a front wheel, the initial explosion and the escaping air causes the front wheels to steer and the vehicle to tilt which will make the vehicle deviate from its course. It is then up to the driver to immediately seize control of the steering wheel and keep the truck on the road.
However, on this occasion, sensors in the Volvo Dynamic Steering unit immediately detected the involuntary steering movements caused by the blowout. The Volvo Dynamic Steering control unit, which controls the steering, was then able to reduce these movements, thus supporting the driver in keeping the vehicle on course.
“A front wheel tire blowout can affect the steering wheel angle by up to 80 degrees,” says Jan-Inge Svensson, Product Owner Steering Software, who helped develop Volvo Dynamic Steering.
“This can cause the vehicle to veer to the side in a split second and the consequences can be fatal. Volvo Dynamic Steering has been designed to reduce these movements and give the driver more time to react. Of course, it depends on the circumstances to what extent it will be able to support the driver to avoid an accident.”
Driving a truck for long periods takes its toll on a driver’s shoulders and back, but with Volvo Dynamic Steering, steering becomes much easier.
Lane departures caused by tire blowouts is just one accident type that can potentially be prevented by Volvo Dynamic Steering. Another is skidding, thanks to one of its functions, Stability Assist. It works through a combination of Volvo Dynamic Steering and Electronic Stability Control, which uses the vehicle’s sensors to monitor the stability of the vehicle.
If the slightest skidding tendency is detected, for example if the rear wheels are losing grip, the system automatically provides light counter steering assistance in the opposite direction to help stabilise the vehicle.
Tire blowouts are not the most common cause of lane departure accidents. More often they are caused by driver fatigue or inattention. The Volvo Dynamic Steering enabled Lane Keeping Assist is designed to help in such situations. It is automatically activated when the truck reaches 55 km/h and continuously monitors the truck’s position, using a camera to track lane markings. When it detects that the truck is drifting outside of its lane, it sends a signal to Volvo Dynamic Steering, which in turn provides a gentle counter steer to help correct its course. The driver is also alerted via vibration in the steering wheel.
With Volvo Dynamic Steering, there are no problems to maneuver and reverse with a load. You are also not affected by crosswinds in the same way; it's so much more stable to drive. It's like a different truck.
While traffic accidents are the most obvious hazard that comes with truck driving, one of the biggest occupational hazards in the longer term is the physical strain that comes with driving, particularly to the driver’s neck, back and shoulders. This is caused by long hours sitting in one spot, having to continuously make small adjustments to the steering and it can be compounded by situations like having to drive on slopes, uneven roads or in areas with strong crosswinds.
However, Volvo Dynamic Steering has the capacity to detect such conditions, and automatically adjust the steering accordingly. This then relieves the driver of much of the burden of continuously manually correcting the steering angle.
Within Volvo Dynamic Steering’s Personal Settings, drivers can also make adjustments to the responsiveness of the steering wheel to suit their circumstances and personal preferences. They can choose from pre-programmed settings that are designed to deliver optimal steering for different road types and situations, or freely adjust different parameters for full customisation.
“Driving a truck for long periods takes its toll on a driver’s shoulders and back, but with Volvo Dynamic Steering, steering becomes much easier,” says Jan-Inge.
“It helps eliminate the many small and continuous disturbances that can wear down a driver and thereby it contributes to a much better working environment. As a result, the driver is more relaxed and less fatigued. They can also concentrate more on the road and their surroundings, making them a safer driver too.”
This has certainly been Peter Een’s experience: “With Volvo Dynamic Steering, there are no problems to maneuver and reverse with a load. You are also not affected by crosswinds in the same way; it's so much more stable to drive. It's like a different truck.”
Summary: The safety benefits of Volvo Dynamic Steering
Volvo Dynamic Steering is designed to…
Learn more about Volvo Dynamic Steering here: