“Drivers are the trucking industry’s biggest assets, and opportunities to increase driver recruitment and retention are top-of-mind for our customers,” says Chris Stadler, product marketing manager, Volvo Trucks North America. “Providing state-of-the-art features that improve drivers’ physical working conditions and comfort is an important aspect of driver satisfaction, as well as increasing overall productivity and road safety.”
VDS is an active steering system that features an electric motor mounted on top of the hydraulic steering gear. Input from multiple vehicle sensors, at over 2,000 times per second, determine the appropriate steering wheel response. The system continuously monitors drivers’ actions, environmental factors and road conditions faster than the blink of an eye. The motor provides additional torque when needed to keep the truck safely on the road. This supports driver reactions with greater control and less abrupt maneuvering.
First launched by Volvo Trucks in Europe, VDS is ideal for diverse and changing terrains and automatically adjusts to handle any roadway condition. From rough roads to tight maneuvers in urban environments, VDS can help drivers navigate unexpected situations such as pot holes and rapid tire deflations, providing up to 9 ft.-lb. of torque in the steering column. Key VDS features include:
- Vehicle Stability Control leads to increased directional stability on the highway, which offers a more relaxed and safe driving experience with full control at all speeds.
- Return-to-Center, or Zero Return enables the steering wheel to return to the center position when the vehicle is in motion, making it easier to reverse the vehicle and maneuver in tight areas.
- Dampening allows the steering system to filter inputs from the road surface and, based on feedback from multiple sensors, helps improve handling and vehicle stability.
- Lead/Pull Compensation provides a torque offset within the steering system to compensate for crowned roads, steady crosswinds and other short-term conditions that can affect handling.
With more controlled steering, VDS helps reduce operational fatigue by filtering road vibration and noise through the steering wheel. Repetitive motions due to varying roadway conditions and maneuvering actions could cause physical discomfort, which can be lessened when using this system. In fact, testing has shown that VDS has the potential to cut muscular strain by up to 30% and for some specific motions, strain can be reduced up to 70%.
“Volvo Trucks’ new feature brings value and support to our customers and professional drivers,” says Stadler. “With the VDS system, we see increased productivity for our customers and decreased fatigue for drivers. In addition it contributes to improved stability and control of the vehicle, thereby increasing road safety.”