Volvo Trucks and its technology partner Bendix® developed VEC to provide warnings and assistance in interactions with vehicles in front of and to the side of Volvo trucks. Using a radar sensor typically mounted behind the front bumper, VEC monitors vehicles moving in the same direction as the truck. It can detect up to 32 objects within approximately 500 feet in front of the truck.
VEC combines adaptive cruise control with proactive braking to help drivers avoid collisions, said Frank Bio, product manager trucks. Volvo Enhanced Cruise does more than give timely warnings to drivers. It also takes action and gives the driver and the other highway users that much more of a safety advantage. VEC represents a solid advance in Volvo™s eight decades of safety innovation and leadership.
Since VEC is integrated into our cruise control system, simply turning on cruise control and setting the speed activates the proactive intervention features, Bio said.
Proactive braking means the truck will slow down without driver intervention when necessary. If the vehicle in front slows down below the truck™s cruise control set speed, VEC will sequentially reduce throttle to the engine, apply the engine brake and apply the foundation brakes to try to maintain the set following distance. The system applies about one-third of the foundation brakes™ capacity, meaning the driver is always has full braking capability if needed.
If the vehicle in front speeds up and moves away, VEC will automatically increase vehicle speed to the cruise control set speed. VEC automatically intervenes only if the cruise control is on and the speed is set by the driver.
VEC also warns drivers if the truck is too close to vehicles ahead. A beeping alert warns drivers if they are closing the distance. An uninterrupted modulating tone warns drivers to immediately apply the brakes or take evasive action if the distance is too short and closing speed is too high for VEC to maintain safe following distance, for example when another vehicle cuts in front of the truck or slows too sharply. The Following Distance Alerts and Close Cut-In Alert are always on, even if the cruise control is turned off. The Impact Alert is activated only when cruise control is on.
A visual indicator on the Volvo instrument panel shows drivers the speed of the vehicle ahead and how quickly their truck is closing the gap. The indicator is a series of LEDs outlining the speedometer, as well as a red or green light for the target vehicle.
The system™s default following distance is 2.8 seconds between vehicles, or almost 250 feet when travelling at 60 mph. Drivers may change the following distance setting with a distance switch, available as a factory-installed option.
Another option is a side warning system, which alerts drivers to vehicles in the right-side blind spot when changing lanes.
VEC is an extension of the Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST) platform. VEST is a full stability system designed to help prevent loss of control and rollovers, and is a standard, non-delete feature for the Volvo VN and VT, as well as for Volvo VHD mixer chassis.
VEC, like VEST, is an example of active safety technology to help avoid and prevent accidents in the first place. Passive safety technology is intended to protect occupants during an accident.
Volvo Trucks North America™s operations and products are guided by the company™s three core values: Safety, Quality and Environmental Care. The Volvo VT, VN and VHD trucks are assembled in the United States at the New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia, while Volvo engines for North America are assembled in Hagerstown, Maryland. Both plants are certified to ISO14001 environmental and ISO9001 quality standards.
Volvo Trucks North America is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world”s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services, and one of the world”s leading producers of heavy-diesel engines (9-16 liter). The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. The Volvo Group, which employs about 100,000 people, has production facilities in 19 countries and sells their products in more than 180 markets. Volvo Group sales for 2008 amounted to over $46 billion. The Volvo Group is a publicly-held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Shares are listed on Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange and are traded OTC in the U.S.