An idea that revolutionised steering technology
Volvo Dynamic Steering is a world-class technical innovation. Using an advanced electric motor on the steering column and sensors at strategic points, Volvo Trucks has made a real breakthrough in steering technology.
Eight years ago, a Volvo team came up with an idea which could revolutionise steering. It eventually led to Volvo Dynamic Steering and the team now has a finished product which is ready to be installed in the new Volvo FH, the new Volvo FM and the new Volvo FMX.
Volvo Dynamic Steering is designed both to increase safety and to improve the driver’s working environment. It will make the truck act on the basis of precise collated information relating to the driving environment, which both reduces the risk of accidents and enables the driver to steer without tensioning his/her back, arms and shoulders to the same degree as normal.
In short, Volvo Dynamic Steering has involved installing an electric motor with highly advanced software on top of the standard hydraulics in the steering gear. As the steering column goes through the electric motor, the software can be used to govern what happens, no matter which way the steering column is turned. So the wheels can be told which angle they should assume and, at the same time, undesirable turning from underneath, from the wheels, can be eliminated.
“The steering system is totally intact; in just the same way as it is in every vehicle. As an electric motor is installed above the hydraulic unit and is programmed, it enables us to determine what the driver feels,” explains Gustav Neander, project manager for Volvo Dynamic Steering who joined the project in 2008.
The behaviour of the truck is based on the information that is collected from a loop comprising different sensors, in the electric motor and at different points throughout the truck, which combine to provide a precise description of the environment. Sensors on the wheels and output axle in the engine measure the speed, another sensor senses when driving begins, while another senses when the driver brakes and so on.
“To summarise, it would be true to say that, by collecting all the different variables, we can put them together and decide that, at this specific speed and at the angle on this corner, the steering wheel should feel precisely like this.”
Still Volvo Dynamic Steering is just the start, if Gustav Neander is to be believed.
“Developments have really moved forward since we began work on the project. More and more technological developments are taking place and this is a huge step forward. Volvo Dynamic Steering is a platform we are going to build on,” concludes Gustav Neander.