Volvo introduces Volvo enhanced cruise: adaptive cruise control with proactive braking

Volvo Trucks North America now offers advanced collision avoidance technology with Volvo Enhanced Cruise (VEC), a system that works with a truck’s cruise control to maintain a safe following distance between vehicles.

VEC also has the capability to automatically slow the truck with the engine and foundation brakes to maintain a set following distance, while at the same time alerting the driver to potential danger.  Volvo Trucks introduced VEC at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky today.

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.

March 19, 2009

Volvo Trucks North America now offers Volvo Enhanced Cruise (VEC), an adaptive cruise control system that builds upon the Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST) platform.  VEC maintains a set time interval between the truck and the vehicle ahead, and uses the truck’s throttle, engine brake and foundation brakes to keep the time gap.

Volvo Enhanced Cruise (VEC) warns the driver when the vehicle ahead slows.  In this photo, the “Impact Alert” warns the driver to brake or take evasive action.  The driver is alerted via a message in the Driver Information Display, via a red icon above the display and via a ring of red LEDs around the speedometer, as well as by an audible alarm.

Volvo Enhanced Cruise (VEC) uses a radar sensor mounted behind the bumper to track up to 32 objects in front of the truck, at distances up to 500 feet.

For further information, please contact Jim McNamara, Volvo Trucks North America, phone 336-393-2143, email