Kenworth Shows Latest High-Tech T2000

May 1, 2000
SAFETY and driver convenience were the focus of Kenworth Truck Company's newest T2000 high-tech tractor, which was unveiled at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking

SAFETY and driver convenience were the focus of Kenworth Truck Company's newest T2000 high-tech tractor, which was unveiled at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show March 23-25 in Louisville.

Kenworth is once again utilizing a T2000, the company's premium on-highway model, as its "smart" truck. (Kenworth's previous high-tech truck, introduced at last year's Mid-America Trucking Show, proved so popular that it now costars in TNN's top-rated action drama "18 Wheels of Justice.")

"Kenworth's new T2000 High-Tech Truck is designed to provide better information in two key areas: to other drivers in the vehicle's vicinity and to the truck driver," said Ed Caudill, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice-president. "This will help to promote safety and driver efficiency and comfort."

The truck especially emphasizes safety. Kenworth's objective is to explore technologies that can help make trucks safer both for truck drivers and for other vehicles sharing the road.

The vehicle features a number of safety-related items:

*A vision sys- tem uses miniature video cameras with monitors in the cab to aid the driver in making lane changes, backing up, and turning tight corners. Cameras in the side mirrors provide rear-viewing images, and a sleeper-mounted, passenger-side camera offers a curb view.

*Forward-looking infrared night vision extends the driver's vision farther down the road and outward onto the shoulder.

*A drowsiness monitor tracks the driver's performance in keeping the vehicle in its lane and gives an alertness rating based on that performance. When that score falls below a predetermined threshold, the system beeps an audible warning and displays a "stop driving" message.

*A clutchless, automatic transmis- sion makes the truck easier to drive and helps reduce driver fatigue.

*An electronic navigation system lets the driver enter a destination and get visual directions. Verbal directions also are available, helping to keep the driver's attention on the road.

*A hands-free cell phone allows the driver to answer, talk, and even verbally dial while keeping both hands on the steering wheel. An Electronic Braking System (EBS) uses brake-by-wire technology to control a vehicle's traditional air-brake system. EBS is being evaluated to determine its ability to improve braking performance.

*Disc brakes with computerized lining-wear sensors are included.

*LED lighting, which lasts longer than standard lights, was placed all around the truck, and complex reflector Halogen headlights are used.

*Fingerprint iden-tification technology is utilized by the driver to enable the ignition. An electric hood release in the cab also is linked into this security system.

*Flat-panel electronic gauges offer easy viewing and are customizable by driver and application."We also considered the perspective of other vehicles on the highway as we selected safety-related technologies to put into Kenworth's high-tech truck," said Jim Bechtold, Kenworth chief engineer. "As a result, the vehicle offers new information to those drivers."

For example, a light on the back of the Kenworth High-Tech Truck shows green when the truck driver has a foot on the gas pedal, yellow when the truck is coasting, and red when the truck is braking. During a panic stop, brake lights and emergency flashers appear.

Kenworth also added another new wrinkle-front brake lights. "When a vehicle cuts in too close, or within the truck's safe stopping zone, the front brake lights flash rapidly for a few seconds to alert that driver," Bechtold said. "Stopping distances are based on vehicle speed and road conditions, so we've also given the truck electronic sensors to monitor road temperature and conditions."

Driver convenience and comfort continue to be a key factor in truck purchases. So, Kenworth's T2000 High-Tech Truck includes a number of special features for the driver:

*Satellite radio offers access to hundreds of radio stations and enables the driver to even listen to a favorite station all the way across the continent.

*A docking station for a laptop PC in the sleeper provides easy computer access.

*LED and fluorescent lighting in the cab and sleeper makes the interior brighter than before.

*An entertainment system consists of AM/FM cassette, 12-CD changer, DVD and VCR, speakers embedded on the driver and passenger seats, and system controls in both the sleeper and cab.

*A microwave and a dinette with both fold-down table and chairs.

*A 600-horsepower engine.

*If the truck ever needs roadside assistance, the driver just pushes a button on the dash and he is directly connected to the Kenworth PremierCare Roadside Assistance Call Center, staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.