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DTNA Innovation Truck showcases technologies at MATS

May 1, 2009
Building upon an extensive history in developing pioneering solutions, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) previewed some of the latest productivity improvement
Building upon an extensive history in developing pioneering solutions, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) previewed some of the latest productivity improvement technologies on a new Innovation Truck at the 2009 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Innovation Truck featured advanced technologies directly from DTNA's development labs. Starting with Freightliner Trucks' most aerodynamic solution — the Cascadia — DTNA added a sampling of the most promising cutting-edge advancements that will further enhance fuel economy.

“We've created the new Innovation Truck to highlight not only our existing technologies, but to show our customers what they can expect from us in the near future,” said Elmar Boeckenhoff, senior vice-president of engineering and technology for Daimler Trucks North America. “The Innovation Truck is part of our ongoing effort to shape future transportation by pushing the boundaries in engineering and technology.”

Since its inception more than 60 years ago, DTNA has been committed to its core values of innovation, quality and meeting customers' needs. From its initial launch of the industry's first lightweight aluminum cab to the unveiling of the Cascadia in 2007, DTNA has continued to develop products that push the boundaries to enhance the driving experience and impact the bottom line.

The Innovation Truck reflected greater refinement in aerodynamics with the addition of rear wheel fairings to smooth the airflow around the rear wheels, under body panels that smooth air flow under the chassis, a roof deflector to direct air over the trailer, and a front air splitter incorporated into the front bumper to pass air around the truck.

The Innovation Truck also replaced the mirrors with side view cameras to further reduce drag. The camera system improves the field of view, eliminates blind spots, and reduces the typical “fish eye” effect.

Together these enhancements improve the airflow over, under, and around the vehicle - resulting in further fuel savings. “What makes the Innovation Truck so aerodynamic is not just its shape, but the entire package - from bumper to tail lights,” said Boeckenhoff.

Mechatronics integrates the electronic and mechanical worlds into systems that help to improve vehicle function and driver interaction. One such system is the RunSmart Predictive Cruise system. A world premiere for heavy-duty trucking industry, this system offers significant fuel savings by combining the latest in GPS technology with digital mapping to provide a 3D profile of the road ahead. The truck evaluates the upcoming road profile more than one mile in advance and determines the most fuel efficient vehicle speed.

Further pushing the aerodynamic envelope, the Innovation Truck integrated a dual-ride-height system that, at highway speeds, lowers the tractor height, reducing under chassis drag. The system uses a proprietary front air suspension in conjunction with Freightliner's rear air suspension.

The Innovation Truck was designed with a single drive axle incorporating a load management system that can transfer weight to the drive axle in low traction situations. This configuration also reduced weight and cost.

Tire pressure monitoring helps with fuel, and the Innovation Truck has a wireless SmarTire tire pressure monitoring system integrated with a Lectronix T7000 navigation/infotainment unit. This system not only more accurately reports tire pressure but also has an integrated display that simplifies pressure checks.

The Innovation Truck is EPA 2010 engine-emissions compliant using Daimler's proven BlueTec selective catalytic reduction emissions technology. The exhaust after-treatment system is packaged under the right-hand step, and a diesel exhaust fluid reservoir is mounted on the left hand forward frame rail. BlueTec provides a solution for the new emission standards while improving fuel economy.

The ParkSmart HVAC System on the Innovation Truck is already available for the Cascadia. The system provides an integrated system solution for emission-free cooling and highly efficient heating without engine idling. Operating from a second bank of batteries, the ParkSmart system provides 8-10 hours of cooling and up to 34 hours in heating mode, using a diesel-fired coolant heater.