Volvo to develop fuel-saving communication technology

By: Carene Chong

Presented by
  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Using cutting edge Intelligent Transport Systems currently under development, Volvo says the technology has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent in certain applications.

Volvo to develop fuel-saving communication technology
Volvo Construction Equipment engineers are hard at work developing a wireless communication system for its machines that could save users up to 30 per cent in fuel consumption

Volvo Construction Equipment Research Coordinator Peter Wallin says wireless machine communication technology is the core of the project.

"By increasing machine intelligence and making it possible for machines to 'talk' to each other we can reduce operational costs through improved fuel efficiency, while also increasing safety and maintaining productivity," he says.

"So far we've looked at the quarry and aggregates segment and road construction - but this technology can be used in all the applications Volvo machines work in."

Fleet optimisation

Volvo CE explains the technology works by two machine communicating with each other to work out exact travelling speed and time to reduce idle waiting time and consequently reduce fuel consumption. 

The company has conducted tests to calculate the potential fuel savings machine-to-machine (M2M) communication could bring to articulated haulers working in the quarry and aggregates segment.

The project monitored a hauler, loaded with rocks from an excavator, travelling to the crushing site.

The machine was fitted with an internal measurement system to verify the fuel consumption. The hauler was operated by different drivers on separate trips, at both constant and varied speeds, with different amounts of idle time and both with and without stops along the way.

Tests showed that when the hauler travelled faster than necessary to the crusher, and as a result had to wait before unloading, fuel consumption was up to 30 per cent higher compared to when the hauler travelled at a constant speed and arrived at the optimum moment.

"By using M2M communication the operator would know exactly when to arrive at the crusher and what speed to travel at to get there," Wallin says.

"Through reducing machine speed and idle time we are reducing fuel consumption and wear and tear on the machine as well as facilitating an efficient flow of equipment."

Looking to the future

Wallin explains the next stage of the project will be to provide the operator with information such as target speed and arrival time inside the cab.

"This live information will support and guide operators to the most fuel efficient operation and could be presented in future concepts like heads-up displays and other innovative approaches," he says.

"If all the equipment on a job site was fitted with this technology, the machines could be linked to a central control point such as a tablet device used by the site manager to optimize the efficiency of the fleet."

"The results from this project will determine if, when and how this technology will reach the market."

Active safety

Wallin adds that safety is another advantage the new technology can enforce.

"Volvo has set itself the target of reducing accidents relating to its equipment to zero- and future technology like M2M communication will play a major part in achieving this ambition," he says.

"For example, if we combined M2M communication technology with an automatic braking system it would prevent the possibility of a collision between two Volvo machines - and by equipping site workers with a wireless beamer or a transmitter, machines could also detect and avoid humans in the vicinity."

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