Starting June this year and
throughout the Volvo Ocean Race competition in Gothenburg, Sweden, the
pioneering autonomous Volvo bus will be shown to specially invited guests. The
prototype is based on Volvo’s commercially produced electric city bus, which
has been modified for autonomous operation. At the demo event there will be
presentations to show how this technology can contribute to safer and more
comfortable travel as well as more efficient handling of vehicles in the depot.
“With low noise level and emission-free
operation, electric bus systems provide an excellent alternative for attractive
and sustainable public transport. With various degrees of automation, we can
make even further progress regarding safety, comfort and efficiency. Leveraging Volvo Group technologies, we will
demonstrate these opportunities for the future during the Volvo Ocean Race,”
says Håkan Agnevall, President Volvo Buses.
The autonomous 12-metre bus is
designed to give its passengers a safe and comfortable ride. It is programmed
to accelerate and brake gently and smoothly when starting off and stopping. At
bus stops, the bus always halts in exactly the same position, with the same gap
between the bus and the platform for convenient entry and exit. The bus is
equipped with sensors that maintain a constant watch around the vehicle.
Information from the sensors is used to navigate the vehicle, and also in the
future to prevent incidents and accidents by identifying objects approaching
the bus, adjusting its speed accordingly or stopping the bus. The autonomous
bus is designed for gentle driving so that its operation is as
energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and economical as possible.
“The technology also permits
more efficient vehicle handling when the bus is not in traffic operation. With
autonomous buses depot staff can focus on service and maintenance instead of
having to charge the batteries, drive to the bus wash and park the bus.
Tomorrow’s buses will be able to do all this on their own,” relates Håkan
The autonomous bus will also
be used for research into bus platooning, where buses drive in close convoy in
“Volvo has been a pioneer
within high capacity transport systems based on buses, so called Bus Rapid
Transit (BRT). Now we take the next step by using automation to wirelessly
connect the buses to bus trains with high flexibility”, says Håkan Agnevall,
adding that “Electric bus systems provide an attractive alternative to rail
bound solutions in the cities’ future public transport
Over the next two years the
bus will be used in two automotive research projects – FFI’s Autonomous City
Buses project and KRABAT. FFI is the Strategic Vehicle Research and Innovation
Programme, a cooperative venture between the automotive industry and the
Swedish state. KRABAT is part of the Swedish government’s joint programme
entitled “Next-generation travel and transport”, financed partly by Vinnova
through Drive Sweden.
Earlier this year Volvo Buses
launched a joint autonomous electric bus project with the leading Nanyang
Technological University (NTU) in Singapore for developing and trialling
autonomous buses in Singapore. Volvo Group has previously demonstrated
autonomous vehicles for mining and refuse operations
Source: Volvo Buses
BPW will be presenting the
innovative advances of its tried-and-tested new disc brake Eco Disc TS2 at the IAA
Commercial Vehicles 2018. The Eco Disc TS2 works with modern single-tappet
technology and the specially developed, unique BPW Offset Tappet Design (OTD):
thanks to a special configuration of the brake actuating unit with an offset
tappet, an ideal balance of the forces and moments acting on the brake pad is
achieved. The reinforced pad back plate also ensures even distribution of
pressure between the pad and the disc. This ensures that the pads wear
uniformly and so have a longer service life.
With this new design, the BPW engineers were able
to reduce the number of components. In a multifunctional adjuster (MFA) the
most important functions are logically integrated into a small number of
innovative components. This means less interfaces and so fewer possible errors.
'As we have integrated the most important
functions into a small number of innovative components, the number of
interfaces is reduced even further, whilst the robustness of the overall system
has increased,' explains Bernhard Rossenbach, Head of Product Management at
BPW. In addition, the reduction in components makes the brakes lighter and more
compact – in the case of a three-axle truck, a whole twelve kilograms of usable
load is gained.
Another advantage is the usual user
friendliness: the innovative compact design combined with BPW ECO Technology
makes dismantling the brake caliper unnecessary when changing discs – and,
compared to conventional systems, saves up to three hours in the workshop per
“The product has been perfectly thought out,
very high-quality and durable,” says Carlos Lazzarini, member of the Board of
Management, Sales Trailer Equipment & Solutions at BPW. “'These brakes ooze
the know-how and experience of BPW, the biggest trailer brake manufacturer in
Europe. As the only axle manufacturer producing its own disc brakes we know the
overall system and are a competent contact person for our customers, who we can
help quickly and directly,” added Lazzarini.
BPW Bergische Achsen KG's Eco Disc has been
demonstrating its top quality in action out on the road for nine years. More
than two million brakes have been produced in Hunsheim near the BPW
headquarters in Wiehl: it is one of the most widely sold trailer disc brakes in
the European market. With this reworking the new models TS2 3709 and TS2 4309 replace
their predecessors: axles will be gradually converted to the new generation of
trailer disc brakes from the start of 2019.
Source: IAA COMMERCIAL VEHICLES 2018
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