Volvo introduces new long-haul tractor, makes driver assist system standard

Updated Jul 16, 2017
Volvo’s new VNL tractor.Volvo’s new VNL tractor.

Volvo Trucks North America on Tuesday unveiled its new VNL tractor, the first major overhaul of its flagship long-haul model since the VN model was introduced in 1996. The announcement came during a press conference at Volvo’s new state-of-the-art customer center at its New River Valley manufacturing facility in Dublin, Va.

“The new Volvo VNL builds on our long-standing commitment to deliver the safest, most comfortable and most efficient long-haul truck on the market,” said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Infused with new innovations and technologies, we’re proud to expand upon that commitment to our current and future customers with this new design.”

The new VNL shares many design cues with its VNR regional-haul sibling that was introduced in April to replace the VNM. It will be available in five cab configurations, including day cab, 40-inch flat-roof, 70-inch mid-roof and 70- and 77-inch high-roof options.

Volvo’s new VNL will be available in three different fuel economy packages capable of delivering a 7.5 percent fuel economy improvement over the current Volvo VNL XE fuel efficiency spec. Volvo said 5.5 percent of the improvement is a result of a turbo compound option for the D13, available in 2018. A 2.47:1 rear axle ratio and aerodynamic improvements each add 1 percent fuel economy.

The VADA system uses radar and cameras to detect objects and attempt to prevent crashes.The VADA system uses radar and cameras to detect objects and attempt to prevent crashes.

Volvo also announced Tuesday it has made its Advanced Driver Assist System standard on all VNL and VNR models.

The VADA system includes the Bendix Wingman Fusion, a camera- and radar-based collision mitigation system that is integrated with Volvo’s in-dash Driver Information Display.

The system combines camera and radar sensors to detect metallic objects and vehicles that are stationary or vehicles braking in front of a truck. If a metallic object of size is detected, audible and visual warnings are made to alert the driver, including red warning light flashes reflected on the windshield. Warnings are displayed up to 3.0 seconds before an imminent impact with the stationary object. If the system recognizes the stationary object as a vehicle, and the driver does not take action, VADA will automatically alert the driver and engage the brakes to help the driver mitigate the potential collision. Braking assist is available at speeds greater than 15 mph.

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VADA also works with cruise control to help drivers maintain a set following distance behind the forward vehicle. If the forward vehicle slows down, Volvo Active Driver Assist will alert the driver and, if necessary, reduce throttle to the engine, apply the engine brake, downshift the Volvo I-Shift automated manual transmission and apply the foundation brakes and brake lights to help the driver maintain the set following distance gap based on the speed of the two vehicles.

Volvo unveiled the system last October.