Ever seen a hamster steering a 15-ton truck on a rough road in a quarry? That would be impossible, many may say. But a hamster really did steer a truck, with less effort, on quarry tracks. Volvo Trucks uploaded a trending two-minute clip on YouTube featuring Charlie the hamster and the new Volvo FMX equipped with Volvo Dynamic Steering.
The clip intends to highlight Volvo Trucks’ Volvo Dynamic Steering system that enables drivers to steer a fully loaded truck without effort. During low speeds, an electric motor replaces the driver's muscle power, but still delivers perfect steering feel in all operating conditions.
Jan-Inge Svensson, the engineer behind the development of the software for the Volvo Dynamic Steering at Volvo Trucks, remarked that the system makes a heavily laden vehicle so easy to maneuver “that it can be steered with just one finger.” He added that on the road, the Volvo Dynamic Steering “offers unbeatable directional stability.”
Volvo Dynamic Steering is based on a conventional mechanical steering system in which a steering shaft connects to a steering gear. A hydraulic servo unit then generates force that helps the driver turn the truck’s road wheels.
Volvo Dynamic Steering features an electronically controlled electric motor attached to the steering shaft that works with the hydraulic power steering, and is adjusted thousands of times per second by the electronic control unit (ECU).
The electric motor adds extra force during low speeds and regulates the steering and compensates for irregularities at higher speeds. Information from sensors placed on a number of different locations in the truck continuously provides information to the ECU like road speed and the gear currently engaged, according to Sten Ragnhult, who developed Volvo Dynamic Steering’s hardware at Volvo Trucks.