Thursday, September 28, 2017
Listening to feedback from our customers at the gemba, UD Trucks has introduced the new ESCOT-Ⅵ automated manual transmission on All New Quon, focusing on even better fuel economy and easier driving.
Our engineers also added several other innovative features. Among them is Foretrack*, which predicts the road ahead to reduce fuel consumption on hilly roads, and Escape which makes it easy for any driver to get out of a ditch in slippery conditions.
Three of the UD Trucks engineers who worked on its development explain what this new transmission is all about.
Eco-driving is now easier than ever
“My department’s objective was to collect customer requirements from the gemba to be able to understand market expectations and integrate them into the ESCOT-Ⅵ project. A top priority for customers has always been better fuel economy and, today, they are also looking for an easier-to-drive truck – not only to alleviate driver fatigue whilst contributing to safer driving – but also to mitigate the shortage of experienced drivers.
Taking into account the demands of the customers, ESCOT-Ⅵ is simple to operate and focuses on ECO Drive. All ECO functions are included under ECO mode, such as ESCOT-Roll, and the acceleration limiter function. ECO mode is automatically activated at engine start; simply select D and drive, and let ESCOT-Ⅵ automatically optimize gearshifts for the best fuel economy. When he or she requires the full power of the GH engine, the driver can still deselect the ECO mode, by a simple finger push on the ECO off button conveniently positioned on the centralized control steering wheel.“
Aki Hoizumi, Vehicle Product Offering Manager
Escape function makes ESCOT-VI particularly recommended for off-road driving
“To reach the desired objectives, our engineers reworked both the mechanical and electronic aspects of the ESCOT transmission. For example, mechanics-wise, we worked on the counter shaft performance to improve gearshift speed; electronics-wise, we optimized our shifting software to reduce fuel consumption.
For an easier operation, we engineered a new gear lever with a straight shifting pattern.
To assist the drivers further, we improved the performance of the reverse gear, although we had already received positive feedback on the ESCOT-Ⅴ from customers. With the ESCOT-Ⅵ, it’s even easier to reverse at a slow steady speed.
Another breakthrough enhancement via software engineering is the new Escape function. Feedback from dumper truck drivers or customers who deal with tough road conditions on a daily basis brought this to our attention. When the truck gets stuck in a ditch on snowy or muddy ground, now a driver can simply press and release the accelerator pedal, and the vehicle will start to sway back and forth to get itself out of its sticky predicament.
With ESCOT-Ⅵ, even a new driver is now able to handle this type of situation as easily as an experienced driver with a manual gearbox.”
Kunihiro Kaneko, Project Leader for Automated Manual Transmission Project
Predicting the road ahead with the Foretrack function
“It has been a great pleasure developing ESCOT-Ⅵ, because we know our objectives address customers’ needs spot on, and the resulting improvements turned out so well. We are confident in its performance and excited to see it in use.
We tested it relentlessly, in all kinds of situations, such as on mountain roads, highways or in traffic jams. A driver will feel very clearly the improvements over the already excellent ESCOT-V.
One of the most interesting new functions is Foretrack. It is one of the new exclusive fuel-efficient solutions that is included with ESCOT-Ⅵ. Foretrack constantly learns the typography of the road the truck is driving, then from the second time on the same road, Foretrack will automatically optimize the speed and gear-shifting, in the most fuel efficient way possible. The driver just focuses on steering the truck. The function works under ECO mode with Cruise Control activated. The truck knows when and how much to accelerate, when to use engine break and exhaust break to control the speed, reaching maximum fuel efficiency driving the second time on the same route. It’s a complex system that works with the GPS and ESCOT-Roll; we did a lot of testing on the road to prove its reliability.”
Akira Mutou, Feature Test Engineer for Driving Performance and Fuel Economy
* Foretrack function is available in selected markets.