Some intriguing new heavy truck technology approaches

Here are a few of the more innovative technologies being looked at for heavy duty vehicles:

  • Compressorless air conditioning - Such systems dehumidify the air with desiccants rather than the traditional "compress/decompress" refrigeration cycle, and compressor cores would be eliminated.
  • Electrochromic windows - These are smart windows that have technology to change the window shading depending on the temperature difference between outside and inside. In-cab ergonomics and trailer top applications would help control thermal conditions.
  • Electrofuel - Biopharmaceutical researchers are developing pathways that feed carbon dioxide, water and energy to enzymes to create long-chain carbon molecules that function like fossil fuels at one-tenth the cost of current biofuels.
  • Advanced tire sensors - These go way beyond simply gauging pressure. They also measure the tire's temperature, load and acceleration forces. The truck's computer can suggest a higher tire pressure to compensate for extreme cornering behavior or high loads. These sensors are approximately the size of a quarter and are easy to install because they affix to the tire, not to the valve stem.
  • Wireless force sensing bolts/studs - These fasteners utilize internal gaging to indicate bolt tension due to preload with strain gage accuracy. They provide a means for accurate, independent inspection of an assembled bolt for preload, thereby enhancing the structural integrity and reliability of both the bolt and the assembly.