In Volvo Trucks' latest live test film 'The Epic Split', Hollywood action star Jean-Claude Van Damme performs one of his world-famous splits between two Volvo FM trucks as they are driven in reverse.
However, the incredible stunt – a world first – was only made possible by using Volvo Dynamic Steering.
Volvo Dynamic Steering – an innovative new system developed by Volvo Trucks – greatly improves precision and stability in any driving situation. It works through an electronically-controlled electric motor that is adjusted around 2,000 times per second to create highly precise steering. When driving in reverse, Volvo Dynamic Steering offers excellent control with minimal effort.
"The film is the perfect demonstration of the directional stability Volvo Dynamic Steering can offer," explains Jan-Inge Svensson, the engineer behind the development of the system's software at Volvo Trucks. "The stability and control are so good that you can reverse a truck over a long distance with very high precision, which is exactly what we've had to do in this film. It had to be perfect – right down to the last centimetre."
At low speeds, Volvo Dynamic Steering makes steering virtually effortless and improves manoeuvrability. The electric motor also automatically regulates the steering and compensates for irregularities that feed through to the steering wheel, such as side winds or bumps in the road surface. As a result, the need to constantly make small adjustments to the steering is greatly reduced. Furthermore, Volvo Dynamic Steering - when released - will also automatically return the steering wheel to its starting position, further reducing strain on the driver.
In the film 'The Epic Split', it is Volvo Dynamic Steering that enables the two drivers in the trucks to maintain the exact same distance and speed while travelling in reverse. Jean-Claude Van Damme's athleticism and the skill of the drivers are vital to the stunt's success, but without Volvo Dynamic Steering the feat would not have been possible.
"The capabilities of the system not only help make a great film – they are also very practical for truck drivers, especially in situations where a lot of steering input is needed," adds Jan-Inge Svensson. "For example, reversing in tight areas or over rough terrain. When reversing with a trailer, small changes to the steering can make a big difference to the vehicle's direction and the effort required from the driver in an ordinary truck can be much higher. However, Volvo Dynamic Steering will help the driver maintain a straight line and provide far superior control of the truck."