SPEEDWAY, Ind. — If you own a new car, or you’ve seen or heard the commercials, you know about the new technology features that help you save gas, lower emissions, and drive safer.
Some companies, including Indiana’s Allison Transmission and Cummins, have been working on putting that new technology in semis and buses.
They were on display at the SAE International’s COMVEC Tech Demo at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday morning.
Allison Transmission is working on Flex EV, which allows trucks and buses to be half-electric and half-hybrid.
“A lot of municipalities are wanting to go full-electric, but, even as we’ve seen here locally, that’s very difficult to do,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton says even if buses are straight electric, cities are starting to realize that the technology to keep them running, including battery-charging stations, can be very costly.
“If you can’t get to that full electric system, then this an option that bridges that gap,” he said.
Flex EV technology has the engine automatically stop when the bus remains stopped for a long amount of time, and then turn back on by itself when the bus is ready to drive again.
Cummins has been working with Purdue University on platooning.
Greg Shaver from Purdue says it’s similar to race cars drafting, where the new equipment installed on semis helps drivers save gas on hilly terrain.
“Everybody likes to burn less fuel and save money,” Shaver said. “And it’s good for the environment too.”
A company called ZF was also at the Tech Demo Thursday, showing off driver assist technology for semis. Similar to what is in newer cars and SUVs, semi drivers will be able to know when a car is in its blind zone, or if the semi driver is merging into a different lane without using its turn signal.
ZF also demonstrated a self-driving semi on Thursday. Ananda Pandy, a technical specialist, says it’s not ready for the streets yet. They’re still working with other companies on some other features and components before it’s fully-functional.