Competition is king. Beat your peers, or beat your own past driving performance. Kenworth offers this opportunity with the introduction of its Driver Performance Assistant option for new Kenworth T680 and T880 models specified with PACCAR MX-13 engines and automated transmissions.
"Competition breeds improved performance. Kenworth's Driver Performance Assistant is a built-in virtual driver's coach and a tool to improve driver performance for fleets and owner operators alike," said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.
When spec'd and enabled on Kenworth's Driver Performance Center for the T680 and T880, drivers receive immediate feedback on how their driving impacts wear on brakes as well as fuel economy.
"For example, the system lets drivers know how smoothly they braked to a stop after exiting the freeway. It monitors whether they have a soft or hard foot on the brakes. It also 'rewards' them with visual acknowledgment when using the engine brake since that also brings benefits to longer brake life," Swihart said.
"The system also provides feedback to how they handled the driving challenge," said Swihart. "The 'assistant' may calculate if they performed at a very high level - 80 percent or more - or it may give them a low score to help indicate where improvement may be made."
During rest periods, drivers can push a button to view trip performance. "It displays an overall performance chart - it might show the driver is coasting at a 90 percent efficiency rating, and gently braking 80 percent of the time," said Swihart. "It then combines the scores to give an overall driver performance rating."
What's more, the Kenworth Driver Performance Assistant gives reminder tips - when the truck is parked - to help maximize fuel economy. "For example, a snowflake icon can appear to remind the driver that unnecessary air conditioning usage can pull down fuel economy by up to 2 percent. Or it might show a reminder that engine idling can consume up to half a gallon of fuel per hour. These little message reminders can help make more of a positive impact on performance than one might think," said Swihart.
"We think fleets will utilize this technology, especially to help new or inexperienced drivers maximize performance. It's also a tool for those fleets with driver performance incentives in place. Owner operators that want to maximize driver performance also will benefit," said Swihart. "In addition, the Driver Performance Assistant can be customized and programmed to offer performance settings selected by fleets or owner operators."
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World's Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth's Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.