It took place in the Milanese areas of Milanocarri, the IVECO event, "October Truck Festival" a sort of Urban Street Day in the name of the most exclusive novelties on the range of commercial vehicles, which we also find in the logistic battalions as a support to all the activities of movement of the Army and not only. Most interesting was the interesting technology, part of which is already incorporated in the military production of Iveco Defense Vehicles.
The honors were made by the manager Manuela Rovera and all his staff, nice and prepared but also by Demo Drive of Iveco, which allowed several road tests with the Iveco commercial fleet.
Civil and military transport
We have already discussed the importance that the Army attaches to finding qualified personnel to be assigned to special and ordinary road transport. The competence of this staff in fact does not focus only on the quality of the guide but requires, in reality, the knowledge of extensive security protocols among which; the tightening of the uncovered load with the self-locking belts rather than the use of chains with a harpoon block, the correct distribution of the masses on the platform respecting the maximum height shapes, the positioning of the materials and the periodic checks on the tension of the fasteners as well as the preventive study on the a more suitable and less impactful route for the population of the minor municipalities concerned during transit.
Tasks that may seem simple and obvious, but in reality they are not, so much so that some NATO protocols on air or naval loading require additional qualification courses.
An activity therefore that does not provide preferential lanes in its development, not even for the military assigned to this delicate task. The Highway Code, as for any other body, is the only document that anyone traveling with a vehicle is required to follow. In this regard, I would like to take advantage of this space to compliment the Army leaders who often meet on the road, but also with their commanders, in fact, in addition to the perceptible street education, now out of fashion, the military stand out because they respect with great rigor and composure the traffic rules.
The only exemption for vehicles used for public service and therefore also for those of the Armed Forces, lies in the non-obligation to follow the driving times and in the registration data in the black box. But precisely in view of the importance in the civil sphere of these aspects, the same logistic departments provide to alternate staff to the guide even for short transfers. In fact, you will have met with columns of military vehicles and observe that there are always two soldiers in the cabin.
IVECO Stralis FP 510
The first impact with this model of trucks among the most widespread in the world - and there will be a reason - dates back to a few years ago with one of the first series to 16 reports ZF slap, certainly more analogical, where the capabilities of the tenant replaced the current on-board electronics, subsequently inserted to increase active safety and simplification in intervention diagnostics while offering a constant picture of both the state of health of the vehicle and the most suitable road conditions.
I remember this vehicle as a nice vehicle to drive already several years ago, even if very far from the 190.48 concept with gearbox Eaton Fuller, where the symbiosis and the real skills between driver and vehicle made the difference between "improvised with license" and professional drivers. Its evolution, which probably many professionals in the industry will consider a little too technological and electronic, seems to have the green light to reconcile a good compromise between modern technology and pleasure and need to have a considerable power and torque in the most varied situations .
I state that the Stralis FP 510 version with Abarth logo is the flagship model advertised, but its avant-garde components, putting the spotlight in the previous series for questionable assemblies and squeaks, will also be included in the production of other versions of Stralis, like road tractors, trucks or tractors.
For the moment the FP 510 does not seem to have to enlist in the Army, being still in perfect shape the series with 500 horses stationed in the logistic battalions, however different finds applied on the latter model we have probably already known about the tactics of Iveco Defense Vehicles, where, as you know, the priorities are the reliability and safety of military personnel.
Its engine is the known Cursor 13 four-valve with a displacement of 13 thousand cc and eVGT turbine; does not need any introduction for its proven quality, a power unit that offers the best of itself even as consumption and running costs, being then associated with the new ratio of its Double clutch Hi Tronix which offers 1.100 revs a bridge ratio equal to 2: 47, a very interesting and appreciable value.
The suspension and rear axle are also new, with concepts that make maintenance easier by significantly improving drivability even with loads of 44 tons.
HI-TRONIX, this is the name of the new transmission it replaces AS Tronic; an 12 marches with new ratios and the adoption of the double clutch.
After opening the door and climbed the three steps I sat at the wheel, watching on the dashboard, to the right of the steering wheel, a pushbutton panel with three keys: RN D. To consent to insert a gear you have to press the brake pedal while maintaining pressed the D or R key a few seconds, the gear changes to the reduced gear range.
There is also the Creep key for millimeter maneuvers, perhaps under the spotlight; after having activated and lifted the brake pedal, a sensor on the electro pedal, begins to make the clutch work in low gear mode to avoid overheating, giving the truck a millimeter forward or backward movement that stops completely lifting the brake.
ANTI-IDLING is the system that allows you to save money by recording stops with the engine running and automatically turning off the engine after a predefined period, without clearly interrupting the previously set travel and location settings.
HI-CRUISE with GPS technology is a novelty on a civilian truck, although many industrial vehicle companies probably offer it with other names; nevertheless in the military field and with decidedly different parameters something similar has been brought on the battlefields by the soldiers. The system collects the parameters of traffic, speed, traffic and more, synchronizing them with the kinematic system of the vehicle and offering substantially greater safety during travel and optimization of operating costs.
A computer therefore, which stores all driving data, even gear changes, translating them in real time on and for the most suitable route. Some of you will be thinking that these are the basis for a future autonomous driving ...? "Well, as far as I'm concerned, I hope not ..."
CAN BUS is a technology or better an electric line to speed up the interventions and the diagnosis of the components. We could probably argue that the meters of cables (really many) that pass through the heavy vehicle and subject to humidity, as well as its wiring, have been reduced; the number of relays has also decreased, a system exceeded often responsible for numerous false contacts and alarms that ignited red lights on the dashboard for no reason. The Can Bus system connects the control units with a single information line that is more protected and above all of easy diagnostics and intervention, covering all the systems and elements present on the vehicle - powertrain, engine, power take-offs, pressure gauges, on-board electronics, etc. - to be constantly monitored.
A similar system is equipped on the Multi-role Medium Tactical Vehicle, better known as VTMM Bear, where reliability in all conditions is essential and the same system probably has the characteristics to communicate the state of maintenance of the armored even to distant locations.
Even if the data is not confirmed for its understandable delicacy, consider that during a nuclear detonation, the generated electromagnetic field can interfere with interruptions on the electrical components that would stop the vehicle. For this reason, in the military field, both the anti-magnetic surfaces and the simplification of a complex and fundamental electrical system, as probably is the possibility of moving to the traditional mechanical analogue use that would allow the convoy to move away after an attack.
MY ROAD TEST
I start driving after being captured by the logo Abarth imprinted on the special series in the company of the sympathetic Demo Drive Roberto Milione, which immediately puts me at ease explaining the news on the new dashboard Stralis where concepts of multimedia interactivity and modern devices are crossed.
There is even a key that reduces torque, a kind of DNA like on the Alfa, and depending on the setting, the performance and mapping of the control unit changes, so that consumption is reduced, making our Stralis FP 510 suitable for specific needs of the moment.
As soon as I get out on the street, I make the first turn to the right and I am very wide, because I am used to having twelve meters behind me with the buses. Here, however, the road tractor is only 6 meters long and I can certainly afford a greater agility, ideal for testing in the industrial area.
After a few minutes of familiarization with really many digital information before the eyes, I notice the silence of the vehicle (I must say that the sound of the engine I like ...) and decide to try the changes of the new HI-TRONIX, first in automatic mode and then manual.
One quarter of the accelerator and the FP runs off stopping this feeling for a few seconds only for the robotized passages, but at the first stop, where I arrive using the hydraulic retarder retarder that with strength and sweetness brings me up to 5 km / h, I decide to start interacting personally on the choices of the control unit and positioning the HI-TRONIX in manual mode.
There are no lunettes behind the steering wheel for gearshifts, but the same lever of slow motion used vertically allows the grafting of its 12 gears, and the first five ... I pulled them well!
The Stralis changes when I decide but with its timing, and its 510 horses are all out even if controlled by electronics that prevents power skating even without the setting Winter; in short, it seems that I want to get rid of some whim only in the straight line, in principle the safest condition.
But it's not over, at one point our vehicle is positioned in front of us at a lower speed and the Stralis under test, through sensors detects the speed of the latter by independently adjusting the safety distance and setting a speed that can not be changed, a few km / h less than the vehicle in front.
Comfortable and pleasant, and I do not deny that despite the limitation to 80 km / h imposed by the CS, I would have continued to drive it to Rome, perhaps wrapped up by its seats with a pleasant sporty look; before saying goodbye to Roberto I wanted to do some millimeter maneuvering even in reverse to realize the fluidity of the transmission that, without jerking (quite often with robots), ended with satisfaction.
What to say? Interacting with the motorized vehicle is in my DNA being passed by the historians 190.48, 370 bus or ACM 52 with gear, but I admit that fascinates me and above all I understand that for everyday use is a tireless ally and a faithful and helpful workmate.
I tried the DAILY, the alter ego of MUV ... as comfortable as a bus
Awesome! Without ifs and buts. While I was there, on the square there was a version of the New Daily in 35C 14 van version, with 140 horsepower delivered from its F1A 2.3 cc to 4 cylinders with an internal capacity of 16 cubic meters.
After observing the new chassis and the thicknesses of the truck-type C-beams, I would like to know about its new automatic transmission to 8 HI-MATIC ratios, a solution probably used on future Military Utility Vehicle / 70.20.
Sergio Monga, Iveco's salesman, is my guide, and together with him I start the same stretch of road made up of long straights and narrow passages.
I must be honest, I was very captivated by its comfort, performance and recovery, but above all by its change, its sweetness with a mapping that is suitable for the weights and with an exclusion clutch of the converter that comes off just before the arrest , as on heavy vehicles with hydraulic automatic transmission. Of course, the eight ratios help a lot in the fluidity of driving - above all urban - but it is the whole of technology, suspension, engine, chassis and measures that make it one of the best commercial vehicles in production.
The impression of driving is that transmitted by a comfortable bus, even in miniature, to such an extent that suddenly I meet a real bus in a narrow passage, and instinctively, as if I drive a bus, slow down to facilitate it its transit in the opposite direction, even if by eye, I would have had the space to pass at the same time.
Before returning to the base I have to make a left turn and probably I'm in fifth gear, but I decide to climb without using the joystick of the gearbox, preferring instead to press the accelerator in Kick Down to lower the most suitable lower gear, and immediately release the pedal from the accelerator, slightly touching the brake, preventing any upper gearshifts.
The change Hi-Matic with extreme speed, scale the most suitable lower gear which provides a pleasant and ready engine brake, as I would have done with the manual version.
Incredible is its steering angle and its handling, in short, to tell you all struck me and captured much more than Stralis, but maybe as a bus driver I'm a bit 'part ...
I dedicate the article to a very special person, simple and perhaps too rare today.
Dr. Luca Rota is a doctor and a volunteer from Olginate Lecco, awarded by the Presidency of the Republic for the will of the citizens to "Official Knight" for putting at risk their safety in '08 saving the life of a boy after a tragic accident.
A natural goodness and altruism that for him sound like a civic duty and above all of concreteness towards the weakest, the most isolated, a genuine natural feeling and not hypocritical even during natural disasters like the earthquake in Abruzzo. A commitment that continues also at "The Italian Relief Corps of the Order of Malta" of Milan, whose "Modernity for Tradition" motto translates, discarding a thousand frills, to a constant proximity of the volunteers to the suffering of man in the world .
Thanks Luca for what you do!
(photo: author / web)