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Very Smart Powertrain

Posted: December 9, 2014

Detroit Diesel Corporation has announced that its Intelligent Powertrain Management (IPM) system will be standard on all Detroit DT12 automated manual transmissions paired with any heavy-duty Detroit engine, beginning in March 2015. IPM helps the powertrain operate as efficiently as possible, based on the truck’s momentum and the terrain it’s crossing.


IPM integrates pre-loaded terrain maps and GPS into engine and transmission functions to know the route ahead, up to one mile. Its main goal is to use the momentum of the truck most efficiently to reduce fuel consumption. It achieves this by preventing unnecessary shifts, predictively managing engine braking and fueling, shifting optimally, and precisely controlling ‘eCoast’ events.


IPM is automatically ‘on’ once the driver engages cruise control, so its benefits vary based on the percent of time the driver operates in cruise control and changes in the route traveled. Since it exploits the truck’s momentum, a route with varied topography (but no extreme change in elevations) provides the optimal opportunity for IPM to improve fuel economy.


IPM also integrates seamlessly, the company says, with the new Detroit Assurance suite of safety systems to provide “virtually effort-free driving” when cruise control is engaged. While the two operate in tandem, safety actions always take priority over fuel economy. With this integration, the IPM, Active Brake Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control work not only to ensure the driver’s safety but also to provide smooth and fuel-efficient driving, says Detroit.


The company adds that IPM technology uses many of the same behaviors of an experienced driver behind the wheel, but in many situations take actions that even the most best driver would be unable to employ such as engaging eCoast before cresting a hill.


For example, when approaching a grade, IPM will increase road speed to allow the vehicle to climb the hill with the fewest downshifts possible. It will also engage eCoast or stop fueling the engine before cresting a hill, using the truck’s momentum instead. When heading down a hill, IPM plans for this by automatically accelerating to increase the truck’s momentum, based on the approaching terrain. IPM will also keep eCoast engaged for longer periods of time with fewer interruptions, further benefiting fuel economy.


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