Introduced to the market only a few years ago, automated transmissions equipped with advanced cruise control features are now a staple of OEM offerings. Predictive cruise control systems use GPS data, onboard maps and cruise control to optimize cruising speed based on the topography of a truck’s route. As the truck enters certain types of terrain, such as rolling hills, predictive cruise control looks at engine torque, gear, grade, hill profile and cruise settings to select the correct gear to approach the approaching terrain.
The truck’s engine and transmission work together to predict the route and tackle it in the most fuel-efficient way. The speeds at which the truck approaches the hill, with the help of predictive cruise, can be pre-set by the fleets. If a driver set the predictive cruise to 62 MPH, the fleet could set a threshold between plus 5 MPH and minus 3 MPH, for example.
In terms of fuel efficiency, improvements vary based on the truck and the route it runs, but each truck manufacturer has an estimate of what a typical fleet can expect to save. Keep in mind that predictive cruise provides the greatest benefit in hilly terrain, so the more hills there are on your route, the more fuel you’ll save.