Back in the day (a long time ago), trucks weren't made for the weak. These were some burly beasts that took a lot of skill and muscle to drive on the road and even more off the road. You didn't always know what your truck was going to do with stiff manual brakes and a steering wheel that was only soft if something came loose underneath. Giant steering wheels really helped gain some leverage on manhandling older trucks around a tight mountain road.
The advancement of automotive technology sure has come a long way since the days of oil-bath air-cleaners and mechanically actuated fuel pumps. Back then, power steering wasn’t an option. Hydraulically assisted steering (power steering) made it easier to daily drive a big truck but once larger tires and bigger axles were added to the equation, steering became quite a handful while working your way up a tight technical trail.
Volvo recently debuted their Dynamic Steering System on their heavy duty FMX truck line at a quarry in Los Tres Cuandos in Ourense, Spain. Volvo claims that the steering is so smooth and easy to handle that you can literally steer it with one finger. To back up these claims and showoff the capabilities of this system, they devised a crazy challenge to see if a hamster could steer the truck from the bottom of the quarry all the way to the top. This would involve having the hungry hamster chase after a carrot in order to navigate around tight switchbacks and sharp corners while the big truck climbed up the quarry close to the edge of a steep deadly drop off.
Although we don’t really care for subjecting a hamster to spinning its wheel just to prove how light the steering inputs are, it’s pretty interesting to see somebody have the courage and lack of common sense to actually risk their life to prove a point. There’s nothing like a manufacturer backing up their wild claims, even if it is a complete gimmick. We will admit that we would have been more impressed if Volvo would have also shown off its awesome Emergency Braking System but then again the hamster probably wouldn't have liked that very much.
Check out the video of the Hamster hard up on the wheel around the tight corners of the quarry!