Environmental Control Units/HVAC
Well over 1 million commercial trucks with sleeper cabins are on highways in the United States. These trucks are typically used for long distance hauling, and it is common for drivers to sleep in their trucks. Current practice is for the drivers to let their engines idle while sleeping, so that the sleeper cabin can be heated or cooled as needed by the vehicle heating or air conditioning system.
The practice of engine idling while sleeping is costly in terms of fuel consumption and engine maintenance. It also contributes significantly to CO, HC, and NOx emissions. For this reason, many European countries strictly forbid idling longer than a few minutes. Noise is also an issue with truck idling, and many communities have adopted noise ordinances prohibiting commercial truck engine idling while the drivers sleep.
Thus the need for comfort control of sleeper cabins without engine idling is great. Products have been introduced to meet this need, but have not achieved commercial success. Such products include heat and chill storage charged by the vehicle heating and AC systems, and small diesel engines driving air conditioning compressors. These products have failed in the market place due to poor performance, excessive maintenance requirements, and high first cost.
The no-idle climate control (NICC) system being developed and tested by Rocky Research under sponsorship of the U. S. Army TACOM has shown great results, is expected to overcome the problems encountered with other systems and achieve commercial success.