Category Archives: Hot Topics

Driver-less Trucks May be the Future

In a ceremony at Hoover Dam, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) unveiled the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, what it says is the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the U.S.

The vehicle promises to reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion, and have less of an environmental impact than other trucks.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles granted it a license to operate on public roads in the state. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval affixed a license plate to the truck and took part in the ceremonial first drive.

In 2012, Nevada was the first state to approve a license for Google to test its autonomous car.
Driver-Less Truck License Plate

Freightliner Inspiration autonomous truck Nevada license (Daimler Trucks North America)

(Daimler Trucks North America)
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is not driverless. Its highway pilot technology links together cameras and radar with lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering and other monitoring systems. This combination creates what is called a Level 3 autonomous vehicle operating system that enables the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions. The autonomous vehicle system is responsible for maintaining legal speed, staying in the selected lane, keeping a safe braking distance from other vehicles, and slowing or stopping the vehicle based on traffic and road conditions. The vehicle monitors changes in conditions that require transition back to driver control when necessary in highway settings. The driver is in control of the vehicle for exiting the highway, on local roads and in docking for making deliveries.

The driver is a key part of a collaborative vehicle system, according to Richard Howard, senior vice president, DTNA. “With the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, drivers can optimize their time on the road while also handling other important logistical tasks, from scheduling to routing,” he said. “The autonomous vehicle technology not only contributes to improved safety and efficiency, but allows for improved communication through connectivity and integration.”

Freightliner Driver-less Truck

Other manufacturers are also developing vehicles that partially automate driving but do not eliminate drivers completely.

Also, while the DTNA exhibit is the first on roads in the U.S., Australia mining firms have been using driverless trucks for hauling at iron ore mines.

DTNA unveiled two trucks with this equipment.

Trucking industry analysts and media will be given the chance to ride in the two trucks on public roads near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Wednesday as the vehicle operates in autonomous mode.

Freightliner Trucks is a division of Daimler Trucks North America, headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

This article courtesy of InsuranceJournal.com. Original article can be found at: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/05/06/367055.htm

Safety & Compliance

Now four years old, the safety enforcement program known as Compliance, Safety, Accountability relies on almost nothing but numbers. And as numerous studies keep telling us — and as many trucking professionals already know — those numbers are not always reliable.

At the top of the list are your CSA scores, perhaps flawed but visible to the world and used to decide if the DOT needs to pay you a visit, or at least send you a letter.

Pull the curtain on those scores and you can find a mass of interesting and (arguably) more reliable data: the raw numbers coming in from enforcement personnel on the front lines.

Besides giving insight into your CSA scores, the enforcement data can reveal important clues about your drivers and overall safety management. It can tell you where to focus your compliance efforts.

Continue reading

What You Should Know About the DOT New Entrant Safety Audit

New entrants looking to conduct interstate operations within the United States need to pass a safety audit before being legally registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

What does the audit consist of?

The safety audit will consist of a review of the carrier’s safety management system. The areas of review include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Driver qualifications
  • Accident register
  • Driver record of duty status
  • Controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Hazardous materials

Continue reading

The Plight of the New Entrant

mcsap2Every entity or person who has a dream of being in heaven as they drive an eighteen wheel truck across the country with a trailer full of commodities must first pass through a little hell. The life of a “New Entrant” begins simply with a desire to work for yourself instead of somebody else but like everything else in life the learning process can be a hard road to travel.

So you wake up one morning and decide that what you need is your own operating authority. You diligently fill out your MCS-150 (DOT Number application) and OP-1 (Motor Carrier Authority). You push the enter key filled with excitement at the prospect of your new adventure and before your back can hit the chair your phone rings. The journey begins.

Continue reading

A Little Note on Fuel Economy

Fuel EconomyThe low-hanging fruit when it comes to fuel economy has all been picked. Now truck and engine makers are examining every part and component of the truck in exacting detail to figure out where they can cut the smallest amount of drag or the small parasitic loss of power that drag down fuel economy. Here are two examples used on the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution:

No Antenna Drag
Bulky cab and roof antennas will no longer cause air resistance in the new generation of Freightliner trucks, while making it impossible to damage the antennas during operation.

Continue reading

Jason’s Law

Recently out on the road I passed a truck with a sign posted on his truck that read, “I support Jason’s Law.” Working so close to the trucking industry, I was a little embarrassed that I was not familiar with this law. A quick Google search informed me that “Jason’s Law” is and initiative to provide increased safety for our hard working truck drivers while out on the road. The bill was passed by the Senate on March 13, 2012 by a 74 to 22 vote.

Continue reading