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Germany opens first stretch of ‘electric highway’ for trucks

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A specially designed hybrid truck travels along a 6-mile section of the Autobahn near Frankfurt, Germany, running on electricity from the experimental eHighway system. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Way back in 1982, Eddy Grant encouraged us all to “rock down to Electric Avenue.”

In more recent times, the trucking industry has increasingly set itself on the road to a more electric future, with battery life being one of the main technological hindrances, especially since charging stations are still few and far between.

Germany has moved forward with its own version of Electric Avenue with the development of an eHighway system by which trucks can draw electricity from overhead cables. On May 7, the the German government introduced the system on a roughly 6-mile stretch of the Autobahn near Frankfurt, between the city’s airport and a nearby industrial park.

This is the first test of the system, which has been in development since 2010, on a public highway in Germany. Smaller-scale tests have been done in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2016 and in Carson, California, near the Port of Los Angeles, in 2017.

Currently, one truck is operating on the system, with four more trucks expected to join it by 2020. The eHighway system is also being installed in two other locations, as well, and will be tested through 2022. The German government will decide whether to expand the system.

To get this far, Germany has spent just under $15.7 million on installing the system and invested another $77 million in designing the hybrid trucks that will use it.

The system was designed by Munich-based Siemens AG, is somewhat similar to overhead electric systems used with trains and cable cars. The hybrid trucks were built by Volkswagen AG’s Scania truck division.

The trucks are fitted with conductor rods, called pantographs, on the top of the cabin. Sensors detect when the overhead wires are available, and the pantographs are then extended upward. The truck must be traveling at 90 kilometers per hour (56 mph) or less for the connection to be made.

Once connected, the truck draws from the 670-volt direct-current cables, and the truck runs entirely on electricity. Meanwhile, the truck’s batteries are recharged so that once disconnected, the truck can continue to run on electricity before switching over to diesel.

Siemens has estimated that a truck owner could save $22,370 on fuel for every 100,000 kilometers (62,137 miles) driven. The big motivator for the German government, however, is its potential environmental impact by reducing CO2 and other emissions.

Slashing carbon emissions from transportation is a key part of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Truck transportation, meanwhile, is the world’s fastest growing source of oil demand, according to the International Transport Forum. Road transportation of goods is projected to account for 15% of the increase in global CO2 emissions until 2050.

Germany has set goals to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 40% by 2020, compared with 1990 levels, and up to 95% by 2050.

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WABCO introduces new Fleet Solutions business to support transport ecosystems worldwide

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WABCO Fleet Solutions will seek to further extend its offering in digital services to better connect the many ecosystem players in transport. (Courtesy: WABCO HOLDINGS)

BERN, Switzerland — WABCO Holdings, a global supplier of braking control systems and other advanced technologies that improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles, said it has established a new Fleet Solutions organization that will develop solutions designed to further connect today’s complex transportation ecosystem.

The new business builds on WABCO’s former Aftermarket and its Digital Customer Services units, delivering an organization that focuses on improving fleet and road transport safety, environmental efficiencies and enables leaner operations, according to Philippe Colpron, WABCO vice president and global fleet solutions leader.

WABCO’s Fleet Solutions powerfully combines both advanced digital solutions and best-in-class services under one roof, he said, adding that beyond spare parts and services offering, the expansion of its digital portfolio will be high on the agenda, including a rapid extension of its Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based technologies for commercial vehicle fleets and transporters globally.

WABCO Fleet Solutions is already developing and delivering several of these innovations, including solutions for fuel efficiency, downtime reduction, regulatory compliance, workforce management and load optimization, thanks to its advanced Fleet Management Solutions (FMS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud-based technologies.

Colpron said WABCO Fleet Solutions will seek to further extend its offering in digital services to better connect the many ecosystem players in transport, including parts distributors, maintenance workshops, goods owners, rental companies, payment service providers and vehicle component providers, to mention but a few, noting that the company’s ever expanding digital offering will allow transport operators to continuously improve their connectivity across the ecosystem enabling these to operate in an increasingly leaner, greener and safer manner.

“Modern-day transporters face a multitude of challenges in a world that is fast changing, driven by more regulation, higher customer expectations and fast paced technological change,” Colpron said. “And it is here that we want to play a key role; with a significant expansion of our digital IoT enabled and cloud-based capabilities we aim to deliver new levels of safety and efficiency for transport operators globally. What makes us unique is that we are blending this advanced digital technology with the many best-in-class services we already offer our customers today to ensure all parts of the ecosystem are connected and effective. Our mission in the extensive and complex transport process is to help the commercial road transport industry achieve zero accidents, maximum environmental efficiency and the delivery of radically leaner operations across their business.”

Included in the Fleet Solutions portfolio will be WABCO’s extensive and leading Fleet Management System suite, the recently launched TX-FUELCOMPASS, TX-TRAILERPULSE and TX-TRAILERFIT, Remote Diagnostics, a growing portfolio of advanced retrofit solutions, WABCO Academy and an extensive selection of replacement parts including OE original, Remanufactured Parts, a range of reliable budget parts called ProVia and a wide offering of repair kits distributed across more than 115 countries by over 4,600 distribution points and supported by a network of 3,100 official WABCO Service Partners.

“Every kilometer driven has a cost attached to it, every fleet wants to optimize its trailer space, reduce potential theft, save on vehicle costs, reduce expensive and unexpected downtime, ensure regulatory compliance and optimize the utilization of its remote assets,” Colpron said. “These are the basics that ensure that fleet and transport operators can continue to be profitable and it is these areas in which we will operate, offering one of the widest, most complete portfolios in the sector that combines the strength of both advanced on-board technologies and an ecosystem of automation solutions, with an extensive integrated global service network. And as the industry evolves, we are working to stay ahead of change to enable our customers to transition, benefit from, and be successful in an ever changing transportation world.”

Colpron said in support of driving improved market proximity and in a push to reflect the globally diverse sector it services, WABCO Fleet Solutions’ 900-strong team operates from over 45 markets, represented by over 30 nationalities worldwide, enabling it to be as close to its customer base as possible.

The introduction of WABCO Fleet Solutions anticipates a rapidly changing transport industry where global mega-trends such as population growth, the Internet of Things, higher customer expectations and a push towards sustaining a greener world, combined with increasingly demanding customer requirements for flexibility, speed and safety are putting further pressure on supply chains and fleet profitability.

Colpron said as the commercial vehicle industry moves decisively towards increasingly autonomous, connected and electric vehicles to meet these challenges, WABCO’s Fleet Solutions organization will drive the technological advancement that will continue to enable smarter operations across the commercial road transport ecosystem.

“We have built this new organization for and around our customers and their needs,” Colpron said. “We are delivering a portfolio of solutions that allows transporters and the ecosystem around them to turn to one partner which will support their ambitions around leaner, greener and safer operations. It’s a complex task which will require the involvement and support of a significant number of technology and cross-industry partners, delivering expertise from the many different segments that service this space. We are already actively working with many of these partners today, but also openly invite all players who feel they can add value to our mission to reach out to us. Creating a single functional ecosystem around transport operations will require the minds, experience and capabilities of many.”

 

 

 

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Volvo to introduce next iteration of Volvo Active Driver Assist in VNR, VNL, VNX

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Volvo Active Driver Assist 2.0 is a comprehensive, camera- and radar-based collision mitigation system and is now standard equipment on the new Volvo VNR and VNL series, and an option on the VNX model. Volvo is the first heavy-duty truck OEM to offer Bendix Wingman Fusion collision mitigation system as standard equipment, improving safety not only for truck drivers, but all motorists. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Volvo Active Driver Assist (VADA) 2.0, a comprehensive collision mitigation system, will be made standard in the new Volvo VNR and VNL models, and available on VNX models, later this year.

The system enhances the original VADA platform by integrating radar and camera capabilities to help drivers maintain a safe following distance through alerts and improved traffic awareness, as well as emergency braking to reduce the risk of collisions, according to Johan Agebrand, product marketing director, Volvo Trucks North America.

“The Volvo Active Driver Assist technology we first introduced with Bendix Wingman Fusion in 2017 was a groundbreaking achievement for increased efficiency and safety through automation,” Agebrand said. “Continuing that partnership, we have improved the capabilities of this collision mitigation technology across the board and are confident that VADA 2.0 will further enhance safety for all motorists.”

Agebrand said VADA is a comprehensive collision mitigation system launched by Volvo Trucks North America in 2017 that uses camera and radar sensors to detect motorized vehicles within the vehicle’s proximity.

The technology enables a series of features to activate driver alerts and foundation braking according to information detected by these advanced sensors. Available in the third quarter this year, with improvements scheduled to roll out through late 2020, VADA 2.0 offers enhancements to many features including:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) uses camera and radar sensors to determine how traffic is behaving around the truck. When a vehicle is detected, audible and visual warnings alert the driver to take action. If the driver does not respond, AEB engages to mitigate potential collisions. VADA 2.0 expands the capability of AEB beyond the current VADA, allowing it to operate across multiple lanes of traffic.
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) alerts the driver when an unintentional lane departure occurs. VADA 2.0 allows for adjustable volume and audio mute override options and enables drivers to turn off the system momentarily (10 minutes) for select functions.
  • Highway Departure Warning and Braking (HDB) automatically activates if the driver does not take corrective action after a Lane Departure Warning and the system detects that the vehicle may leave the drivable roadway, slowing the vehicle by a pre-defined MPH.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Cruise Auto Resume enables the truck to revert back to cruising speed with Cruise Auto Resume (also known as “Slow & Go”) at speeds above 10 mph, an improved feature in VADA 2.0.
  • Driver Awareness Support offers an in-cab windshield-mounted camera with data capture support to enhance driver coaching and data availability.

“We are excited to introduce Volvo Active Driver Assist 2.0 as standard in our truck models, representing the next generation of active safety products,” said Ashraf Makki, product marketing manager – technology, Volvo Trucks North America. “Every feature included in this new technology enables our products to run more efficiently and offers additional safety benefits for our customers and professional drivers.”

Future updates to VADA 2.0 will include Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Stop & Driver Go, Lane Change Support with audible alert adjustment, and standalone data capture options without the need for Lane Departure Warning.

“VADA 2.0 complements safe driving practices and is not intended to enable or encourage aggressive driving. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces proactive, comprehensive driver training and a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques,” Makki said. “Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drivewyze adds 4 locations for weigh station bypass in Pennsylvania

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The activation of the Pennsylvania bypass program gives Drivewyze equipped carriers with continuing service from the bordering states of Maryland, West Virginia and New York. (Courtesy: DRIVEWYZE)

DALLAS — Drivewyze has expanded its weigh station bypass service with four new locations in Pennsylvania.

The new sites are part of a 12-month pilot program that will allow data to be gathered to demonstrate the effectiveness of weigh station bypass, while providing bypass opportunities for Drivewyze customers.

The sites, south and northbound on Interstate 83 in Newberry (York County), and south and northbound on I-79 near Hadley (Mercer County), represent the major arteries for truck traffic in Pennsylvania. I-83 is a major lane from the south up to the New England states, while I-79 is a major thoroughfare for truckers coming down from Ontario to go through Pennsylvania for southern-bound deliveries.

According to Brian Heath, president and CEO of Drivewyze, the activation of the Pennsylvania bypass program gives Drivewyze equipped carriers with continuing service from the bordering states of Maryland, West Virginia and New York.

“With I-83 and I-79 being main passageways, customers with top safety scores will have the opportunity to get bypass service through several states,” Heath said. “This then allows law enforcement to concentrate its inspection efforts on at-risk carriers. We all want unsafe trucks off the road, along with a more efficient transportation system. By working together with the agencies in Pennsylvania we can help accomplish this goal.”

With the Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass service on their Drivewyze-enabled electronic logging devices, telematics devices, smartphones and tablets, customers can now receive bypass opportunities at more than 800 locations, in 45 states and provinces.

The Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass application is available on a number of Drivewyze partner platforms, including ISAAC Systems, Omnitracs, Orbcomm, Platform Science, Rand McNally, Switchboard, Transflo, and Trimble. The application is also available for drivers to download on Android and iOS-based smartphones or tablets.

Fleets can request a free weigh station activity report to help them determine how much time and money they could save by using Drivewyze PreClear.

Drivewyze comes with a free Weigh Station Heads-Up service for real-time notifications at more than 1,200 weigh stations and inspection sites nationwide, and Drivewyze subscribed fleets also receive the valuable Insights Safety Reporting service.

To learn more about Drivewyze, please visit www.drivewyze.com.

 

 

 

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