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OOIDA expresses concern about development of AV regulations

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Ooida expresses concern about development of av regulations
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said it understood necessary changes must be made to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to accommodate automated vehicles, including training, licensing, and inspection standards, but that many of the proposals discussed within the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are hypothetical in nature. (Courtesy: TUSIMPLE)

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said in comments in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Safe Integration of Automated Driving Systems-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles that as autonomous technology develops OOIDA is concerned that federal regulators will put on blinders and push for more technology as the answer to the industry’s problems without considering the negative impacts of these technologies.

“Regardless of their potential, it is important to understand the implications that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will have on public roadways,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said in comments sent to FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez. “Despite the various claims that AVs will lead to zero deaths, there have been real-world situations in which automation has devastatingly failed. While AVs might improve safety under certain conditions, they create new risks with dangerous outcomes. Beyond ensuring that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) provide appropriate standards for the safe operation of AVs, FMCSA must consider unforeseen concerns and practices that might offset the potential safety, mobility, and sustainability benefits from the technology.”

Spencer wrote that while FMCSA and most experts acknowledge automated trucks are years away from reality, the agency’s proposal may signal that the Department of Transportation does not value the human driver as a necessary operator in the transportation industry.

“Given the fact that 3.9 million commercial drivers deliver 70 percent of all freight worth $11.7 trillion annually while collecting $700.1 billion in gross revenue, DOT must more fully consider the practical implications that eliminating the human driver from the FMCSRs might have on the economy.”

Spencer said OOIDA understood necessary changes must be made to the FMCSRs to accommodate AVs, including training, licensing, and inspection standards, but that many of the proposals discussed within the ANPRM are hypothetical in nature.

“In this sense, OOIDA questions why the agency has chosen to focus on regulations that may or may not be necessary depending how the technology performs,” Spencer wrote. “Most of the questions laid out in the ANPRM are based on assumptions, many of which are nothing more than marketing ploys from ADS developers, rather than actual safety performance. Currently, it is difficult to fully understand what role AVs will have on the trucking industry. Without more concrete data about how AVs will function and their impact on the industry, our feedback on the ANPRM is generally speculative. As the practical impacts of the technology evolve, so too will our recommendations.”

The ANPRM posed a series of questions that it asked respondents to answer.

OOIDA was pointed in answering the question “Do the FMCSRs Require a Human Driver?”

“OOIDA fundamentally disagrees with FMCSA’s interpretation that the FMCSRs should no longer assume that the CMV driver is always a human or that a human is present onboard a commercial vehicle during its operation, provided that the vehicle is equipped with a Level 4 or Level 5 ADS and is operating within its Operation Design Domain (ODD) (in the case of Level 4). While FMCSA and most experts acknowledge automated trucks are years away from reality, this proposal may signal that DOT does not value the human driver as a necessary operator in the transportation industry. Given the fact that 3.9 million commercial drivers deliver 70 percent of all freight worth $11.7 trillion annually while collecting $700.1 billion in gross revenue, DOT must more fully consider the practical implications that eliminating the human driver from the FMCSRs might have on the economy.”

Level 4 vehicles can intervene if things go wrong or there is a system failure. In this sense, they do not require human interaction in most circumstances. However, a human still has the option to manually override. Level 4 vehicles can operate in self-driving mode. But until legislation and infrastructure evolves, they can only do so within a limited area (usually an urban environment where top speeds reach an average of 30mph). This is known as geofencing. As such, most Level 4 vehicles in existence are geared toward ridesharing. For example:

Level 5 vehicles do not require human attention―the “dynamic driving task” is eliminated. Level 5 vehicles won’t even have steering wheels or acceleration/braking pedals. They will be free from geofencing, able to go anywhere and do anything that an experienced human driver can do.

 

 

 

 

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Kenworth to collaborate with Meritor on T680E Electric powertrain development

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concept photo of Kenworth electric model
The electric Kenworth T680E will be a short-hood day cab in tractor configurations of 4x2 and 6x4 axles and as a 6x4 axle straight truck. The T680E will offer an operating range between 100 to 150 miles, depending on application. (Courtesy: Kenworth)

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Kenworth has announced it will collaborate with Meritor on electric powertrain development for Class 8 Kenworth T680E battery-electric vehicles.

The electric Kenworth T680E will be a short-hood day cab in tractor configurations of 4×2 and 6×4 axles and as a 6×4 axle straight truck. The T680E will offer an operating range between 100 to 150 miles, depending on application.

“The Kenworth T680E development in collaboration with Meritor is a major advanced technology step in Kenworth’s evolution of zero-emission electric powertrain solutions for our customers,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president. “Initial production of the Kenworth T680E is expected to begin in the fourth quarter 2020 and ramp through 2021.”

Meritor, Inc. is a global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets. Meritor is based in Troy, Michigan.

“We look forward to working closely with Kenworth to help develop the Kenworth T680E as an important, viable battery-electric answer for the day cab market,” said T.J. Reed, vice president of Global Electrification for Meritor.

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New Kenworth parts, service locations now open in Maryland and Nebraska

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Kenworth service location in Maryland
West Point Kenworth is approximately one hour south of Sioux City, Iowa, and located along Highway 275, a major trucking route in the area. (Courtesy: Kenworth)

WESTMINSTER, Md. And West Point, Neb. — Kenworth now offers additional locations for parts and services. Mid Atlantic Kenworth has added a full-service location in Westminster, Maryland, while Sioux Falls Kenworth has opened a new parts and services dealership in West Point, Nebraska.

Maryland

In Westminster, Maryland, the 17,400-square-foot facility features a full parts and service department, with 10 service bays to maximize customer uptime for truck operators passing through the area. A drivers’ lounge is available to customers while their trucks are serviced.

The facility, Kenworth Mid Atlantic Westminster is located on three acres, which offers customers ample room to park their trucks.

The Westminster, Maryland facility is located at 821 Baltimore Blvd. and its hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Nebraska

With its new parts and service dealership in West Point, Nebraska, Sioux Falls Kenworth can now offer expanded support to fleets and operators in the greater Sioux City, Iowa area.

West Point Kenworth is approximately one hour south of Sioux City and located along Highway 275. The 12,800-square-foot building is situated on 3.5 acres. The facility features an 8,600-square-foot service department with eight service bays. Also included is a 1,200-square-foot parts retail display area and a 1,900-square-foot space for bulk storage.

The West Point facility is located at 1805 Sycamore St. in West Point. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday.

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Agility partners with XStream Trucking to distribute aerodynamic TruckWings

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a patented design allows truckwings to swing out and retract
The patented TruckWings design incorporates folding panels made of impact-resistant, glass-reinforced composites attached to the rear sides and roof of the cab that automatically swing out to close the cab-to-trailer gap at highway speeds and retract at lower speeds. (Courtesy: Agility Fuel Solutions)

COSTA MESA, Cali. — Agility Fuel Solutions and XStream Trucking have announced that Agility will be the exclusive distributor of Xstream’s TruckWings aerodynamic systems for compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks in North America. Agility will also distribute TruckWings on a non-exclusive basis to the diesel truck market.

The patented TruckWings design incorporates folding panels made of impact-resistant, glass-reinforced composites attached to the rear sides and roof of the cab that automatically swing out to close the cab-to-trailer gap at highway speeds and retract against the rear of the cab at lower speeds to leave room for turning maneuvers.

“TruckWings is the first device which completely solves the turbulence problem created by the open area between the tractor and trailer that contributes significantly to a truck’s overall aerodynamic drag,” said Daniel Burrows, XStream Trucking’s founder and CEO. “We are pleased to now partner with Agility to offer TruckWings as a factory option for CNG trucks in North America.”

Agility, a business area of Hexagon Composites ASA, and XStream Trucking have previously partnered to provide TruckWings systems for over 750 CNG trucks used by major fleet operators. Agility’s leadership in providing clean fuel solutions for commercial vehicles coupled with its extensive customer base and value-added aftermarket services will expand XStream’s TruckWings solution to reach the growing CNG truck market throughout North America.

“Agility’s trucking fleet customers are focused on fuel cost savings and on increasing the fuel economy of their CNG trucks. TruckWings are a great answer to this problem, as we’ve demonstrated in real-world use with some of our major fleet customers,” said Eric Bippus, Agility’s senior vice president of global sales and marketing. “We are very pleased to enter into this distribution agreement and to continue to work with XStream Trucking to deliver clean and efficient transportation solutions for the North American trucking market.”

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