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Platooning Peloton’s vision for trucking: drivers lead, technology follows

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Driver Assistive Truck Platooning is providing real safety and fuel efficiency benefits today, according to Peloton Technology CEO Josh Switkes. (Courtesy: PELOTON TECHNOLOGY)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Peloton Technology Inc., a connected and automated vehicle technology company, Wednesday unveiled its vision for doubling the productivity of drivers through the development of its new Level 4 Automated Following solution during the Automated Vehicle Symposium 2019 here.

“We’ve taken a different approach to commercial introduction of automation in Class 8 vehicles.” said Peloton Technology CEO Josh Switkes. “We see the drivers as the world’s best sensors, and we are leveraging this to enable today’s drivers to be more productive through automated following platoons.”

Peloton’s Automated Following is an advanced platooning system using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology to enable a single driver to drive a pair of vehicles and marks the next major milestone in Peloton’s unique approach to deploying automation to increase the safety and productivity of commercial vehicles.

Platooning and automated following systems work by utilizing V2V communications and radar-based active braking systems, combined with vehicle control algorithms. Peloton’s proprietary technologies link pairs of heavy trucks for connected driving that improves aerodynamics, fuel economy, and safety.

Peloton’s Level 1 (driver assistive) system, PlatoonPro, has a driver in both the lead and follow trucks. The driver in the follow truck steers, but the system controls the powertrain and brakes to manage the following distance very precisely and to provide immediate reaction to whatever acceleration or braking the lead truck performs.

PlatoonPro has now operated with six customers and additional customer fleet trials are under way. In each case the customer and Peloton have seen a perfect safety record.

“Customer trucks have shown fuel savings averaging over 7%, and we have seen very high percentages of miles platooned, as high as 90%,” Switkes said. “Platooned miles per day have exceeded 700 miles per truck in some cases, resulting in projected fuel savings per truck up to $7,000-10,000 per year.”

Platooning is the key enabler to making driverless semi-trucks a reality, Switkes said.

“Leveraging experience in deploying a commercial L1 platooning system, PlatoonPro, Peloton’s new Automated Following system is an SAE Level 4 autonomous solution that connects a fully-automated follow truck with a driver-controlled lead truck to platoon. The V2V link allows the human driven lead truck to guide the steering, acceleration and braking of the follow truck and connects the safety systems between the trucks. with minimal latency,” he said.

Peloton’s unique approach of combining the experience of a human driver in the lead truck with state-of-the-art sensors and hardware in the follow truck greatly simplifies many of the technical challenges the vehicle automation industry faces with deploying standalone SAE Level 4 driverless systems.  Peloton will be able to bring this solution to broad applicability for the industry on a rapidly increasing set of routes, weather conditions, and traffic conditions, expanding these operations much more rapidly than standalone (single vehicle) L4 solutions.

The professional driver is at the heart of the new Peloton L4 Automated Following solution much like they are with Peloton’s L1 commercial system, PlatoonPro.

“We continue to leverage drivers for their skills, experience and intuition, and engage with both Peloton test drivers as well as fleet drivers in all aspects of product design, development and testing,” Switkes said. “Our vision with the new L4 Automated Following product is to develop and commercially deploy a solution that will enable drivers to benefit from the ongoing commercial driver shortage by doubling the amount of freight they can haul in a single trip. This will result in improved work for drivers through better routes, schedules, and compensation, as well as better quality of life through expanding hub-to-hub and relay-style operations that allow drivers to be home with their families every night.”

 

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OOIDA expresses concern about development of AV regulations

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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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Chevron launches new customer-focused campaign ‘Engineered with Purpose’

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Launched in 1999, the Delo Truck was the first-of-its-kind, a mobile educational center bringing information to their customers. During the last 20 years, it has traveled nearly three-quarters of a million miles in the United States and Canada. (Courtesy: CHEVRON)

DALLAS  ––  Chevron Products Co., a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., maker of  technologically advanced engine oils, lubricants and coolants revealed at the Great American Trucking Show here its new customer-focused campaign “Engineered with Purpose,” re-affirming their commitment to moving their customer’s business forward through application of the most advanced technology.

As part of the reveal in Dallas at GATS, Chevron unveiled a new take on its mobile education center, the Delo Traveling Technology Lab, with interactive technologies, including virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality exhibits.

“Our new campaign is a recognition of our customers’ need for better education and solutions to drive their business forward,” said James Booth, commercial sector manager at Chevron. “The Delo Traveling Technology Lab is the latest step in our commitment to excellence for our customers; the type of commitment that has made Chevron Delo the No. 1 choice for fleets and on-highway OEM factory fill.”

A major milestone in Chevron strengthening its commitment to its customers is the expansion of their fully re-formulated Delo 400 product line re-engineered in 2016 to meet API CK-4 and FA-4 specs, Booth said, adding that Chevron continues to look to solve specific customer challenges in the ongoing development of Delo 400 product line with a goal to not only exceed API requirements, but solve customer issues not currently being addressed in the market.

Three years later, Booth said Delo is the No. 1 engine oil choice with small, medium and large fleets according to MacKay 2017 report. By the end of 2019, Delo will be the factory fill oil for 85% of North American OEMs.

Booth said Chevron had solidified its commitment to its customers, engineering products with purpose by building solutions that further their customers’ businesses through innovation and advanced technology.

Just this year, he said Chevron has launched a number of products including:

  • Greatest number of heavy-duty engine oil products with API SN PLUS – protecting both heavy duty vehicles and modern gasoline pick-up truck engines.
  • Delo 400 XSP-FA 5W-30 delivering “the best engine oil life and fuel efficiency in the Delo product line.”
  • Delo ELC Advanced Coolants solving recent issues with nitrited coolants and new aluminum radiators

As part of Chevron’s broader campaign, by year-end, it will be introducing a major breakthrough in oil technology engineered to solve after-treatment issues brought to light by its OEM partners and customers.

Launched in 1999, the Delo Truck was the first-of-its-kind, a mobile educational center bringing information to their customers. During the last 20 years, it has traveled nearly three-quarters of a million miles in the United States and Canada, visiting thousands of people in the process. The Delo Truck has had a direct impact on customer business, and development of their operations, and maintenance professionals.

Chevron has been a pioneer of using digital technology to help the trucking industry understand the latest trends and delivering business insights in a timely manner, Booth said.  Today’s launch of the travelling technology lab is a further leap in understanding and addressing customers’ needs.

Following 15 months of work with top agencies, Chevron’s Delo Traveling Technology Lab includes:

  • Eleven exhibits including state-of-the-art VR and AR equipment to allow customers an interactive experience to learn more about Chevron’s offerings from engine maintenance to proper lubrication practices

The Delo Traveling Technology Lab will be traveling throughout the United States and Canada, making scheduled stops at various trade shows and customer events in the coming years.

 

 

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DTNA delivers first Freightliner eCascadia models to Penske, NFI

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NFI and Penske Truck Leasing were the recipients of the first two Freightliner eCascadia models built by Daimler Trucks North America. (Courtesy: DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Nine days after Daimler Trucks North America said it was getting ready to deliver to customers the first Freightliner aCascadia models, they said they had done it.

On August 12, the company reported in a news release that it had produced two eCascadias that were to be shipped soon.

On Wednesday, August 21, DTNA said the fete had been accomplished.

The customers were Penske Truck Leasing of Reading, Pennsylvania, and NFI of Camden, New Jersey, were the customers.

The trucks are part of Freightliner’s Electric Innovation Fleet and both customers will use their vehicles to test the integration of battery electric trucks into large-scale fleet operations.

“Co-creation is the cornerstone of DTNA’s strategy to rapidly develop and deploy battery electric trucks. DTNA’s partnerships with customers like Penske and NFI provide valuable feedback for the final design of our trucks, as well as the design of the surrounding e-mobility ecosystem,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA. “DTNA’s holistic approach is vital to advancing viable transportation solutions from which society as a whole will benefit.”

Nielsen said the Freightliner Innovation Fleet is supported by a partnership between DTNA and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) which focuses on improving air quality in the South Coast Basin and partially funded the Innovation Fleet with a nearly $16M grant. Freightliner eCascadias and medium-duty electric Freightliner eM2s from the Innovation Fleet are operated within the South Coast AQMD jurisdiction.

“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking project that will directly impact local Southern California communities, especially those disproportionately impacted by air pollution,” said Wayne Nastri, South Coast AQMD’s Executive Officer. “We hope to see large scale deployments of similar zero emission trucks that will have significant environmental and health benefits across the entire state.”

Penske and NFI are the first to deploy battery-electric commercial vehicles from Freightliner to their operations. Penske Truck Leasing will run eCascadias in daily delivery operations within California’s Inland Empire while NFI will employ eCascadias in drayage operations at both the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“We’re pleased to continue our collaboration with Freightliner and be among the first companies putting the eCascadia to work,” said Brian Hard, president and CEO of Penske Truck Leasing. “Our first eCascadia will be used by our subsidiary Penske Logistics to make multiple, daily store deliveries on a dedicated route. Our in-house maintenance technicians are trained and well prepared, and our recent investments in charging infrastructure in the South Coast Air Basin will play an important role as we operate these cutting-edge vehicles on their delivery routes.”

“NFI’s partnership with Daimler is a testament to our commitment to social responsibility, supporting the California ports, and driving innovation within our industry,” said Sid Brown, CEO of NFI. “As the premier drayage provider in Southern California, we are excited to be one of first to deploy the eCascadia into our operations, accompanied by the installation of electric charging stations. We look forward to continuing to invest in new technology and equipment to operate more efficiently, and to do our part in creating cleaner communities.”

Nielsen said the Freightliner eCascadia is built on the proven foundation of the Cascadia, the best-selling Class 8 on the market and was first revealed in June 2018 along with the medium-duty eM2. The planned start of series production for both models is late 2021. In preparation for their introduction, Freightliner has established multiple avenues for co-creating with customers. Freightliner’s Electric Vehicle Council, a collective of 38 customer companies works to address the total e-mobility ecosystem. Freightliner’s Innovation Fleet provides customers with the opportunity to fully test the eM2 and the eCascadia in real world use. In total, Penske and NFI will receive 30 battery electric trucks.

The Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 are part of Daimler Trucks’ global electrified truck initiative, joining the company’s Thomas Built Buses all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley school bus, the FUSO eCanter, and the Mercedes-Benz eActros and eCitaro. To date, there are more than 100 electrified trucks and buses from Daimler Trucks & Buses on the road globally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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