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TuSimple’s self-driving trucks go postal, on 2-week trial with USPS

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The United States Postal Service is using Peterbilts fitted with self-driving technology by TuSimple to make five round-trip mail runs between Phoenix and Dallas over the next two weeks. (Courtesy: TuSIMPLE)

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Most people think that is the official motto of the U.S. Postal Service. It isn’t. It was engraved over the entrance of a New York City Post Office branch in 1914, and it just sort of caught on everywhere.

Actually, the phrase was written by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, describing the couriers who served the Persian army in a sixth-century war with the Greeks. So with no ancient Greek copyright laws to worry about, after 1,500 years the motto may soon need a reboot: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor bathroom breaks nor meals nor sleep nor Hours of Service …”

On Tuesday, May 22, USPS began a test run using self-driving trucks to transport mail between distribution hubs in Phoenix and Dallas. It is the first of five round-trip runs over a two-week period in a partnership between USPS and autonomous vehicle startup TuSimple.

Founded in 2015 and based in San Diego, TuSimple has been on the leading edge of development of SAE Class 4 commercial truck technology. Having raised $178 million in funding since its inception, in 2018, the company, expanded its Tuscon, Arizona, testing facilities from 6,800 to 50,000 square feet and began and began making commercial deliveries in August for about a dozen customers along the I-10 corridor within the state of Arizona. The company currently has 12 contracted customers and is making three to five delivery trips per day.

After its last round of funding in February, TuSimple announced plans to have 50 vehicles on the road in Arizona in June. The pilot program with the Post Office will mark the company’s first foray into interstate delivery, as well as its first venture into Texas.

The mail deliveries will be done in Class 8 Peterbilts fitted with TuSimple technology, including its eight-camera array, which uses lidar and radar to “see” 1,000 meters in all directions. The route will run a shade over 1,000 miles each way over I-10, I-20 and I-30.

TuSimple will have a safety driver behind the wheel, as well as an engineer in the passenger seat monitoring the autonomous systems.

“It is exciting to think that before many people will ride in a robo-taxi, their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck,” said Dr. Xiaodi Hou, TuSimple’s founder, president and chief technology officer. “Performing for the USPS on this pilot in this particular commercial corridor gives us specific use cases to help us validate our system and expedite the technological development and commercialization progress.”

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Technology

74 years later, this can still be a truckers best friend

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These days our lives are all about technology.

Heck, look what you are doing right now. You are reading a story from a 32-year old trucking newspaper on your computer or cell phone!

The CB radio was invented in 1945 by Al Gross, the inventor of the walkie-talkie and owner of the Citizens Radio Corporation.  It caught on in the trucking world in the early 1970’s.

Still today in our high tech world, it is nice to see a trucker making use of an older piece of technology to pass a 30′ wide oversize load in Wyoming.

Courtesy: Dooner James LivingStone

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Optronics introduces first custom LED lamps featuring GloLight technology

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The new Optronics lamp’s traditional LED-style lens pattern surrounds the logo graphic in the middle of the lamp. (Courtesy: OPTRONICS INTERNATIONAL)

TULSA, Okla. — Optronics International, a manufacturer and supplier of heavy-duty LED vehicle lighting, said it will be displaying the industry’s first stop, tail, turn lamps with integrated graphics at the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show in Atlanta October 28-31. The new lamps merge brand identities into the lighting design, juxtaposing a smooth GloLight lens appearance against a more traditional LED pattern, Optronics said.

According to Brett Johnson, president and CEO of Optronics International, GloLight technology allows Optronics to consolidate even complex graphics into the functional operation of the lamps.

The new lamp’s traditional LED-style lens pattern surrounds the logo graphic in the middle of the lamp. The GloLight logo portion of the lamp illuminates when operating in its standard function as a tail lamp, and when the lamp’s turn signal or brake functions are in operation, all portions of the LED lamp brighten.

“This is an industry first and a novel use for our GloLight technology,” Johnson said. “Logos and branding have been widely incorporated into conspicuity tape for decades, so the migration to lighting is a logical one.”

Marketing professionals also recognize that the four-inch round and six-inch oval lighting formats are among the most noticeable features on any vehicle.

“Whether you’re consciously aware of it, if you’re driving behind a commercial vehicle, particularly at night, you’re constantly monitoring its tail lights,” Johnson said.

Optronics employed its 3-D printing capabilities in preparing prototypes for the manufacturers. The company also worked with a number of OEMs during the development of the lamp, including Vanguard National Trailer Corporation and Miller Industries.

The LED lamps offer users a broad level of creative design flexibility for those responsible for a company’s branding, because the GloLight technology can be used in both red and white or a combination of both. Lens striations can also be used to achieve unique and complementary visual effects.

Optronics products are available in the U.S. and Canada through the company’s extensive distribution network of more than 20,000 convenient distribution locations. Users can access individual Optronics distributor websites by simply clicking on their logo icons. For information on international sales and distribution of Optronics products, please contact Dorian Drake at +1 914-697-9800 or visit http://doriandrake.com.

 

 

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NHTSA issues ANPRM on camera monitoring systems as alternative to mirrors

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Last December, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted an exemption requested by Stoneridge Inc. allowing its MirrorEye CMS to be installed as an alternative to conventional rear-vision mirrors currently required on commercial motor vehicles in the United States. (Courtesy: STONERIDGE INC.)

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that could eventually lead to camera-based rear visibility systems, commonly referred to as camera monitoring systems (CMS) as an alternative to inside and outside rearview mirrors.

The federal motor vehicle safety standard currently requires that vehicles be equipped with rearview mirrors to provide drivers with a view of objects that are to their side or to their side and rear.

In a notice published in the Federal Register Thursday, NHTSA said the ANPRM responds to two rulemaking petitions: one pertaining to light vehicles from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Tesla and one from Daimler Trucks North America relating to heavy vehicles.

The agency said the ANPRM builds on the agency’s prior efforts to obtain supporting technical information, data, and analysis on CMS so that the agency can determine whether these systems can provide the same level of safety as the rearview mirrors currently required under federal regulations.

There is already some development underway in the CMS arena.

Last December, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted an exemption requested by Stoneridge Inc., allowing its MirrorEye CMS to be installed as an alternative to conventional rear-vision mirrors. The exemption applies solely to Stoneridge’s MirrorEye system, making it the only CMS that allows for complete removal of traditional mirrors in the United States, Stonebridge said in a news release.

In issuing the ANPRM Thursday, NHTSA acknowledged that part of its responsibility in carrying out its safety mission is not only to develop and set new safety standards for new motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, but also to modify existing standards, as appropriate, to respond to changing circumstances such as the introduction of new technologies.

“Examples of previous technological transitions that triggered the need to adapt and/or replace requirements in federal safety regulations include the replacing of analog dashboards by digital ones, the replacing of mechanical control systems by electronic ones, and the first production of electric vehicles in appreciable numbers,” the Federal Register notice said.

The agency said it was publishing the ANPRM to gather information and receive feedback to enable the agency to decide whether (and if so, how) to propose amending federal regulations on rear visibility to permit camera-based systems as an alternative compliance option in lieu of outside rearview mirrors or in lieu of all rearview mirrors, both inside and outside ones. Specifically, NHTSA said, it hoped the ANPRM, through the public comment process, will provide the agency with additional safety-related research and data to support a potential future rulemaking on this subject.

NHTSA said it was asking for information based on 21 questions among the following seven categories:

  • Existing industry standards
  • System field of view and related test procedures
  • Image quality and related test procedures
  • Rearview image display type related human factors
  • Side rearview image display locations, driver acclimation and related test procedures
  • Camera durability, reliability and related test procedures
  • System availability when vehicle ignition is off

The ANPRM can be found at https://federalregister.gov/d/2019-22036, and on govinfo.gov

The deadline for public comments is December 9.

To comment online, go to www.regulations.gov, follow the instruction on the site using docket number NHTSA–2018–0021.

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