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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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SambaSafety offers new driver monitoring solution

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With the Qorta monitoring platform, safety managers can proactively stay ahead of new roadside inspections and violations through near-real-time information summarized via carrier and driver scorecards. (Courtesy: SAMBASAFETY)

DENVER — SambaSafety, a provider of mobility risk data solutions, said it is offering an enhancement to itsr Qorta monitoring platform.

By incorporating CSA and motor vehicle records data (MVR) into a single monitoring solution, SambaSafety now provides the regulated trucking industry with a comprehensive driver monitoring solution in transportation, according to Steve Bryan, executive vice president and general manager of SambaSafety Transportation.

“Since our initial launch of MVR monitoring solutions back in January, we are very excited to now include CSA monitoring into the Qorta platform,” Bryan said. “Qorta should be the platform of choice for any organization that is truly committed to enabling a culture of safety. A reactive mindset cannot form the foundation to support a positive safety culture.”

With the Qorta monitoring platform, safety managers can proactively stay ahead of new roadside inspections and violations through near-real-time information summarized via carrier and driver scorecards, Bryan said.

Also enabled is a preview of the new CSA item response theory model, mandated by the FAST Act. Planned for release this year, the model utilizes IRT methodology to measure a motor carrier’s safety culture with a single score.

Bryan said Qorta’s comprehensive monitoring solution, Q Transportation offers a unique ability to continuously monitor drivers for violations, license status, medical certifications and endorsements, on- or off-duty, or in company or personal vehicles.

By aggregating CSA and MVR data, robust scorecards elevate data into actionable intelligence, and empower decision-makers to enhance their safety culture through dramatic improvements in cost savings, productivity, a company’s image, and overall safety and stability.

Since 1998, SambaSafety has been a North American provider of cloud-based mobility risk management software solutionsfor organizations with commercial and non-commercial drivers. Through the collection, correlation and analysis of driver information, Bryan said SambaSafety helps employers identify high-risk drivers and enforce safety policies; insurers to make informed decisions; and background screeners to perform accurate, efficient pre-hire checks.

For more information, visit www.sambasafety.com.

 

 

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Netradyne says Driveri has captured data on over 1 million unique miles

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With a subscriber base of users covering the entirety of U.S. roadways, Driveri is able to collect data coast to coast. (Courtesy: NETRADYNE)

SAN DIEGO — Netradyne, a provider artificial intelligence (AI) technology focusing on driver and fleet safety, said recently that Driveri has captured and analyzed over 200 million miles of road data as of the second week in June.

With one of the largest and most complete AI vision-based databases in the commercial transportation industry, the information collected by Driveri is not only being utilized for fleet safety, but also helping to drive the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry forward, according to Netradyne President Sandeep Pandya.

There are 2.7 million miles of paved roads in the United States, of which Netradyne has captured and analyzed over 1 million unique miles.

The speed in which Netradyne is able to garner this data pays tribute to its rapidly expanding subscriber base, Pandya said. Each of these 200-plus million miles has been analyzed with AI and collected by professional drivers covering real road miles.

With a subscriber base of users covering the entirety of U.S. roadways, Driveri is able to collect data coast to coast while also making numerous passes over these roads to provide deeper insights into the same road in different conditions throughout the year.

“The HD mapping data and driver behavioral models being captured by Driveri daily will be a key component to the future of driving technology, including advancing AVs as they come to market,” said Avneesh Agrawal, CEO of Netradyne. “We believe we have the largest and most comprehensive AI vision-based database in the commercial transportation industry. Our network sees everything from congested roads in metro areas to stretches of rural highways, often many times, providing insights that no other company can.”

The road to making AVs a reality in every day life is a complex one that will take companies working hand-in-hand to ensure driver and passenger safety. Netradyne’s ability to make numerous passes on the same road, which Driveri does, will complement other technologies to move the industry into the future, Agrawal said.

“As a team with deep-rooted knowledge and experience within the transportation and technology industries, we are excited to use this vast know-how along with the sheer amount of miles mapped to keep our drivers and roadways safe, while launching the transportation industry forward,” Pandya said. “It’s a thrilling time to be a part of the ride!”

Founded in 2015, Pandya said Netradyne leverages global technology centers in San Diego and Bangalore to push the boundaries of intelligent connectivity.

For more information about Driveri or to inquire about commercial vehicle safety tools, please visit  www.netradyne.com.

 

 

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Bendix Wingman systems mark 10 years of evolution, adoption, helping improve safety

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Now in its second generation, Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ is the latest iteration of the constantly evolving Bendix Wingman family of collision mitigation technologies launched 10 years ago. By continuously gathering, sharing, and confirming information, Wingman Fusion uses its radar and camera together to identify potentially threatening objects, both stationary and moving. This significantly improves upon their individual performance, and substantially reduces false alerts or activations as they work together. (Note: There is no image projected onto the vehicle windshield. This image is a simulated display for demonstration purposes only.) (Courtesy: BENDIX COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SYSTEMS)

ELYRIA, Ohio — Every day, a growing number of fleets and owner-operators adopt the Bendix Wingman family of solutions, which is marking a decade of innovation, progress and helping to enhance the safety of vehicles and roadways across North America.

“When we introduced the earliest generation of our Wingman product, we listened to what our customers were saying and knew it had the potential to provide significant value for fleets,” said Scott Burkhart, Bendix vice president – sales, marketing, and business development. “Our aim was to provide another effective building block that helped to deliver total lower cost of ownership and to maximize vehicle safety, reliability, and performance for fleets across North America. Ten years later, that approach is still driving us, as the current Wingman — Bendix Wingman Fusion — continues to evolve, and as we work closely with partners across the industry to shape tomorrow’s transportation.”

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems launched Bendix Wingman ACB — Active Cruise with Braking in March 2009. Then, two years later, Bendix Wingman Advanced — A Collision Mitigation Technology fulfilled the next step in the company’s safety technology road map, followed in 2015 by Wingman Fusion, Bendix’s flagship collision mitigation technology, currently in its second generation.

“The foundational technology of all the Wingman systems goes back even further, to 2005, when we introduced the Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program, which was North America’s first widely available commercial vehicle full-stability system,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions — controls. “With Bendix ESP in place, it was clear that additional safety advancements could be brought to market using full stability as the base. The vision of using ESP as the cornerstone to build active cruise control, collision mitigation, and Bendix  Wingman Fusion was all there very early on.”

Prior to the launch of Wingman ACB, Bendix acquired the VORAD  (Vehicle On-Board Radar) radar-based collision mitigation system, which enabled forward collision warning and blind spot monitoring capabilities. The knowledge gained in radars, control algorithms, alert strategies, and component testing as a result of the VORAD acquisition fast-forwarded Bendix’s learning by several years.

“When Wingman  Advanced came along in 2011, that’s really where we saw a big jump in adoption, because it works whether or not cruise control is activated – and again, we improved all the component technologies along the way as well,” Thomas said. “Once fleets saw it in action, and saw that it worked, and saw a reduction in rear-end accidents, they realized there’s a direct return on investment.”

Take rates for Wingman Advanced more than quadrupled that of Wingman ACB, and the technology became available through almost all major North American Class 5-8 truck manufacturers, achieving standard position on models at Kenworth Truck Company, Peterbilt Motors Company, Mack Trucks, Volvo Trucks North America, and International Trucks.

Wingman Fusion saw a similar advancement in its feature set: Bendix took something good and made it better, adding a forward-facing camera, deeper system integration, and new features including Lane Departure Warning, overspeed alerts and intervention, and – one of the crucial keys as the system became more complex – alert prioritization.

What positions Fusion at the leading edge of safety and driver assistance is its integration of information from multiple sources “fused” together, and not just in parallel.

Like its predecessor, Wingman Fusion is available on almost all major commercial truck brands, and has achieved standard position on many models. Across North America, a growing number of fleets of varying size, location, and vocation spec Wingman Fusion, reporting significant reductions in rear-end collisions – as much as 90 percent – and decreased severity of those that did occur.

Also speaking to the effectiveness of systems like Bendix Wingman is the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) annual “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.” The latest installment, released in February, picks up a goal it has named in previous years: to increase implementation of collision avoidance systems in all new highway vehicles. In this year’s list, the NTSB recommends that commercial vehicle manufacturers include forward collision avoidance system as standard, noting that the number of combination trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2017 increased nearly 6 percent from 2016.

“The men and women driving these trucks are also sharing positive feedback, including higher satisfaction with Bendix’s radar-and-camera systems than with radar-only technologies,” Thomas said. “And that’s not surprising, as more information about a situation – delivered into the system by two sensors instead of one – typically enables a more accurate reaction to a specific situation.”

The next generation of Wingman  Fusion, launched in 2018, helps drivers deal with even more uncertainties on the road, adding highway departure braking, ACB (Active Cruise with Braking) Stop & Driver Go, ACB Auto-Resume, and multi-lane emergency braking to its features, along with even more enhanced collision mitigation and braking capabilities. Fusion can also now provide full braking power on the tractor, compared with the two-thirds power previously possible, along with pulsing air back to the trailer to provide trailer braking, whether the trailer has an ABS/TRSP unit. Combined with improved sensor and data analysis, this means that in many emergency situations, the system can reduce a vehicle’s speed by as much as 50 miles per hour.

Never resting in its development cycle, Thomas said the company notes that the latest generation of Wingman Fusion is poised for release later in 2019.

And to help keep fleets equipped with the latest safety technologies, Bendix Wingman  Advanced™ and Wingman Fusion are available for retrofitting on vehicles already equipped with Bendix  ESP . This enhances safety while also contributing to an improved driver experience vehicle to vehicle.

Bendix emphasizes that no technology can replace a safe, alert, professional driver practicing safe driving habits, supported by proactive, ongoing driver training. Active safety systems are not intended to enable or encourage aggressive driving, and responsibility for safe vehicle operation remains with the driver at all times.

“Ten years after Bendix introduced Wingman  to the drivers and roads of North America,” Burkhart said, “what was once new and felt experimental is now a combination of proven technologies making a difference every day and helping to pave the way toward a future of safer vehicles and highways for everyone.”

 

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