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Volvo Trucks, FedEx demonstrate truck platooning on N.C. 540

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Volvo Trucks North America, together with FedEx and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, used advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technology to conduct on-highway truck platooning as part of ongoing research collaboration.

Volvo Trucks North America said Wednesday the successful on-highway demonstration of its truck platooning technology.

The company has been working closely with FedEx and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) to expand on-highway operations of Volvo’s Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) in the United States on N.C. 540, the Triangle Expressway.

This marks the first public on-highway showcase of platooning technology between a major truck manufacturer and a transportation company in the U.S.

“Volvo Trucks has long supported platooning because it benefits freight companies and professional drivers alike through safer, more fuel-efficient operations,” said Per Carlsson, acting president of Volvo Trucks North America. “We continue preparing for deployment of trucks with greater vehicle-to-vehicle communication capabilities that support higher levels of ADAS. We know these technologies will be part of our future, but exact timing depends on many things, namely regulations, infrastructure, safety standards, and market demand.”

The “platoon” consisted of three trained, professional truck drivers in Volvo VNL tractors, each pulling double 28-foot trailers.

Through CACC, a wireless vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology, the tractors and trailers remained in constant communication.

The tractors and trailers traveled at speeds of up to 62 mph while keeping a time gap of 1.5 seconds, maintaining a closer distance than what is typical for on-highway tractors. Staged and unplanned vehicle cut-ins demonstrated how the technology handles common traffic situations.

“Volvo’s V2V technology is based on dedicated short-range communication (DSRC), which has proven its capability to perform well in the V2V environment,” said Keith Brandis Volvo Trucks North America vice president for product planning. “Dedicated bandwidth within the 5.9GHz spectrum is critical for the successful deployment of V2V application, like truck platooning.”

Brandis said Wednesday’s demonstration is the result of an ongoing research collaboration. Since April 2018, three Volvo VNL tractors have been paired with various combinations of FedEx trailers to simulate real-world routes and trailer loads while traveling on N.C. 540. The potential benefits of platooning that are being studied during this collaborative research include faster responses to hard braking while maintaining safety and fuel efficiency.

“FedEx was built on innovation and it continues to be an integral part of the FedEx culture and business strategy,” said Gloria Boyland, corporate vice president, operations and service support, FedEx Corp. “We are pleased to collaborate with Volvo Trucks and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority to learn more about how platooning technology can benefit our team members while improving fuel efficiency for our fleet.”

The vehicle-to-vehicle communication system helps reduce the reaction time for braking and enables vehicles to follow closer, automatically matching each other’s speed and braking, officials said. The advanced technology is meant to serve as an aid – not a replacement – for skilled professional truck drivers.

When trucks can drive closely behind one another, fuel efficiency is improved as a result of reduced drag. Drag accounts for up to 25 percent of a truck’s total fuel consumption, and the closer the trucks drive to each other, the greater the fuel-saving potential. Reducing the traveling distance between vehicles also allows for greater highway utilization, helping alleviate traffic congestion.

“This collaboration demonstrates the Turnpike Authority’s commitment to invest in the safety of customers with state of the art technology that could become an invaluable tool for transportation,” said NCTA Executive Director Beau Memory. “With some of the most advanced roadways in the nation, the Turnpike Authority wants all drivers to have every tool and technological advancement necessary to reach their destination safely and efficiently.”

N.C. 540, because of its proximity to Volvo Trucks’ North American headquarters and its designation as a proving ground for advanced vehicle technology, is an excellent demonstration site for the Volvo platooning technology, providing invaluable insights for all parties involved in this process. N.C. 540 is one of 10 locations around the country that the U.S. Department of Transportation has designated for demonstrating advanced vehicle technologies, like platooning, through research initiatives such as this one.

Brandis said Volvo Trucks and FedEx plan to continue developing the Volvo CACC technology on N.C. 540 into the foreseeable future with the goal of continuing to learn about the potential benefits offered by vehicle platooning. Additionally, this advanced testing will allow the participants to adapt to the technological and regulatory developments that will ultimately determine the commercial viability of platooning technology in the United States.

Watch this weeks The Trucker News Channel.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mario Alberto Garza

    June 29, 2018 at 4:07 am

    It’s not what you are fields you are advancing on it’s the future but remember other obstacles from wild life and other drivers with smaller,bigger,larger vehicles cutting into your lanes it’s good but you need the gap for safety but then again it does worry me not enough loads need that purpose is that taxpayers money or your money

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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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Transflo offers Samsung Galaxy Tablets running the Transflo Mobile+ Platform

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Developed specifically for professional drivers, the Transflo Mobile+ app allows users to manage all their work from a single mobile app on one device. (Courtesy: TRANSFLO)

TAMPA, Fla. — As Transflo continues to grow its digital workflow platform for commercial truck fleets and drivers, the company now offers the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch 32GB LTE tablet compatible with the Transflo Mobile+ app and all Transflo products and services, including the industry’s leading electronic logging device (ELD) for mobile platforms.

Drivers can easily access information including electronic records of duty status on the Galaxy’s clear, bright 8-inch touch display, and its LTE connectivity ensures seamless cloud integration and compliance with U.S. FMCSA regulations for wireless transfers of hours-of-service data.

“The Samsung Galaxy Tab A running the Transflo Mobile+ app is the perfect solution for anyone currently using our ELD or who is about to transition to one,” said Vice President of Product and Innovation Doug Schrier. “It’s the only device that fleets and drivers need to manage a mobile workflow and get more done, anywhere and everywhere the job takes them.”

Schrier said the Samsung Galaxy Tab A uses the Android operating system, has 32GB internal storage, dual cameras (for document scanning), and a 1.4GHz quad-core processor for a combination of fast performance and power efficiency. Transflo also offers a range of mounting and charging options to keep the device powered up and secure inside the cab.

Developed specifically for professional drivers, Schrier said the Transflo Mobile+ app allows users to manage all their work from a single mobile app on one device. Additionally, Transflo’s ELD bundles offer complete fleet solutions that integrate with the mobile app and include: document scanning; integrated GPS-based navigation; weigh station bypass technology; two-way messaging; and services for finding fuel, truck scales, and other essential services.

Transflo offers the Samsung Galaxy Tab A with data plans through AT&T and T-Mobile.

For more information about tablets and Transflo’s ELD bundles, please visit transflo.com.

 

 

 

 

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McLeod Software creates AI Truck Racing League for understanding machine learning

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A McLeod Software official said his company believes its creation of the AI Truck Racing League as a learning tool is important and how it will be fun to see which company lifts the AITRL Champions Cup at the end of the inaugural season. (Courtesy: MCLEOD SOFTWARE)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — McLeod Software has created the AI Truck Racing League (AITRL), a new organization focused on advancing the understanding of Machine Learning technology in the transportation industry.

“Machine Learning is not yet widely understood by many, but to help companies gain a better understanding, we have set up a fun racing simulation as a way for companies to learn and participate. At McLeod Software, we realize Machine Learning is the future happening now. That is why we have created the AI Truck Racing League and the McLeod Software Racing Team,” said Vice President of Special Projects Ken Craig.

AITRL’s open platform enables member-racing teams to use industry standard cutting edge AI technologies. Developers can train, evaluate and tune their AI models using either Supervised Learning, Unsupervised Learning, Reinforcement Learning or any combination thereof.

Virtual world simulation will be done on AITRL’s website or locally at the racing team’s office. Teams will be able to select virtual trucks to race in the 3D simulator on tracks inspired by famous raceways. Each track will bring new challenges that the AI models need to conquer as they prepare for the AITRL Championship Cup.

Craig said the company invites transportation companies and allied suppliers to experience the excitement of racing mixed with the thrill of teaching an inanimate object how to think.

Each member of AITRL will have their own intra-company team which will train virtual trucks as they hone their AI models. Each member team will produce a champion by racing their virtually trained trucks on a virtual track with a 1/18 scale semi-truck. These champions will represent their member team in inter-company competitions and compete for the AITRL League Cup.

“We look forward to working with this great group of companies to advance the goal of understanding how Machine Learning will become both practical and efficient for transportation companies,” Craig said. “We work continuously to ensure that McLeod customers sustain a competitive advantage, and have full access to important technologies, developed by McLeod Software or our Partners. We believe our creation of AITRL as a learning tool is important for this reason, and it will be fun to see which company lifts the AITRL Champions Cup at the end of the inaugural season.”

Initial entrants fielding a racing team for the AITRL include Kingsgate Logistics, SONAR, Decker Truck Lines, and Echo Global Logistics.

To learn more about the AI Truck Racing League and how you can participate, please visit www.AITRL.org.

McLeod Software is a provider of transportation and logistics ERP solutions. The company’s LoadMaster and PowerBroker products include CRM, dispatch operations, EDI, accounting, billing and settlements, carrier, driver and trip management, business process automation, visual workflow management, and document management systems, all specifically developed for trucking.

For more information about McLeod visit at www.McLeodSoftware.com

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