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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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Women In Trucking Association partners with OneDigital Health and Benefits

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Services available through OneDigital Health and Benefits include highly rated, well-recognized insurance carriers and includes group life, dental, vision, local doctors and hospitals, as well as additional options for voluntary benefits. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

PLOVER, Wis. – The Women In Trucking Association recently endorsed a health insurance and employee benefits portfolio of options now available to members with two or more employees.

The organization is working with insurance broker OneDigital Health and Benefits, a provider of employee benefits and human resource solutions to provide sales and service for its members. Services include highly rated, well-recognized insurance carriers and includes group life, dental, vision, local doctors and hospitals, as well as additional options for voluntary benefits.

Payroll administration options through Zenefits are now available as well to all interested WIT member companies though this relationship.

“We know that many of our members do not have access to affordable insurance providers and others are looking for a resource that offers many options in one place. We’ve spent three years looking for ways to offer these benefits working with our insurance broker-consultants Aon, who led us to a nationally recognized insurance platform and industry leader OneDigital,” said WIT President and CEO Ellen Voie.

The Women In Trucking Association will now offer its members a resource to provide viable employee benefits and related administrative options at a high-quality level.

“Women In Trucking Association is not in the insurance business, we are in the member representation business. We see employee insurance benefits solutions like this as a direct way to help our members succeed.” Voie said.

Member companies have the option at any point in the year to learn more about these new benefits by requesting a quote from One Digital.

WIT will also be hosting a free webinar on the topic on September 19 at 11 a.m. CDT. Register at https://www.womenintrucking.org/wit-webinar-series.

For more information about the Women In Trucking insurance benefits options contact Cheryl Blake at [email protected] or Joe Simon at [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Truck Parking Near Me opens 2 overnight, monthly locations in Chicago area

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A survey of major trucking companies and over the road drivers confirms that there is a need beyond crisis levels within a 40 mile radius of the Chicago area. (The Trucker file photo)

CHICAGO — Truck Parking Near Me has opened overnight and monthly truck parking for commercial trucks in Gary, Indiana, and Bellwood, Illinois.

Truck Parking Near Me President Mike Sicuro said his company did a survey and determined that the Chicagoland/Gary area is in the top five areas of the country where overnight truck parking is at a crisis level.

“Our surveys of major trucking companies and over the road drivers confirm that there is a need beyond crisis levels within a 40 mile radius of the Chicagoland area and we have chosen to expand here, where the need is the greatest” Sicuro said.  “In 2017, the Indiana Department of Transportation reported that almost 38,000 trucks traveled daily near our Interstate 94 location and the same year the Illinois DOT reported that 6,000 trucks used the I-290 daily near our Bellwood/Chicago parking location. This information was influential in our decision to build truck parking in the area to accommodate the overnight parking need.”

In the same report, the U.S. Department of Transportation analysis of the area estimated that the Illinois and Indiana portions of the Chicago Metropolitan Area (which includes Gary) shipped and received about 427 million tons of freight worth $723 billion via truck in 2017. The US DOT reports that the tonnage has increased slightly since 2017.

Sicuro said recent surveys by the American Transportation Research Institute reported that the average over-the-road driver spends over one hour a day searching for overnight parking. This translates into $5,000 a year in lost revenue for a single OTR driver.

Take $5,000 per driver per year, he said, with 48% of 1.9 million long haul truck driver losing one hour of driving time, this number translates into almost $5 billion per year, which is the 0.5% of the total transportation cost across the United States.

“Truck Parking Near Me has strategically found parking to meet the demands of the trucking industry and will be looking for other opportunities outside the Chicagoland area to expand,” Sicuro said.

The Gary parking facility is located at 1500 North Colfax Avenue. Approaching from State Road 912, take the 15th Street exit and go east on Western 15th Avenue to Colfax Street. Approaching from I-94, take the Burr Street exit, go north on Burr Street to West 15th Avenue, turn west onto Colfax Street and go to West 15th Avenue.  A driver needing to get to downtown Chicago for a pick up or delivery, the Colfax location is only 40 minutes from downtown Chicago. The parking lot is lighted, gated and requires a reservation for daily parking or contract for monthly.

The Chicago parking facility is near Chicago O’Hare at 220 North 25th Avenue, Bellwood, Illinois, and like the Gary location, requires a reservation. The Chicago location is also lighted, gated and requires a reservation for daily parking or contract for monthly.

Sicuro said Truck Parking Near Me is adding parking facilities throughout the Gary and Chicago area with a priority on locations where it is often most difficult for truckers and trucking companies to find overnight parking.

Drivers can reserve their daily space at www.truckparkingnearme.com or call Mike Sicuro directly at 708-426-4511 for monthly parking.

 

 

 

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UPS makes minority investment in autonomous driving company TuSimple

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UPS' work with TuSimple began with the goal of helping UPS better understand the requirements for Level 4 Autonomous trucking in its network. (Courtesy: TUSIMPLE)

ATLANTA — UPS Thursday said its venture capital arm UPS Ventures has made a minority investment in autonomous driving company TuSimple.

Together, both companies are testing self-driving tractor trailers on a route in Arizona to determine whether the vehicles can improve service and efficiency in the UPS network. This is an extension of the ongoing commercial relationship between UPS and TuSimple in which UPS has purchased transportation services from TuSimple, according to Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Scott Price.

The work with autonomous driving company TuSimple began with the goal of helping UPS better understand the requirements for Level 4 Autonomous trucking in its network, Price said. L4 Autonomous means the vehicle’s onboard computer is in complete control at all times, eliminating manual intervention. Currently, however, laws regulating L4 Autonomous driving require a driver in the vehicle at all times to take over operation if needed.

Throughout the ongoing tests, UPS has been providing truckloads of goods for TuSimple to carry on a North American Freight Forwarding route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. The company initiated self-driving service in May 2019, with a driver and engineer in the vehicle. TuSimple and UPS monitor distance and time the trucks travel autonomously, safety data and transport time.

“UPS is committed to developing and deploying technologies that enable us to operate our global logistics network more efficiently,” Price said. “While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering. All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet.”

Founded in 2015, TuSimple’s mission is to bring the first self-driving truck to market, to increase safety, decrease transportation costs and reduce carbon emissions. TuSimple develops technology that will allow shipping companies to operate self-driving class 8 tractor-trailers – those that exceed 33,000 pounds and typically have three or more axles.

UPS contracts with third-party trucking companies during its peak shipping season. TuSimple believes it could cut average purchased transportation costs by 30%.

“We are honored by UPS’s strategic investment and their vote of confidence in TuSimple, this proves their commitment to staying at the forefront of innovation,” said TuSimple’s Founder, President & CTO, Xiaodi Hou. “TuSimple is confident that it can accelerate bringing the first self-driving truck to market to increase road safety.”

UPS’s tests with TuSimple are part of an advanced technology evaluation for vehicles in the UPS Global Smart Logistics Network. UPS is investing in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics to increase fuel efficiency and improve customer service to ensure that UPS remains the shipper of choice.

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