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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 Newsal 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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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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NexTraq launches solution to lock cell phones, tablets while driving

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Available in the United States and Canada, MobileBlock is a small, self-adhering pod that is mounted in the vehicle. (Courtesy: NEXTRAQ)

ATLANTA — NexTraq, a Michelin Group company, is launching the new NexTraq MobileBlock ─  in partnership with SafeDrivePod ─ a solution that ensures drivers’ smartphone and tablet screens are locked during driving. This new tool is a great for managers to help enforce policies restricting unauthorized use of company-issued tablets and smartphones limiting distractions.

“NexTraq’s MobileBlock helps to stop smartphone-based distractions behind the wheel,” said Todd Hanna, vice president of sales for NexTraq. “In many states and municipalities, using smartphones and tablets while driving is against the law. It can be dangerous. MobileBlock is a solution that can keep the driver and crew safe while at work.”

Available in the United States and Canada, MobileBlock is a small, self-adhering pod that is mounted in the vehicle. An app is downloaded from the App Store or Google Play to the tablets or smartphones used by drivers of the vehicle. The software shuts off all access to apps while driving.  Emergency call and navigations apps are still usable with the tool installed.

NexTraq, a Michelin group company, is a part of Michelin’s Global Services and Solutions business line. The group boasts over 2,000 employees, serving more than 70,000 customers, with over 850,000 vehicles utilizing telematics solutions, worldwide. From tracking and reporting to routing and scheduling, NexTraq is more than just a provider of vehicle and asset tracking solutions. The company is a valued GPS fleet and mobile workforce management partner for its customers.

 

 

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