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Mack, Volvo to offer Diesel Advanced Technology Education program

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks North America are partnering with colleges in Florida, Ohio and Texas to offer the Diesel Advanced Technology Education (DATE) program beginning in early 2019 to address a shortage of skilled vehicle service technicians.

Students enrolled in the 500-hour program will be trained to work on Mack and Volvo trucks, including powertrains, electrical and electronic systems, chassis components and software and engine diagnosis and repair.

The DATE for Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks curriculum will be taught by certified instructors at Jones Technical Institute in Jacksonville, Florida; the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima, Ohio; and  Western Technical College in El Paso, Texas.

DATE program graduates will receive an associates degree in diesel mechanics and a certification from the DATE program. They will be prepared for immediate employment at any of more than Mack and Volvo dealerships across the two OEM’s North American dealer network.

“Modern truck technology offers many benefits to customers, but it also requires advanced skills for maintenance and repair,” said Roy Walton, senior manager of aftermarket training for Mack Trucks. “The DATE program will help our dealer network address the severe shortage of technicians qualified to work in this highly technical field.”

“The DATE program provides students with the education and skills needed to excel in a career that’s increasingly in demand,” said Matt Flynn, director of Volvo Trucks Academy. “Graduates of the program will be ready for a technician career in our dealer network, equipped with hands-on maintenance and repair training to service the advanced modern truck technologies delivering unprecedented efficiency, performance and safety benefits.”

The American Trucking Associations’ American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) reported in October 2017 that the trucking industry will require an estimated 67,000 new technicians and 75,000 new diesel engine specialists by 2022.

Both Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks North America are part of the Volvo Group.

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BestDrive opens locations in Texas, Arkansas and California

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The Best Drive staff stands outside the Los Angeles location. It is the company’s first location in California. (Courtesy: BEST DRIVE)

FORT MILL, S.C. — BestDrive, a commercial tire dealer and retreader focusing on Continental tire offerings, opened locations in Houston, Los Angeles and Little Rock, Arkansas, in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The openings included the retailer’s first stores in California and Arkansas.

Established in 2010, BestDrive now has 31 commercial tire centers across 17 states.

“BestDrive is committed to serving fleets across the U.S. with new tires, retreads, and tire monitoring technology,” said Sonny Simpson, managing director of BestDrive. “We continue to add locations to support our goal of delivering the lowest overall driving cost to local and national fleet customers.”

BestDrive commercial tire centers offer total fleet tire management with Continental, General Tire, and AmeriSteel brand products, as well as other supplemental tire brands, Simpson said. The dealerships equip fleets with new tires and ContiTread retread solutions as part of the ContiLifeCycle program, designed to lower costs and prolong the life of a Continental tire.

In addition to new and retread tires, BestDrive can help fleets select and implement innovative technology such as ContiPressureCheck tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), ContiConnect® remote digital tire monitoring, ContiPressureCheck Solo trailer TPMS, and Continental’s VDO Roadlog for ELD Mandate compliance. These solutions will help businesses reduce tire-related breakdowns, eliminate manual tire pressure checks, improve fuel efficiency, and extend the life of tires and casings.

Services available at all BestDrive outlets include commercial tire mounting, dismounting, and balancing, 24-hour service, wheel refinishing, new and used wheels, air-up programs, commercial truck alignments and fleet checks. The stores also offer passenger, light truck, material handling, and OTR tires.

For the most up-to-date list of locations, please visit bestdrivetire.com.

 

 

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Self-driving truck company TuSimple raises $95 million in Series D funding

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TuSimple is developing a commercial-ready Level 4 (SAE) fully-autonomous driving solution for the logistics industry. TuSimple is the only self-driving truck company capable of driving from depot-to-depot without human intervention and does so every day for its customers. (Courtesy: TUSIMPLE)

SAN DIEGO — TuSimple, a global self-driving truck company, has raised $95 million in Series D funding based on a pre-money valuation of $1 billion.

The new capital investment will be used to fund TuSimple’s commercial ramp-up and product development.

With this round, TuSimple will continue to grow its commercial autonomous fleet, which makes daily fully-autonomous deliveries in Arizona, and soon in Texas, for large shippers and fleets, according to Dr. Xiaodi Hou, founder, president and chief technology officer.

The fleet allows the company to earn revenue while validating its SAE Level 4 fully-autonomous system, he said.

The company currently has 12 contracted customers and is making three to five delivery trips per day. It will use the funds to grow the fleet to over 50 trucks by June.

The investment will also be used to fund critical joint production programs with its OEM, Tier 1, and sensor partners in order to achieve full commercialization, Hou said. Suppliers essential to truck manufacturing are working with TuSimple on the integration of autonomous software with powertrain, braking and steering systems, an essential step for the commercial production and operation of self-driving trucks.

The $95 million financing was completed in December 2018.

This brings TuSimple’s total funding to date to $178 million. This latest round was led by Sina Corp., a technology company widely recognized for developing Weibo, a social media platforms. Composite Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment firm focused on consumer, technology and transportation companies globally also participated in this round.

“TuSimple consistently reaches their milestones on and ahead of schedule and we are confident that they are poised to bring the first commercial self-driving trucks to market,” said Colin Xie, vice general manager, investment department, Sina Corp. “We are focused on finding the global leaders in artificial intelligence and TuSimple is ahead of the pack. The combination of technical excellence and an impressive leadership team has propelled the company into unicorn status.”

“Autonomous driving is one of the most complex AI systems humans have ever built. After three years of intense focus to reach our technical goals, we have moved beyond research into the serious work of building a commercial solution,” Hou said. “We are thankful for the continued support of our investors and partners. This is not only a great sign of confidence in TuSimple, but also for the future of autonomous trucking.”

TuSimple’s Level 4 fully-autonomous semi-trucks are the only trucks capable of driving from depot-to-depot without human intervention, Hou said.

To support Level 4 driving on complex highway and local streets, the company has developed an innovative camera-centric perception solution that allows TuSimple’s trucks to see 1,000 meters ahead of the vehicle, Hou said, noting that the vision range is farther and delivers better visibility than any other autonomous driving system today.

This level of performance is essential for autonomous commercial trucks to operate safely at highway speeds — rain or shine, he said.

“TuSimple is aiming to transform the $800-billion U.S. trucking industry by increasing safety, lowering costs, reducing carbon emissions and providing tools to optimize fleet logistics for operators,” Hou said.

TuSimple is headquartered in San Diego and operates self-driving trucks out of Tucson, Arizona.

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International Trucks makes Bendix Wingman Fusion standard on on-highway tractors

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Offering Bendix Wingman Fusion is part of International Truck’s DriverFirst philosophy, a company executive said. Pictured is the International LoneStar Low Roof model. (Courtesy: NAVISTAR )

LISLE, Ill. — International Truck now offers Bendix Wingman Fusion, an integration of advanced safety technologies, as standard equipment on the entire lineup of on-highway tractors, including the International LoneStar, LT Series and RH Series trucks.

Bendix Wingman Fusion is the Bendix flagship collision mitigation technology integrating radar, camera, and the vehicle’s brake system into a driver assistance system that delivers driver alerts and interventions to help them mitigate rear-end collisions, rollovers, and a loss-of-control situations.

Wingman Fusion combines and cross-checks information from sensors that are working together — not just in parallel — along with powerful computing, to typically assesses situations faster and reacts earlier, while also helping to significantly reduce false alerts and false interventions, according to Jim Nachtman, director, heavy-duty, marketing, International Truck.

By creating a highly detailed and accurate data picture, he said, Bendix Wingman Fusion delivers enhanced rear-end collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, along with following distance alerts, stationary object alerts, lane departure warning, alerts when speeding, and braking on stationary vehicles – all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction. Event-based data – including video – can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel. Other options include blind spot detection that helps drivers address vehicles in their blind spots that may not be visible in their mirrors. The forward-facing camera of Wingman Fusion is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms.

“As part of our DriverFirst philosophy, we concentrate on consistently improving the overall driver experience, specifically safety,” Nachtman said. “Partnering with Bendix to make Fusion standard on all of International Truck’s heavy-duty vehicles makes for an important joint contribution to make North American roadways safer for everyone.”

Since the introduction of Bendix Wingman Fusion in 2015, International Truck has offered the technology as an option for all on-highway models. Bendix Wingman Fusion is also available as an option on International’s medium-duty lineup, including the International MV Series, HV Series, HX Series and CV Series trucks.

“Bendix’s ongoing partnership with Navistar is built on years of shared commitment to driver, vehicle, and highway safety,” said Scott Burkhart, Bendix vice president – sales, marketing, and business development. “International Truck’s positioning of Wingman Fusion as standard equipment on its complete line of on-highway tractors is both a point of pride for the entire Bendix team and another step forward alongside a true leader in our industry.”

According to Bendix, its safety technologies complement safe driving practices and are not intended to enable or encourage aggressive driving. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training. Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.

For more information on International Truck’s product lineup or to locate a dealer, visit internationaltrucks.com.

 

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