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State DOT officials discuss integration of automated, non-automated vehicles



Jennifer Cohan, secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation says the biggest challenge for state DOTs is how to manage an automated vehicle operating beside a 1965 pick up truck. (Courtesy: STATE OF DELAWARE)

WASHINGTON — One of the biggest challenges in the future facing state departments of transportation when it comes to the broader deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles or CAVs is how to integrate them and their needs with the non-CAV population.

“The good news is that there are a ton of things going on and a ton of information out there regarding CAVs. The bad news is that there are a ton of things going on and a ton of information out there regarding CAVs,” said Jennifer Cohan, secretary of the Delaware DOT during a “Knowledge Session” held at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 2019 Washington Briefing recently.

“The challenge for state DOTs is to have a plan for a [transportation] system that can manage new autonomous vehicles operating alongside a 1965 pickup truck,” she said. “We have seen a lot of states get out in front with legislation only to go back and make changes to it. Handling the deployment of CAVs and developing the public policy that guides them is the hard part.”

Cohan’s comments were included in a recent article on the briefing as reported in the Journal, AASHTO’s official publication.

Kirk Steudle, vice president of transportation for Econolite and a former director of the Michigan DOT who moderated the discussion, echoed Cohan’s point about the public policy difficulties.

“One of the biggest issues is keeping legislation correct; while it is hard to get legislation passed, the truly hardest thing is to get legislation corrected,” he said. “Good advice here is to slow down and learn what is happening. For it is hard to plan for something we don’t truly understand yet.”

Laurie Berman, director of Caltrans, noted that one result of her agency’s focus on “keeping one foot in today, managing the current system, while incorporating the needs of future technology” is the use of a new striping material for California’s roadways.

“It benefits today’s users because at night it offers better reflectivity,” she said. “But that works for autonomous vehicles, as well, so they can ‘see’ the road markings better.”

Russell McMurry, commissioner of the Georgia DOT, agreed with Caltrans’ Berman, noting that getting “back to the basics, with good signs, good stripes, and no potholes” benefits CAVs and non-CAVs alike. But there are other technologies involved with CAVs that state DOTs need to incorporate as well, such as dedicated short range communications or DSRC that allow CAVs to tap into traffic signal data, among other information.

“Don’t get stuck in ‘paralysis by analysis’ because there are so many technology forks in the road” CAVs may follow, McMurry said. “To me, it’s about how we can be ‘technology agnostic’ about our future with CAVs. From our perspective, we need to be ready for anything.”

And the amount of data generated by CAVs is another challenge state DOTs need to prepare themselves for, said Tim Weisenberger, project manager/technical programs for SAE International. “We’re talking about whole terabytes of data here. How will you be able to just find what you need? It is a tremendous challenge” where CAVs are concerned, he said.

Ed Bradley, program manager for Toyota, added that not only will there be “so many facets to CAV technology” that state DOTs will need to be thinking about, but how to help everyday motorists be accepting of them.

“There will need to be significant consumer education and acceptance [of CAVs] before we start building them in greater numbers; they need to be aware of their capabilities and liabilities,” he emphasized. “They will have to work for everyone in all conditions, all of the time.”

As to when “greater numbers” of CAVs will appear on U.S. roads, Bradley noted that it won’t be anytime soon.

“I don’t have an answer on a timeline; some say a decade, others two decades,” he said. “We envision higher levels of automation will deploy first in smaller fleets in certain domains.”

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Bendix set to deliver Safety Direct event video with new app



In addition to enabling full SafetyDirect access, the forthcoming SafetyDirect Mobile app will also allow drivers to securely identify themselves in the vehicle. (Courtesy: BENDIX COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SYSTEMS)

ELYRIA, Ohio — Video information and other data captured by today’s commercial vehicle systems is both valuable and vital as fleets and drivers aim to improve safety on the roads.

A new mobile device application from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems will deliver quicker access to that information, pairing with Bendix’s leading-edge hardware and its SafetyDirect system to enhance fleet safety and driver training efforts.

“The app is called SafetyDirect Mobile. It is fully compatible with our powerful new fifth-generation SafetyDirect processor and our AutoVue LDW 5G platform, and it has been developed to enhance the new features provided by our new hardware,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions – controls. “It means when you are standing next to the vehicle, you will be able to directly connect to the SafetyDirect processor – using Wi-Fi – and stream SafetyDirect video directly to the app. That’s a very powerful tool – and an industry first.”

Bendix expects to launch the app in the third quarter of this year.

SafetyDirect by Bendix CVS is Bendix’s user-friendly web portal that provides fleet operators with comprehensive feedback on their fleet and drivers, along with videos of severe events, Thomas said.

SafetyDirect, the only fleet camera system available as a factory-installed option at all major truck manufacturers, gives fleets key insights into common driving behaviors and trends across their operation. It wirelessly transmits the driver performance information and event-based data – video, vehicle, and sensor information from a vehicle’s J1939 network – to a secure web portal, providing fleets the necessary tools to help enhance their safety program.

In addition to enabling full SafetyDirect access, the forthcoming SafetyDirect Mobile app will also allow drivers to securely identify themselves in the vehicle, Thomas said. The app is part of a phased introduction of new features and advanced functionality expected to occur throughout 2019.

Because no advanced driver assistance technology can replace the need for safe and alert drivers practicing safe driving habits, Bendix stresses the importance of comprehensive, proactive driver training, and providing fleets with actionable information and tools to support their safety efforts.

“Informed fleets and drivers help enable safer fleets and drivers,” Thomas said. “The easier we can make it to reinforce good driving, sharpen training programs, and support the men and women behind the wheel, the safer our highways become.”

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group, develops and supplies leading-edge active safety technologies, energy management solutions, and air brake charging and control systems and components under the Bendix brand name.

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Trailer orders down 9 percent from January, ACT says



February net orders slid 9 percent from January volume and were 29 percent below the same month last year. (Courtesy: GREAT DANE)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — ACT Research’s preliminary estimate for February 2019 net trailer orders is 23,800 units.

Final volume will be available later this month.

ACT said its methodology allows the company to generate a preliminary estimate of the market that should be within +/- 3 [ercent of the final order tally.

“February net orders slid 9 percent from January volume and were 29 percent below the same month last year,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research.

“The sequential net order decline matches the industry order pattern of the past two years. With the majority of this year’s build slots already committed, and many OEMs unwilling to open next year’s order board this early, the potential for higher gross orders is somewhat limited at this point. Additionally, cancellations were roughly 1 percent of industry backlog last month. While not excessive, that generates some headwinds for net order volumes as well”

Maly said the order number was still solid, but a softer order count combined with stronger production volumes in February resulted in a 1 percent decline in industry backlog at month-end. “Backlog has remained relatively stable for the past four months, reaching an all-time high in December,” Maly said. “At current production rates, the order board commits the industry into November on average, although dry vans backlogs stretch into mid-December, while reefer commitments actually edge into next year.”

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets.

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Cummins X12 Wins truck writers’ Technical Achievement Award



Krista Toenjes, Cummins’ North American manager of on-highway sales and marketing, accepts this year’s Technical Achievement Award from Jim Park, chairman of the truck writers committee which determines the annual honor. (Courtesy: ATATMC)

ATLANTA — Cummins’ lightweight but powerful X12 diesel has won the annual Jim Winsor Memorial Technical Achievement Award.

The honor was presented recently by a group of trucking news writers during the American Trucking Associations Technology & Maintenance Council meeting.

“As in previous years, there were a number of very worthy candidates nominated by members of our awards committee, and debate was lively,” said Jim Park, chairman of the Award Committee who writes for Heavy Duty Trucking and Today’s Trucking magazines. “But in our voting, the X12 emerged as the top product from a final field of four.”

The runners up were the Peterson Pulse electronic system for trailers, Stemco’s automatically deploying Trailer Tail and the Stemco-Webb Trifecta wheel hub.

Weight is always an issue in spec’ing and operating trucks, especially with bulk haulers and in vocational applications, and the X12’s comparatively low weight, along with millions of miles of previous service in Asia and South America, make it a standout among diesel offerings, members of the awards committee agreed.

The 11.8-liter X12’s dry weight is 2,050 pounds, 150 to 400 pounds less than 11- to 13-liter competitors, yet it makes up to 500 horsepower and 1,700 pound-feet of torque, according to Cummins. Innovative engineering trims pounds from the cylinder block but maintains high strength for long life, while advanced combustion design and effective air and fuel handling and promises high efficiency.

The X12 went into North American production and became available to customers in 2018, which made it eligible for the latest Technical Achievement Award, Park said. The engine is now an option from Autocar, Freightliner and Western Star.

Cummins, the industry’s sole independent engine manufacturer, won the award twice before, in 2017 for its X15 Efficiency Series diesel, and in 1998 for its Signature 600 diesel. In 2007, Cummins Filtration earned the award for its Fleetguard User Friendly filters.

The Truck Writers of North America, predecessor to today’s Award Committee, gave the first Technical Achievement Award went to Grote Industries for its red LED marker lamp, a technology that has become standard on trucks and trailers and across the automotive world.

Two years ago, the committee named the award after the late Jim Winsor, a 50-year veteran of the trucking trade press. He served as editor-in-chief at Commercial Carrier Journal and executive editor at Heavy Duty Trucking, and was active in the Technology & Maintenance Council and its forerunner, The Maintenance Committee.

Aside from Park, members of the awards committee included John Baxter, a freelance technical writer; Tom Berg, with Construction Equipment and Land Line magazines; Jason Cannon, Commercial Carrier Journal; Seth Clevenger, Transport Topics; James Menzies, Truck News & Truck West; Jason Morgan, Fleet Equipment; Jack Roberts, Heavy Duty Trucking; John G. Smith, Today’s Trucking; Suzanne Stempinski, Land Line; and Steve Sturgess, freelance writer.  8

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