Not only is there an Electric Inter, Volvo and LNG, Iveco and Suttons, plus a New Auto from Eaton/Cummins in Diesel News, but also Daimler Platooning and an Electric Van.
Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies has introduced the new Endurant TM 12- speed automated transmission at the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show in Atlanta, in the US. Claimed to be the lightest, most efficient 1,850 ft lb–capable heavy-duty transmission on the US market, it has been designed for line-haul applications where weight savings and efficiency can add to a fleet’s bottom line, Endurant weighs nearly 50kg less than competitive automated manual transmissions (AMTs). Read more
In the news this week have been a Top Female Driver, Australian Truck Manufacturing, Penske Dealership Change and Autonomous Trucks and the need for supporting infrastructure.
Tasmanian Kerri Connors, of Caltas, was named winner of the 2017 Volvo Drivers’ Fuel Challenge on-road category in a competition which put Australia’s most fuel-efficient drivers head to head. The off-road title was claimed by Cameron Simpson of Simpson’s Fuel in Victoria. Over a two-day event at Mt Cotton in Queensland, the competition was whittled down from 17 drivers in the semi-final, to nine in the final. Read more
Front of mind, this week in Diesel News are Fuel Saving, New Volvo , Autonomous Truck and an Underground Warehouse.
The 2017 Volvo Drivers’ Fuel Challenge, supported by sponsors Caltex and Michelin, brings together the six most fuel-efficient Volvo drivers in the country, measured on their daily work performance. Using Volvo’s Dynafleet system, the semi-finalists for the 2017 Volvo Drivers’ Fuel Challenge have been identified as the most fuel efficient Volvo driver in their States.
“This is a whole new way to determine who are the most fuel-efficient drivers in Australia by using the technology in our trucks,” said Mitch Peden, Vice President of Volvo Trucks Australia. “By comparing the Dynafleet data from a wide range of our customers, we’ve identified the six drivers who consistently demonstrate fuel-efficient driving skills, day in and day out, while driving fully-laden trucks on genuine commercial journeys.”
The six semi-finalists who will each represent their State are:
New South Wales: Andrew Woodleigh, Borg Manufacturing
Victoria: Cameron Simpson, Simpson’s Fuel
South Australia: David Kleinig, L H Perrys
Tasmania: Chris Scolyer, De Bruyns Transport
Western Australia: Phil Vallance, Desert Sands Cartage
Queensland: Andrew Print, TruckHaul
The semi-final and final of the annual Volvo Driver’s Fuel Challenge will be held on July 20-21 in Brisbane. The winner will go on to represent Australia in the final in Gothenburg, Sweden in September.
New Volvo VNL
Volvo Trucks North America has revealed the new Volvo VNL series, available in several configurations, including an all-new, 70-inch sleeper and a series of new features. The new truck includes swept back headlights, which include daytime running lights and there’s a new Volvo grille and hood. Redesigned and repositioned engine air intakes allow for less turbulent intake air delivery. Airflow up and around the cab has also been optimised with new chassis and roof fairings.
The Volvo VNL features an all-new dashboard which puts often-used controls within the driver’s reach. Centred in the gauge cluster is a configurable, five-inch colour driver information display that provides trip and diagnostic data. The driver information display is customisable, ensuring that critical information is always available to the driver at a quick glance.
New Autonomous System
Launched by Swedish company, Einride, the ‘T-pod’ is an electric, self-driving vehicle that can be remotely controlled by drivers, set for prototype testing in 2017 followed by international distribution. Eimride also says it is developing a remote driving system, charging stations and an infrastructure that will make the system the most pioneering of its kind.
The company claims T-pods will start running between the cities of Gothenburg and Helsingborg, Sweden and the first active system will cover a capacity of 2,000,000 pallets per year., comments:
“Einride is transforming the existing transport chain from the ground up,” Filip Lilja, COO at Einride. “The big companies behind long haul trucks keep building bigger trucks to increase efficiency, which ultimately means even more emissions. We are changing that by creating a secure solution that is, not only cost effective, but dramatically minimises the negative environmental impact of the transportation industry.”
Warehouse developers in the UK are proposing underground warehouses as a new way to fit logistics facilities into the crowded area around Heathrow Airport. A 175,000 m2 underground warehouse has been laid out before planners and reports suggest it is set to get the go-ahead.
With the nine metre high warehouse underground, it will be topped by a new public park at ground level on a site less than 1.5 km from Heathrow Airport.
It would seem Instagramming and Trucking are a good mix. Here at Diesel News we like to see people in our industry making interesting images. Here we have big triples in the West, double tankers from Toll, cool matt paint job and classic Mack tanker. Read more
We can keep our heads in the sand and tell ourselves they are decades away, but there are some real-world examples of the latest technology making this possible in quite a short time.
These examples are from Volvo, but you can be sure every major truck maker is pouring plenty of dollars into autonomous programs all over the world. In fact, the basic technology should be available to all of them, as the gizmos which make it possible – like the light-based radar – are being made by a wide spread of component suppliers.
So, these trucks are going to be a reality. The first areas to use them will be in confined areas like mine sites and industrial plants, but we can be sure the pace of technology development will not slow and enable the new trucks to interact with humans more and more over a short period of time.
Autonomous trucks delivering goods in the centre of Melbourne, no, or running a B-triple down the Bruce Highway, no. However, moving containers around the port and to nearby depots, quite possibly.
At an event during the Brisbane Truck Show weekend, Volvo Trucks showcased its concept FH XXL cab to an invited audience.
“We are extremely excited to be introducing the FH XXL cab concept here in Australia,” said Mitch Peden, Vice President of Volvo Truck Australia. “As always, we have been listening closely to our customers and there has been a strong and clear demand for this product.” Read more
When can we expect to see autonomous trucks on our streets? Right now apparently, this is a Volvo garbage truck actually working on a residential street in Sweden.
When Diesel News took a trip on public roads in this autonomous Freightliner, a couple of years ago, the moment when the driver pressed the button, let go of the wheel and handed over control to the truck, sent a shiver down the spine:
Here we have the Otto autonomous truck from the US. This company, now owned by Uber, is currently in a legal wrangle with Google over technology patents:
Here is where it all started, in the mining industry. There have been autonomous trucks hauling large loads out of mine sites in Australia for quite a few years now. Out of sight and out of mind, to the general public:
In the European market, Volvo tweaks engine offering. It has tweaked its Euro 6 engines and FH cab aerodynamics in what it describes as, “…yet another step on the path to efficient transportation.”
It goes on to say changes to its Euro 6 ‘C’ D13 engine (fitted in FH and FM) represent, “A perfect example of how several small advances together can result in a big improvement.” The two most significant updates under the shed are the adoption of a higher compression ratio on the 420 and 460hp versions of the D13 six-pot and a new optimised turbocharger on 500 and 540 hp D13 variants.
It’s also put the FH back into a wind tunnel to find new ways to improve its cab’s aerodynamics. As a result it’s fine-tuned the front bumper spoiler, top cab air deflector panels, mudguards and mud flaps as well as the wheel arches, a key source of aerodynamic loss according to Volvo. By reducing the gap between the wheel arch and steer axle tyre, the Swedes have reduced those aerodynamic ‘leakage’ losses and lowered the amount of turbulence around the wheel.
Likewise, by optimising the shape of the FH’s front bumper spoiler the air stream is now deflected away from the underside of the truck, a notorious area for creating turbulence and drag, to around the side of the truck where it can be better controlled. However, by making the lower part of the bumper of a softer material neither ground clearance or approach angles have been compromised. Similarly the air flow between the back of the FH cab and the front of the trailer has been improved through the use of flexible elements in the corners of the top cab deflector.
An indication of just how far truck designers and aerodynamicists are going in order to save fuel is the fact that the latest FH now has optimised mudguards. According to the company, “By applying variant matching of the mudguards and mud flaps according to the size of the wheels, greater aerodynamic efficiency is achieved without the protective function being impaired.”
Once again the savings aren’t massive, but when you add the improved FH cab aerodynamics to the latest Euro 6 C D13 engine tweaks, Volvo reckons you can make a fuel saving of up to three percent on regional and long-haul work. When you consider all the low-hanging fruit (like eco-driver training, improved routing and scheduling with telematics, low-rolling resistance tyres and improved trailer and bodywork aerodynamics) has already been picked off the fuel-savings tree, an extra three percent off your fuel bill represents a significant saving, especially to a fleet running more than 10 trucks.
There’s another reason too, at least in the UK, why every little fuel-saving matters. According to the latest survey of the UK’s Top 100 road transport operators from leading UK industry newspaper, Motor Transport, in 2015 the average return on sales for those hundred players, which includes major European and global logistics companies, was a modest 3.17 percent. The good news is that it’s up on the previous year’s 2.61 percent. So when the chairman says, “We need to make more profit from our business,” it’s hardly surprising those little incremental savings at the pump created by the manufacturers start to look increasingly attractive….and that hard-pressed European hauliers are grabbing them with both hands.
One of the truck manufacturers which has been thinking about training new drivers is Volvo. The company has been developing its training system over the years and has declared its intention to work towards some kind of certification for drivers to enable for them to demonstrate their professional ability. Although still in its early stages, Volvo have declared their intention to take on the issue of driver availability and professionalism.
“It has moved a little bit,” said Paul Illmer, Volvo Director Vehicle Sales Strategy and Support. “It used to be all about the handover. It was to make sure the driver was aware of the basic functions of the truck and to make sure, when they get the keys and go on the first trip, they know how to operate the truck in the correct manner.
“Then it moved to much more focus on safety, making sure the driver is driving in a safe manner, anticipating traffic and was also fuel efficient. From there it moved to making sure they were fuel efficient, safe, but also courteous.
“We do a lot now with the drivers about being ambassadors for their company. It’s an interesting term, but it’s to make sure they are aware their role as a driver is to be courteous to car drivers, bicycle riders. They need to make sure when they interact with their customer’s customers, they portray the best image they can for their customer, but also for the driving population of Australia.”
Volvo is still formulating its way forward, but does have the intention of driving some kind of national qualification, a passport drivers can take with them to assure potential employers they are responsible and able to drive in the correct manner.
“A development from what we have got would be an academy,” says Illmer. “It would be formalising what we get. What we do today is training drivers who are already employed in a customers business, but what we are trying to get to with a driver academy is to take somebody who has got the license then put them through the programs.
“Today, we are able to put a driver in with a customer who has been through the fuel efficiency course, through the ambassador type course and is safe, keeping the truck safe. From day one when they start with the customer they already have these tools in their back pocket.
“What we are looking at doing later this year is bringing the top driver trainers in major fleets, sitting them down with our driver trainers. Then bring in someone from NTI, someone from the ATA and not make it a Volvo Group initiative, but actually sit down and talk about what we are offering in terms of course material. We can then look at what is developing as the course requirements in the market. We can then ensure we are dynamic enough to work with what the expectations are in the market. I think that’s very important.”