Trucking videos have been transformed by the ‘Have Drone, Will Travel’ brigade who are coming up with quality material in the wilder trucking environments. This is an example of the genre, by Danny Morton, out of Longreach, concentrating on the livestock carting industry which is the lifeblood of this part of Queensland.
Rural and remote Australia is an ideal environment for the drone enthusiast to ply their art. There’s plenty of room, minimal low-flying aircraft and no tall buildings. The angle from which the drone can film adds to the atmosphere of the shots and the ability to look over the truck shows us just what the truckie is doing and the conditions they deal with every day.
Particularly effective is the truck loading scene, with a big mob of cattle moving through the yard, kicking up the dust, which drifts across the scene, adding to the atmosphere. The triple comes around a bend and over a narrow bridge, heading straight for the camera, the drone rises above the height of the trailers just before it arrives.
Danny Morton is just one of many talented individuals working out in the wild country and bringing it to our computer screen, via the wonders of YouTube. They are generally working in the more remote areas where they have the time, space and, of course, less enforcement of low-flying rules. The drone seems to have been made to make the most of photographing the truck at work. Filming them from the side of the road as they fly by just doesn’t cut it any more, you have to ‘have drone, will travel’ to show trucking at its best.
This is a wheelie quick Isuzu truck pulling off an incredible stunt back in a 1980s TV advert for the Japanese market. No wonder the Isuzu brand has been number one for so long here in Australia, no other truck can wheelie like this. Diesel News is still trying to figure out how they achieved this in the days before CGI and all of the other electronic magic. Read more
This new technology in the US, THMPER, is showing exactly what loads a bridge can take. For years, many in the trucking industry have disputed the bridge assessments done by the states in Australia, underestimating the truck masses the bridge can safely carry.
Not only are the tests showing a consistent pattern of unnecessary bridge weight limits, the testing is also quick and cheap. Another criticism levelled at the keepers of our road infrastructure is the time and cost of a state-sanctioned assessment.
We are constantly seeing real improvements in productivity stymied by bridge engineering, which, if these results in the US are anything to go by, are an outdated obstruction to progress.
This technology is available now, the road authorities have an opportunity to climb down from their obstinacy and at least look at this system. What’s the betting it will be okay for a couple of states, but out of the question for the rest?
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.
Last week was Brisbane Truck Show, here are the Diesel News’ Truck Show Snapshots, if you couldn’t make to the event.There were unveilings by Scania, UD Trucks, Mercedes Benz, International and Hino. Crowds surged around the new Kenworth T610 and the old school limited edition T900 on the Paccar stand. Freightliner harked back over the 75 years since the founding of the company with a rare 1950 A64-800 ‘Bubblenose’ truck. 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:
A new initiative from NTI will see the insurance company bringing back to life a truck to be auctioned to raise funds for and awareness of Motor Neuron Disease (MND).
It has announced a new initiative bringing together members of the transport industry and community to support the MND and Me Foundation in raising much-needed funds for Motor Neurone Disease.
Over the coming months, NTI will restore a 1946 International Model K5 rigid truck, which will be raffled for the MND and Me Foundation to help people living with the disease.
“The restored, operational truck will be a culmination of time, energy, skill and resources generously contributed by NTI’s people, suppliers, partners and industry affiliates”, said NTI CEO Tony Clark. “It’s a truck built for the community, by the community. It will bring people together and tell a story, while serving a much greater purpose.”
The entire journey will be documented and shared online via a series of webisodes, across NTI’s social media platforms. The truck will be on display in its current state at the 2017 Brisbane Truck Show, where visitors can purchase raffle tickets on the day. Tickets will also be available online following the event, until September.
“The MND and Me Foundation is honoured to be involved in this very exciting project,” said Paul Olds, MND and Me Foundation CEO. “NTI’s efforts will generate better awareness of the impact that Motor Neurone Disease has on the community, and raise vital funds to ensure no one faces MND alone.”
We think we have it tough, have a look at some Third World Trucking in this promotional video. The narrative here is one we would recognise, but set on roads we would try to avoid and with drivers working in conditions we would find unacceptable.
The Indian community are rightly proud of their truckies and salute them in this anthem made by one of the main truck manufacturers on the Sub Continent, Ashok Leyland. Here we see an idealised view of life on the road, but the driver still sleeps under the truck and sits by a campfire at night.
Most of these trucks are sold as simply a chassis and an engine with a steering wheel attached to the front cowl of the truck. The owner of the truck will then build the cabin and body onto the basic chassis (no strict ADRs here!). Here is a brand new truck on the way to a new customer:
The second smaller truck featured in our main video shows how the Indian truck business is developing. This model is sold with a complete cabin already fitted and ready to go, and this trend is increasing.
To keep up with the needs of a rapidly expanding economy, the Indian government is building newer faster roads to improve transport productivity. However, the issue of old carts and overloaded motor bikes on these major highways continues to be a problem.
The new roads make an appearance in this highly suspicious speed test on a brand new road somewhere in India:
What shines through is the pride in their job by the truckies themselves and the respect they are given within Indian society, something the Australian community should think about emulating in the future.
For the poms it must be a long way, to use gas power end-to-end in the UK, from the top of Scotland to the foot of England – all on one tank. The 874-mile stretch equates to 1,407km – not a bad distance to make on one tank of fuel.
What’s in the tank? Liquefied natural gas, something Australia has in the billions of litres and which is keeping the north-west Australian economy going with the massive LNG exporting industry going full bore.
Unfortunately, the idea of powering trucks with LNG has never fired up the imagination of the Australian trucking industry. There have been a few gallant pioneers working to introduce the concept more widely, but LNG remains a niche product, in a very small niche.
Mitchells (now part of Toll) in Western Australia used a number of LNG powered trucks on high-mileage 24-hour-a-day tanker transport and could show considerable cost savings.
Murray Goulburn has a been running a number of LNG powered trucks and retains refuelling facilities on some of their sites.
In Tasmania, a group of transport companies and an LNG supplier got together to try and introduce the fuel onto the island with some success. A number of fleets use the shared refuelling facilities in Tasmania.
For one reason or another, LNG has never received the kickstart required to get in onto the agenda for many in trucking. There needs to be some momentum stimulated before the natural advantages of the fuel will be taken on board and more widely accepted. LNG has never been given a helping hand to set it on its way.
The Alternative Fuels subsidy was disbanded just at the point where the fuel came onto the market. The possibility of a carbon tax, or some form of carbon trading scheme, gave the idea a boost at one point. However, the permanent churn of Aussie politics saw the advantages of a lower-carbon fuel disappear along with, a carbon scheme and the chances of any form of government subsidy.
The suppliers of LNG powered vehicles didn’t help either. The systems sold were either relatively inefficient or prohibitively expensive at the time and many operators eventually walked away from them.
This latest system from Iveco seems to be gaining some traction in Europe, where they do have a carbon trading scheme and the fuel does have some fiscal advantages.
Any chance of this technology being launched in Australia any time soon? Not much!