New technology to get even more out of the current truck designs is being experimented with around the world, by simply enabling trucks to run closer to the truck in front, without compromising safety. Here is a simple-to-understand video giving us the basics of just how platooning works in trucks. This shows us the EcoTwin project from DAF with two trucks, wirelessly linked via WiFi, driving at a close distance with the driver in the second truck not needing to accelerate, brake or steer. Read more
At the upcoming Brisbane Truck Show, this is the kind of image the reintroduction of the International brand will be trying to create, plenty of bling and loud rock music, with a Lonestar. However, this is not the image or the truck which will make or break the brand in Australia. That job will fall to another truck, the ProStar, to do the heavy lifting and get truck sales on the board. Read more
The Dakar rally provides us with some spectacular footage as trucks rampage through the deserts and mountains of South America. This year’s event was no exception, with the Russians dominating the race, coming in first, second and third in their Kamaz trucks. MAN managed fourth place with another Kamaz coming in fifth. Strong contenders Iveco started badly, losing a lot of time, but finished well, winning the final stage to finish sixth overall. The Hino team came in 16th overall, but first in the under 10 litre class, completing the course powered by a nine litre engine. Read more
Here are a couple of demonstrations of how well the automatic emergency braking systems work on modern trucks. They use radar to identify a potential dangerous object in front of the truck and, after warning the driver, take action to ensure the truck doesn’t hit said object. Diesel has tested these systems and found them to be surprisingly effective, once you get over the feel of the truck as a computer takes over the braking system you normally control. Read more
The prospect of seeing tightly packed truck convoys on the highway, controlled by the lead truck, running nose to tail to conserve fuel, has become a little closer this week with the announcement by the Netherlands’ Minister for Environment and Infrastructure, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, of a plan to use self driving autonomous trucks on Dutch highways.
The minister is seeking to amend Holland’s road rules to enable a large scale test program of autonomous trucks to take place. After a program of computer simulation and closed track testing, the intention is to trial the technology on specific highways to assess its viability and safety outcomes.
The trial is being organised by Transport and Logistics Netherlands, along with DAF Trucks and port authorities. Initially two trucks will take part during testing, leading to working in and around Rotterdam Port, and later on nearby motorways. Eventually the plan is to run the second truck driverless, simply following the exact route of the lead truck.
Several groups have been working on platooning, with Volvo, both truck and car, involved with technology company Ricardo, who lead the SARTRE project with trucks and cars involved. Vehicles enter a semi-autonomous control mode allowing the drivers of the following vehicles to operate a phone, read a book or watch a movie.
In the US, the Peloton system is aimed at saving fuel, it keeps trucks ten metres apart and the driver of the second vehicle still steers the truck. The linking system controls acceleration and braking of it’s followers to ensure a safe gap. The drivers of the following vehicle gets a video feed from the front truck so they can see the road ahead. To break the link the following driver simply touches the brakes.
After the announcement about the decision by Western Diesel to go into receivership in early April, the situation surrounding the two Paccar brands in the Northern Territory has been in question. The situation has been resolved, this week, with an announcement by Paccar of a deal to bring in CJD Equipment as the company’s representatives in the state.
CJD have considerable experience with both Kenworth and DAF as they already own dealer groups selling the two brands in Western Australia and Tasmania. The company will take over the Paccar related business formerly run by Western Diesel, after coming to an arrangement with the receiver who is handling the former dealer’s affairs.
Handing the business over to CJD should mean Kenworth and DAF customers will see a continuing support for the Paccar product. CJD has been dealing with trucks in remote areas like the Pilbara and around mining areas like Kalgoorlie for some time , so will be able to bring its considerable experience to bear in remote situations.
Paccar are promoting the new DAF Euro 6 range of trucks for the European market and have released this video. Apart from the obvious promotional aspect of the video, it does stimulate a couple of questions Australians would probably like to know the answer to.
The new shape for the DAF looks good and will eventually end up in Australia, but how long in the future? The answer is likely to depend on whether the new design will fit with current engine technology as we are not expecting to see Euro 6 mandated here much before 2019.
The Paccar MX 11, now, this is an interesting engine. Kenworth are introducing the MX 13, this year, into their line up. Will the 11 litre option be offered, down the track, to Kenworth buyers whose trucks are at the lower end of the weight range and looking for a certain amount of power, but also very low tare?