Posted: March 20, 2017 in Kenworth

One in three respondents indicated plans to increase fleet size in the next 6 months, relatively unchanged form the 33.8 percent reported in the November 2016 survey conducted by Commercial Carrier Journal.  Less then 5 percent plan to decrease fleet size, while 61.9 percent plan to keep fleet size the same by either replacing aging equipment or not making any changes.

Paccar has announced it is teaming up with American technology company Nvidia to develop an autonomous vehicle solution.  The collaboration represents the latest effort for a technology company to enter the self-driving truck market that also includes entries from Google, Uber, and several others.  Nvidia is know for making graphics processing units for the PC gaming market and as a chip maker for mobile computing.  With Paccar, the two companies developed a proof-of-concept self-driving truck with Level 4 capability built on the Nvidia Drive PX 2 technology.  Level 4 capability is defined as a system that completely drives itself.  The collaboration was announced by Nvidia founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at the Bosch Connected World conference in Berlin, Germany.  At the conference, Huang showed a video of the Paccar self-driving concept on a closed course, handling a wide range of situations without a driver.  The Nvidia Drive PX 2 is an artificial intelligence car computing platform that is designed to examine in real time what is happening around a vehicle, locate itself on a map and plot a safe path based on that information.  The technology combines sensors, cameras, and deep computer learning.

Ford’s F-650 and F-750 vocational trucks have been named the 2017 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award winner for the second consecutive year, Work Truck magazine announced at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. The Fords were chosen from a field of 9 trucks.  “Our customers demand the most capable, dependable vehicles to get the job done and we strive to meet and exceed those expectations” said John Ruppert, Ford general manager, commercial vehicle sales and marketing.  “Winning the prestigious Work Truck magazine Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award for the second straight year is confirmation that we are doing our job to give customers what they need.  Customers have embraced Ford medium-duty trucks as is evident by 2016 sales of F-650 and F-750 being at their highest level since 1997”

Great Dane is adding features to its Everest refrigerated trailer line to improve the safety of drivers and pedestrians, and the integrity of cold-chain custody.  The announcement was made at the 2016 International Foodservice Distributors  Assn. solutions conference.  ” The Great Dane Everest reefer features the most advanced void-free insulation foaming process, premium liners, and modular panel construction”, according to the company.  “There is no wood in the trailer.  These features provide industry-leading thermal efficiency and a safer, more sanitary cargo container.”  For interior protection, the ThermoGuard liner helps maintain insulation performance for the life of the trailer.  Made with a proprietary barrier layer, ThermoGuard reduces cooling runtime, helps maintain excess cooling capacity, and reduces fuel consumption, so cargo will stay at the right temperature, the company added.  In addition, the company said the floor design protects cargo from underneath and helps ensure proper temperatures.  The 16,000-lb-rated aluminum duct floor is welded to seal out moisture, and the composite floor sills are engineered for durability and defense against moisture intrusion.  For additional security and monitoring, Great Dane and ASA Electronics have introduced a rear-mounted camera with an embedded microphone to give drivers increased awareness of the action behind their rigs on the road, in parking lots, and during docking maneuvers.  Drivers will be able to see 22 feet behind the trailer with this system.  Additionally, the camera adds 8 1/2 feet of visibility in each lane adjacent to the trailer, creating a path of rearward sight that is a full 26 feet wide.

Kenworth’s T880 is now available in an all-wheel drive configuration installed at the factory to speed delivery time and reduce costs.  The Marmon-Harrington MT-22 front drive axle is available in a 6×6 or 8×8 configuration with a capacity rating up to 22,000 pounds.  The all-wheel drive configuration requires a Fabco transfer case, and can be specified with Fabco’s 1-speed TC-142 of 2-speed TC-143 transfer case, depending on customer requirements.  “For severe duty applications where the ultimate in traction is required, our new configuration is a welcomed spec” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.  “We see our all-wheel drive T880 being used in oil fields, configured as an off-road crane, in utility and construction work, or used with municipalities and fire/rescue.”

Kenworth is making Dana Spicer D-series lightweight steer axles for use with air disc brakes available on its T680 and T880 model trucks with gross axle weight ratings from 10,000 10 13,200 pounds.  The D-series axle features a new lightweight beam with a robust axle-to-brake attachment to help maximize performance.  A patented steer arm design further reduces weight, delivering excellent performance within a smaller design envelope.  The axles also feature a new integrated air disc brake knuckle.  The knuckle’s one-piece, forged design incorporates the tie-rod arm, disc brake mounting feature and spindle, and eliminates the need for a separate torque plate and its associated fasteners.  The new axle weighs approximately 35 pounds less than the previous lightweight beam axle and torque plate assembly.

Truck-Lite unveiled its new generation of trailer-focused telematics at the Technology & Maintenance Council meeting.  The new system is called Road Ready, and according to Roger Elmer, director of research and technology development for the company, boasts a variety of new features and functions to let both drivers and fleet managers know when a problem with trailer lighting occurs.  Road Ready is based around an array of peel-and-stick, solar-powered, wireless sensors that communicate with Master Control Unit and relay real-time data on a variety of trailer-oriented events including tire pressure, light-out detection, anti-lock brake system monitoring, unauthorized door openings, cargo fill and movement detection, temperature, and auxiliary fuel levels for reefers, as well as geofencing and trailer arrival and departure alerts.  The system is designed to be brand-agnostic and customizable/expandable in terms of adding additional monitoring and alert functions to meet any specific fleet requirement.  The MCU is solar powered and features a quick-charging battery capable of holding a charge for 60 days without sunlight and a 10-year lifespan.  The MCU continually monitors data transmitted by the wireless sensors on the trailer and relays alerts to an intuitive, desktop dashboard that allows fleet managers to monitor an entire trailer fleet at a glance.