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Category Archives: Technology

Take Me Home!

The Uber Team met Frank in December of 2016. He’s a career driver who’s constantly on the road. When we asked him what one feature he wished we could create for him, he responded: “Get me home more.”

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We are happy to announce our partnership with Magellan and their ELD Solutions

We are happy to announce our partnership with Magellan and their ELD Solutions

In an effort to continually offer new and beneficial services Transport Financial Services has formed a strategic partnership with Magellan GPS.

Transport Financial Services brings over 55 years of combined experience in Transportation, Logistics, and Online Social Media Marketing. With the Magellan modern ELD solution that works on IOS or Android as well as a hardware solution we can ensure to provide the best level of service, expertise and commitment to excellence as well as an ELD solution that is FMCSA certified.

Not only is it FMCSA certified it also is at a great price POINT!. Check the comparison chart below and you will see for the price you can not beat this great combination from TFS and Magellan.

(Be sure to use promo code TFSMALL when ordering)

TFS & Magellan ELD Offer

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Volvo eyes 2019 for electric truck sales

Volvo Trucks this week said it expects to begin selling electric trucks in Europe in 2019, with the first units put into operation with select customers later this year.

Göran Nyberg, President of Volvo Trucks North America, says electric trucks drastically reduce noise and exhaust emissions and create new opportunities to manage logistics. For example, more freight can be moved at night, resulting in fewer trucks competing for road space during peak traffic times.

“By using electrically powered and quieter trucks for goods transport in urban areas, we meet several challenges simultaneously,” he says. “Without disturbing noise and exhaust gases, it will be possible to operate in more sensitive city centers. Transport may also take place throughout less busy periods, for example in late evening and at night. This will reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush-hour traffic, allowing both the road network and vehicles to be utilized far more effectively than today.”

Volvo Concept Truck

Nyberg says urban distribution and other pick-up and delivery applications are a starting point for battery-powered electric trucks, but he envisions broader deployment of electric trucks for freight movement in North America as technologies and the market mature. With well-developed logistics and more effective utilization of roads in the evenings and at night, it is also possible for many smaller vehicles to be replaced by fewer but larger vehicles, thus further contributing to lower emissions and less traffic. For example, distribution trucks have just over ten times the load capacity of a regular van. If a larger proportion of transport assignments could be carried out during hours when fewer people are on the road, this will also significantly reduce the risk of accidents.

“Volvo’s technology and deep understanding of electromobility are based on proven commercial solutions already used in Volvo’s electric buses, and solutions introduced in Volvo’s hybrid trucks as far back as 2010,” adds Keith Brandis Volvo Trucks North America vice president for product planning. “Electric vehicles will be part of our future, but the vehicles themselves are only one part of what is needed for large-scale electrification to succeed. Enabling long-term sustainable transport is a complex issue that requires a holistic and wide range of measures. We are working closely with customers, cities, suppliers of batteries and charging infrastructure, and other key stakeholders to create the necessary framework for battery-powered electric trucks.”

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Likely FMCSA boss Martinez stands behind ELD mandate, hopes to shore up CSA

Raymond P. Martinez, President Trump’s pick to run the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration during his presidency, told a panel of Senators on Tuesday that he does not have plans to delay the agency’s Dec. 18 deadline for compliance with the electronic logging device mandate should he be confirmed to run the agency.

However, Martinez did say he intends to examine how the rule could affect small business truckers, if confirmed. “I have heard this rule could cause serious hardship to some small independent truckers, particularly those in the agriculture sector,” he said. “I want to meet with those involved who oppose the rule to learn more about those concerns.”

Martinez testified Tuesday in front of the Senate’s Commerce Committee as part of his confirmation process. He joined three other nominees picked by Trump to run DOT agencies. The Senate must confirm Martinez via a simple majority for him to take the reins of Washington’s trucking regulatory body. Trump tapped Martinez in September to head FMCSA. Martinez has served as head of New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission under Gov. Chris Christie since 2010, having served in other motor vehicle-related roles most of his career.

He was asked only a handful of questions, two of which pertained to the ELD mandate. “Our goal is not to cripple commerce, but to make our roadways safer,” Martinez said in response to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Cruz asked Martinez that, given the estimated $2 billion price tag associated with industry-wide compliance with the mandate, whether he’d consider delaying the Dec. 18 deadline.

Martinez said he believes “regulatory reform should be an ongoing process,” but that “it’s my understanding with regards to ELDs that they are legally required” ahead of the December deadline.

“In the past, it was paper-based,” he said in response to another question from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), “which means [logs were] very susceptible to fraudulent entries and altered entries.”

Martinez also said he intends to make the agency more data driven, particularly when it comes to targeting high-risk carriers within the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. CSA’s BASIC ratings were pulled from public view by Congress in 2015, and the National Academies of Science this year issued a report to Congress and FMCSA with recommendations on how the agency can reform the program to make it more equitable to carriers and accurate in its assessment of safety risk.

Martinez told Senators he intends to review the report and “make appropriate changes [and] evaluate how best we can move forward” with the program.

“We need to be using sound science,” he said. “The key thing is whether the data we use to compile these assessments are accurate, reliable and fair. If the data is unreliable, we lose credibility with stakeholders and the entities we regulate. And we do a disservice to the public,” he said.

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Carrier registration for 2018 fiscal year delayed indefinitely pending FMCSA notice

The carrier registration process for the 2018 fiscal year has been indefinitely delayed, according to a notice posted to the Unified Carrier Registration board’s website Friday.

The governing UCR Board of Directors has recommended that all states delay the enforcement period of 2018 registration compliance until 90 days after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes a final rule setting the 2018 registration period and an updated registration fee structure.

Registration is supposed to begin each year on Oct. 1, but a Federal Register notice issued by FMCSA last month announced that the annual registration period had been delayed until Nov. 1. The same notice announced that fees for the 2018 fiscal year would be reduced from 2017’s fee structure.

However, FMCSA’s failure to complete the formal rulemaking process regarding 2018 registration and fees has prompted a further delay in the registration period. “We regret this inconvenience and appreciate your patience,” reads the announcement from the UCR Board of Directors.

“Until further notice, please do not accept any carrier fees for the 2018 registration year,” the UCR Board told state administrators in an Oct. 27 letter. “If received prior to the final rulemaking, please return to the entity that paid the fee.”

A lawsuit filed in late September claimed the UCR Board of Directors violated federal open meetings acts by failing to notify the public of a Sept. 14 meeting, at which the UCR Board determined the 2018 fee structure and the delayed Nov. 1 registration start period.

A court agreed with the plaintiffs in the case and required the UCR Board to post to its website the minutes from the Sept. 14 meeting. However, the court said it lacked the authority to rescind the decisions made by the Board at the meeting

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Daimler’s electric trucks start making deliveries in Japan and US

 

Most electric vehicle discussions revolve around passenger cars. Sometimes buses get thrown into the mix. We’re laser-focused on how people will get from point A to point B and sometimes forget that our streets are also teeming with delivery trucks and vans. Daimler hasn’t forgotten and neither has its light-truck brand Fuso.

After years of testing, Fuso (it’ll be using eFuso for its electric vehicles) is putting its eCanter truck on the roads of Japan and the United States, delivering for 7-Eleven and UPS, respectively. Fifty of the trucks will land in North America by the end of 2017.

During an event at Mercedes-Benz’s research and development facility in Silicon Valley, (Daimler is the parent company or Mercedes and Fuso), I was able to take the new eCanter out for a spin. For the driver in the cab, it’s not much different from the diesel and gas vehicles they’re used to steering.

But for everyone else, the eCanter is almost completely silent and doesn’t spew CO2 into the air while hauling our Amazon purchases around town. Both of those, along with the cost savings of switching from oil-based fuels to electric, are the big selling points of the eCanter.

Most delivery trucks (including the traditional Canter) use diesel and make quite a bit of racket while the engine runs. It’s why you can tell when the UPS or FedEx truck is out front, but not the pizza delivery person. Anytime you can reduce noise in a work environment, not only are you making things better for employees but also, in this instance, reducing noise pollution on our already hectic streets.

As for environmental pollution, Fuso says that driving the eCanter instead of the regular Canter prevents 16 tons of pollution from the air per year. If you think about how many trucks like this you see roaming around your city every day, that’s an incredible amount of CO2 kept from the air.

But companies need more than quiet trucks and good environmental vibes to replace their current fleets with battery-powered ones. Fuso said that these new trucks could generate a saving of $19,000 after five years of use compared to their predecessors. The trucks will also be offered with the option for lessees to upgrade the batteries when improvements become available.

And finally, by using a companion system, companies can track their trucks’ energy usage in far greater detail than they can with their diesel counterparts, including staggering how much and at what times the vehicle needs charging. This can be pretty often if the truck strays too far from its distribution center.

The eCanter has a range of 60 to 80 miles based on the terrain and how much of a load it’s carrying. The truck is rated for 9,000 pounds of cargo. Recharging the vehicle’s six battery packs can take as long as eight hours using a typical level 2 charger, but with a DC fast-charger it can get to 80 percent in about an hour. This means a driver could replenish the charge during a lunch break if a fast-charger is available. A full charge will take up to two hours.

These specs make the truck perfect for dense areas like San Francisco, Chicago and New York, but for cities, like Los Angeles, that are basically hundreds of miles of sprawl, the eCanter probably won’t be replacing vehicles that needed to cover all those miles in a day. For those routes under the century mark, the eCanter looks to be a solid performer, based on my time in the cab of the truck.

The silent truck also displayed the characteristics found on other electric vehicles. It has plenty of torque right off the line and that power is available at almost any speed. Driving it as easy as driving any truck with an automatic transmission: You just point and go. For drivers that might not be fans of change, the only adaptation they’ll have to make is looking at a battery gauge instead of a fuel one.

The eCanter has a range of 60 to 80 miles based on the terrain and how much of a load it’s carrying. The truck is rated for 9,000 pounds of cargo. Recharging the vehicle’s six battery packs can take as long as eight hours using a typical level 2 charger, but with a DC fast-charger it can get to 80 percent in about an hour. This means a driver could replenish the charge during a lunch break if a fast-charger is available. A full charge will take up to two hours.

These specs make the truck perfect for dense areas like San Francisco, Chicago and New York, but for cities, like Los Angeles, that are basically hundreds of miles of sprawl, the eCanter probably won’t be replacing vehicles that needed to cover all those miles in a day. For those routes under the century mark, the eCanter looks to be a solid performer, based on my time in the cab of the truck.

The silent truck also displayed the characteristics found on other electric vehicles. It has plenty of torque right off the line and that power is available at almost any speed. Driving it as easy as driving any truck with an automatic transmission: You just point and go. For drivers that might not be fans of change, the only adaptation they’ll have to make is looking at a battery gauge instead of a fuel one.

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U.S. House set to vote today on driverless legislation. But how do trucks fit in?

WASHINGTON – When the House votes on a slate of self-driving vehicle policies Wednesday, members will take up a bill with a big unanswered question at its core: what to do about commercial trucks.

Driverless trucks are seen as one of the most promising – and fraught – elements of the coming autonomous future on U.S. roads. Convoys of robo-trucks guided across the country by a single human driver – or none at all – could become a major economic force. They could be a boon to safety, or a particularly potent hazard, opposing advocates say.

They could also gobble up plenty of good-paying jobs.

And so lawmakers seeking bipartisan backing for the so-called Self Drive Act made clear that their definition of a “highly automated vehicle . . . does not include a commercial motor vehicle,” as the legislation puts it.

That means it doesn’t cover trucks bigger than 10,000 pounds, or vehicles meant to carry more than 10 passengers or hazardous materials.

The bill would block states from regulating “the design, construction, or performance” of automated vehicles, clarifying that such power is in federal hands. Many technology and car companies have warned that state legislators are leaving behind a “patchwork” of regulations that could dampen innovation and thwart travelers crossing state lines.

Some state officials, meanwhile, argue that federal guidelines on autonomous vehicles, which are voluntary, do too little to guarantee safety.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has been working on changes to the Obama-era policies, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will travel to Michigan next week to describe updated guidelines.

The House legislation set to be considered Wednesday also allows automakers and tech companies to seek exemptions, totaling in the tens of thousands, from federal vehicle safety standards, as long the companies can ensure a car’s safety won’t be downgraded. That would allow, for example, an automaker to ditch the steering wheel to allow more creative driverless designs. The legislation also instructs Chao, within two years, to require “safety assessment certifications” that demonstrate driverless vehicles “are likely to . . . function as intended and contain fail safe features.”

The Self Drive Act came out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee with unanimous support this summer, offering a rare bipartisan win on a high-profile issue on which members are eager to show results.

A separate House committee, Transportation and Infrastructure, has jurisdiction over trucking, which meant backers of the Self Drive Act could avoid the touchy and potentially perilous driverless truck issue. But the Senate Commerce Committee, which handles transportation issues and which is crafting its own bill, has wrestled with trucking, and it’s not clear how the House and Senate approaches will eventually mesh.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was among the groups pushing Congress to stay clear of trucks.

James P. Hoffa, president of the Teamsters, said many issues remain with the House bill. But the union, which represents 600,000 drivers, commended Congress “for recognizing that a starting point for any discussion on this subject was that no legislation should impact commercial motor vehicles or traditional commercial drivers,” Hoffa said in a statement.

Hoffa said that the Teamsters must be at the center of any separate discussion on autonomy and trucking to make sure technology is “not used to put workers at risk on the job or destroy livelihoods and chip away at the middle class.”

But Michael Cammisa, vice president of safety and connectivity at the American Trucking Associations, said that the industry doesn’t think “it makes sense to write legislation without it applying to all vehicles, and that includes commercial trucks which account for 33.8 million registered vehicles and 450 billion miles traveled annually.”

Cammisa added that “it continues to be our belief that the technologies being developed today will assist, rather than supplant, drivers on the road.”

 

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HaulFox, FourKites Partner to Enhance Visibility for Freight Brokers

HaulFox, a provider of transportation management software for freight brokers, has partnered with freight-tracking technology provider FourKites to enhance supply chain visibility, the companies said in a joint announcement.

FourKites’ technology collects shipping location and status information in real time from more than 60 onboard GPS systems, electronic logging devices, trailer tracking devices and driver cell phones.

Using that technology, HaulFox customers gain access to accurate shipment locations and estimated time of arrival, including predictive weather and traffic impact on delivery times, every 15 minutes.

“Hours-old visibility updates were acceptable in the past, but now shippers expect their freight brokers to know where an 80,000-pound truck hauling $100,000 worth of cargo is at any given time,” said Jonathan Drouin, HaulFox founder and chief operating officer.

“FourKites and HaulFox share a unique view on supply chain automation and the enormous amount of efficiency it can provide for customers,” said Matt Elenjickal, CEO and founder of FourKites. “Integrated together, the platform takes the guesswork out of tracking valuable shipments across the country.”

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Convoy, Uber Accelerate Push to Match Carriers With Loads Via Mobile Apps

The push to automate freight brokering is gaining momentum with technology startup Convoy raising $62 million to accelerate its growth plans and Uber Freight adding features and expanding into new markets since its May launch.

These digital freight brokers offer mobile applications that match carriers with loads, automate manual processes and provide upfront pricing and speedy payment.

Other firms that are connecting carriers with available freight through smartphone apps include Transfix, TruckerPath’s Truckloads app, Cargomatic, Overhaul and LaneHoney.

Convoy’s new round of financing, led by startup accelerator Y Combinator, will enable the company to continue expanding its services.

Convoy will invest those funds in building a “national automated network of trucks and trucking companies,” CEO Dan Lewis told Transport Topics.

That expanded network will allow Convoy “to improve efficiency across the country and really start to lower the cost structure of the industry while also improving service levels,” he said.

At the same time, Convoy will continue to invest in its technology by hiring more workers with data science and engineering backgrounds.

The Seattle-based company currently has 120 employees and plans to “grow that significantly over the next couple of years,” Lewis said.


Convoy founders Grant Goodale and Dan Lewis, courtesy of Convoy

Since its launch in 2015, Convoy has been focused on automating various aspects of freight transactions, including pricing and load matching — in other words, “finding the right truck and the right driver for the right job at the right time at the right price,” he said.

Uber Freight is working to solve that same problem.

Uber Freight has updated its platform to provide personalized load matching designed to make it easier for drivers to find the types of freight they like to haul.

The app now automatically learns drivers’ preferences based on their past loads, location, home base, length of haul and other factors, the company said. When a new load that matches these preferences becomes available, the app pushes a notification to the driver.

“We are continuing to evolve the product and we are releasing a series of features to help get the right load to the right driver,” said Uber Freight Director Bill Driegert.

“The app is scraping all the loads that are in our system and pinpointing the ones that are the best suited to each driver at any given time,” added Eric Berdinis, Uber Freight’s senior product manager.

Berdinis described the update as “the first step in a longer journey.” As Uber continues to refine the technology and learn more about driver preferences, the goal is to reach a point where the load notifications sent to drivers are “a perfect match every time,” he said.

Uber Freight also is expanding its focus beyond its initial launch market in Texas.

While shippers and carriers already are using the app to move freight throughout the country, Uber is now working to increase the amount of loads available on the platform in major metro areas in California, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Chicago and the Midwest.

“By focusing on these particular regions, we’re trying to drive density in targeted areas and also getting more and more drivers onto the application in those areas,” Driegert said.

While most of Uber Freight’s loads today are still in Texas, drivers can expect to see a greater number of loads available on the app in these new markets in the coming months, the company said.

It declined to say how many loads have been moved via the platform or how many drivers are currently using the app.

Uber Freight is a unit of ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc.

In addition to Y Combinator, Convoy’s financing round also included Cascade Investment, the private investment company controlled by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, as well as Mosaic Ventures and Barry Diller.

Anu Hariharan and Ali Rowghani, partners in Y Combinator’s Continuity growth fund, joined the Convoy board of directors.

“By improving trucking, Convoy is improving the foundation of our economy,” Hariharan said. “This service allows shippers to transform their supply chains at the same time that it allows carriers to grow their businesses more quickly, on their own terms. In 10 years, we’ll be astonished that this was ever done another way.”

Convoy said its customers include more than 300 shippers of various sizes, including Fortune 500 companies such as Unilever and Anheuser-Busch.

“A lot of them want to make a bet on the future because they’re excited about innovation and trying new things and learning how to improve their businesses,” Lewis said. “We want to be that bet.”

About 10,000 trucking companies are participating in Convoy’s freight network, the company said.

“We’re doing thousands of jobs per week now,” Lewis added.

Prior to its latest round of funding, Convoy had previously raised almost $20 million, he said.

Other Convoy investors include Reid Hoffman and Simon Rothman of Greylock Partners, Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos via Bezos Expeditions, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Code.org founders Hadi and Ali Partovi, former Starbucks President Howard Behar and the founders and CEOs of Expedia, eBay, Instagram and DropBox.

Even as digital freight brokers such as Convoy and Uber Freight push to expand their networks, Convoy’s Lewis said his company is competing primarily with asset-based carriers and traditional freight brokers, at least for now.

“That’s the majority of who we bump into when we do business,” he said, adding that there hasn’t yet been a lot of overlap between the digital freight companies given the size of the transportation industry.

That will change, however, if these companies successfully realize their growth plans.

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