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Forming a Company – 5 of 5 in Starting a Logistics Operation – Brief History of the Brokers

Brief History of the Brokers

The transportation industry has changed drastically since the Interstate Commerce Commission “ICC Termination Act of 1995” which deregulated the trucking and the transportation industry.  Prior to 1980 there was only one authorized broker operating in the United States, but after 1995, there have been thousands of Property Brokers authorized to broker property.  Within the U.S. Brokering has become an integral part of the transportation mix.  Brokers perform an important function within the logistics and transportation industry.  Carriers rely on brokers to supply hem with freight, both as front haul as well as back-haul freight.

Shippers look to brokers to fulfill the important function of supplying the many trucks required to meet their shipping needs.  The small fleets and owner-operators find that the broker can supply freight needed by the carrier, thereby, relieving the carrier. Thereby relieving the carrier need of hiring a sales force to find freight for their company.  Shippers on the other hand may need hundreds of trucks a day to move their freight.  Rather than calling carriers, the shippers can have one call, find one or one hundred trucks.

The modern day computer network provides the broker with a “virtual terminal” with thousands of trucks at their fingertips.  With the Internet , they can post the number of trucks, and type of equipment they will need to meet their shipping needs at a moment’s notice.  The tendency is to quote the lowest rate possible, but remember it is not always the lowest rate that gets the freight.  Having a following of owner operators who deliver on time and for a reasonable rate, is the best sales tool you possess.

In addition, a user-friendly web site is an important asset in the modern transportation market place.

Frequently Asked Questions:

 What is a Truck Broker?

The technical terminology for what is referred to as a “Truck Broker” is  reality, a “third part” logistics provider.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) would classify it as a “Property Broker”.  The other type broker is referred to as a “Household Goods Broker”.

A third party logistics provider is rarely or if ever shown as a party to the Bill of Lading, which is the controlling document in the movement of freight in interstate commerce.  Therefore, a broker should have well written “rate agreement, linking you directly with the shipment.

What is Double Brokering?

The hotly debated issue in today’s transport industry is “double brokering”.  Although this practice is not spelled out as illegal practice in any of the FMCSA’s broker regulation, it is not a good practice, and many carriers will not accept any such shipment.  Most importantly delivering carriers will net get paid.  The underlying surety bond form, BMC 84 or trust agreement BMC 85 does not allow for payment to a broker, only payment to a regulated carrier or shipper.

What is a Truck Broker?

The technical terminology for what is referred to as a “truck broker” is in reality a third party to a transportation contract.  The broker is in fact a party inserted between a carrier and the shipper.

In essence, the property broker assumes the sales and the billing position for the carrier, and receives percentages of the truck rate for providing the services.  The carrier retains the responsibility for all regulatory, safety, liability insurance,

cargo insurance and all other legal responsibility for the transportation act.  Although the shipper pays the broker direct, technically he is paying for the transportation services only.

What is the role of a Property Broker in Interstate Commerce?

The essential duty of a broker in interstate commerce is to become a third party in a transportation transaction.  In a traditional movement of freight the shipper would contact a carrier and contract with him or her to deliver a sum of freight for a set amount of money (a rate).

When a broker enters the picture, the circumstances change drastically, no longer is the trucker the second party to the movement, but the “broker” becomes the second party, and the trucker becomes the “third party” to the transaction.

The broker assumes the responsibility of paying the trucker for the transportation charges.  In one sense, the transportation pie becomes smaller because the broker has inserted himself in the middle of the transaction, but assumes the reconcilability of paying the carrier and collecting from the shipper.  The carrier is assured of being paid, and is relieved of the duty of billing the shipper, and they can spend the time driving and dong what they do best.

In return, the carrier relives themselves of the problem of finding freight, and worrying about collecting their money from the shipper.  The shipper is in turn relieved of the responsibility of finding carriers and negotiating with each one what their rate will be.

The most important responsibility of the Property Broker is the selection of a “Bona Fide Carrier” authorized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to operate as a: Contract or Common Carrier in interstate commerce.

It is solely the duty of the authorized property broker to insure that the carrier they select has a valid Motor Carrier (MC) number, and US DOT number, and is in good standing with he FMCSA.  Th broker must be informed as to their cargo and liability insurance coverage before the shipper releases freight to the carrier.

Background and Experience

It would be virtually impossible to produce a “Transportation Guide” that would cover all aspects of freight brokering from the novice to the experienced broker agent.  Therefore, we attempted to produce a learning manual that would be user friendly to the complete novice as well as to the person with experience in the trucking and shipping industry.

It is a decided disadvantage for a complete novice entering the freight brokerage transportation industry.  The same would be true for a novice entering into  any other field of endeavor now to that person.

The general public is completely unfamiliar with the world off freight transportation.  In fact, May 2016 I was invited as an “Expert Witness” to the FMCSA Round Table on Financial Responsibility as only one of two financial because of the recent law

That increased bonds/trust from $10,000 to $75,000 and they had concerns that financials under financed the bonds and would amass claims that they would be able to pay.  They were wrong, but the experience in listening to all of the major insurance companies

That provided BMC 84 Bonds provided me a new level of education. Being in a room filled with transportation professionals and attorneys was truly educational.

This is said not to demand the general public.  The same public could be true to any person entering a new field.  Anyone in a new field could be taken advantage of during the learning curve. This is why “Transportation Consultant and Attorneys must be utilized.

This is why the Transportation Guide designed with real cases of day to day operation has Questions and Answers that are comprehensively structured for carriers, freight brokers, freight forwarders, shippers, and intended to help the newcomer as well as the experienced veterans of the transportation wars.

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Service…Support…Communication

Service…Support…Communication

Transport Financial Services LLC, herein referred to as “TFS” has been an intricate role in the lives of motor carriers, freight brokers, and freight forwarders for several generations. TFS depicts today’s technology in the futuristic business platform website, www.eTruckBook.com.  Since opening its Shopping Mall in 2017 the transportation industry has evolved to include Electronic Logging Devices, compliance requirements, immediate access to a central location to Process Agent services for obtaining and retaining authorities.

As TFS expands it literally has become the center of the transportation industry, and exemplifies the phrase “One Stop Transportation Shop”.  The mall is more than just a Transportation Shopping Mall, but the destination for all members in this industry.  We welcome Network Providers…Shippers…Factoring Companies, and all parties interested in designing successful logistic operations to enjoy shopping at “One” convenient location, www.TFSMall.com , the Center of it All!  TFS has incredible services, and there’s always something exciting happening so make Tfsmall.com your Transportation “Go To” Network.

TFSs primary goal is to be the first responder in reconciling all transportation matters, and provide Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant products.  Prepare yourself with information and emergency (911) support from a cohesive team of trained transportation professionals working as to meet the industries transportation needs.  Let us help set-up your business, and provide increased opportunities for a successful logistics operation.

The “Mall Concept” was designed for expansion of all transportation services at a “Central Location with live agents, and to never close.  “State to State” shipper data bases, insurance monitoring creates economic stability for carriers…brokers… and freight forwarders.

Contact Transport Financial Services Legal Department with your questions on legal issues and get real answers for more efficient daily operation in lieu of paying attorneys to research issues, and finding no real answers to daily operation issues.

 

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Collaborative Partnerships

Collaborative Partnerships

Transport Financial Services (TFS) offers solutions to the industry’s logistical challenges through “Collaborative Partnerships”, entailing a single location for transportation services provided by the only BMC-85 Trust provider able to refer BMC-84’, and all transportation services for full compliance with all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations.  Essentially, such a 24/7 commitment facilitated by mobile devices provides immediate access to a network of transportation professionals.  Obtain and Retain authority for carriers, brokers, and freight forwarders through our automated E-commerce program.  Start a business, and learn from “Experts”.

Furthermore, TFS manages the complexities of the transportation industry with cutting edge technology, improving customer service to nurture both foreign and domestic markets, thereby enabling development of training certification for “Today’s Broker”, as well as services for the most important commodity in this vast industry, the motor carriers, including funding requirements (factoring). All found in the business platform located at www.eTruckBook.com.

More particularly, TFS Shopping Mall’s Transportation Directory is a yellow- pages for easy access to locate shippers, brokers, and bona-fide carriers.  Shop 24/7 at www.TFSMall.com, a Central location with timely information for better management of logistic operations. This is an excellent tool for factoring companies assuring that carriers never over- extend themselves, and does not provide service to non-solvent brokers, thus keeping honest people honest.  A great example of that is the new “Cancellation Policy” proposed by TFS and implemented by the FMCSA and DOT to identify in bold red letters, “This Entity is pending Cancellation” which prevent shippers from providing loads to brokers, and carriers from accepting loads, saving approximately billion of dollars in claims.

Significantly, TFS prides itself in same-day-delivery of most services, unless additional information is required.  TFS assist carriers to meet the significant compliance requirement of Electronic Logging Device (ELD) imposed by the federal government, and is ready to answer the hard questions on:

  • Cutting Transportation Cost;
  • Technical Strategy and Implementation;
  • Expanding Sourcing from New Markets; and
  • Development of the most innovative concepts of the 21st Century; not to mention

From 3PL Transportation Management, Consultation, and government contracts the ability to contact real transportation professionals with a well- deserved reputation of providing all of the tools required to be successful in a logistics operation. Always a live agent, and by the way go to www.eTruckBook.com for all the latest in transportation, careers, products, and services.

Corporate office opens daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Central Time at 850. 433.2294 now!

TFS never closes!

 

Marold O. Studesville

 

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Forming a Company – 4 of 5 in Starting a Logistics Operation – Licenses and Permits

The Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and Surface Transportation Board (STB) are the three agencies within the DOT that serve in the issuance of licenses and permits.

The DOT is charged with the safety elements in the transportation industry as a whole with oversight responsibilities regarding elements of railroad safety issues, and motor carrier safety inspections and transporting hazardous materials. They issue United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) numbers to motor carrier’s operations, and conduct random roadside safety checks of motor carriers.  All motor carriers operating vehicles that require a CDL, (driver’s license) both for hire as well as private fleets must have been issued a DOT number.

The Property Broker’s License or permits are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not require an examination required, only the FMCSA filing fee. The broker’s license authorizes the arranging of transportation for shippers of general commodities (except household goods), including any manufactured products, such as automobiles, building material, supplies, liquids in bulk, frozen food, foodstuffs, new furniture, and any processed or manufactured products.

Broker are not directly or legally responsible for either cargo or liability insurance, but must provide proof that the carrier has adequate coverage to protect the shipper from loss.

An application for a property broker’s license is called an OP-1 can be found on the internet or requested in writing from the FMCSA.  The applicants Motor Carrier (MC) number is processed the same day, but takes 30 days to become Active as an operating authority.  A ten (10) day protest period is mandatory on all applicants to determine if any state contest their authority for any reason, and requires a BMC 84 Broker Bond from an insurance company, or BMC 85 Trust Agreement from a financial or bank.

Although an individual can file an application themselves, it is prudent to seek Process Agents services to expedite processing, and save approximately ten (10) days to become Active as a licensed broker. 

Household Goods Broker Permits

There is a distinction between “used household goods” and new furniture and fixtures, so a property broker can arrange for shipments of new furniture, but must be authorized to arrange for household good shipments by obtaining a Household Goods Brokers Permit MC number from the FMCSA.

Interstate and Intrastate Shipments

The meaning of these two terms is important to anyone dealing with transportation of freight, Interstate transportation used in the context of this document means any transportation movement of loads between one state and another.  Therefore, this falls under the jurisdiction of the FMCSA regarding permits and licenses. Intrastate transportation is defined as a shipment with an origin and destination wholly within one state.  Several states require intrastate broker permits, and a separate Intrastate Broker license form from that state, as well as an additional broker bond or trust.

Issuance of Broker License

Once your OP-1 application is processed with the FMCSA you will be assigned an MC number they will notify the applicant with the instruction to complete a BOC3 through the Process Agent, and acquire a BMC-84 Bond or BMC-85 Trust.  Transport Financial Services is delegated with the authority by the FMCSA to process all FMCSA and DOT requirements for applicants to be licensed as brokers, carriers, and freight forwarders. 

The Uniform Carrier Registration form is required as a transportation requirement for all motor carriers once they acquire their liability insurance.  The TFS “Master Referral Program” is able to assist liability insurance and the Uniform Carrier Registration (UCR).

What is a BOC3?

The BOC3 form must be filed for carriers and brokers by a process agent company.  This form contains a list in all 50 states of individuals authorized to accept receipt of legal papers on behalf of a broker or carrier not residing in that state.  The FMCSA broker license authorized the arranging of transportation between the fifty (50) states, therefore must have a resident agent in each state the broker is authorized to conduct business in.  When the resident agent is served with a summons, or any legal action the broker is considered legally served.

A Process Agent is part of the TFS Network, so we are able to meet all of the transportation compliance requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT).

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TFS Through Networking

Transport Financial Services (TFS) offers solutions to the industry’s logistical challenges through “Collaborative Partnerships”, entailing a single location for transportation services provided by the only BMC-85 Trust Bond provider able to refer BMC-84 Broker Bond’, and all transportation services for full compliance with all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations.  Essentially, such a 24/7 commitment facilitated by mobile devices provides immediate access to a network of transportation professionals.  Obtain and Retain authority for carriers, brokers, and freight forwarders through our automated E-commerce program.  Start a business, and learn from “Experts”.

Furthermore, TFS manages the complexities of the transportation industry with cutting edge technology, improving customer service to nurture both foreign and domestic markets, thereby enabling development of training certification for “Today’s Broker”, as well as services for the most important commodity in this vast industry, the motor carriers, including funding requirements (factoring). All found in the business platform located at www.eTruckBook.com.

More particularly, TFS Shopping Mall’s Transportation Directory is a yellow- pages for easy access to locate shippers, brokers, and bona-fide carriers.  Shop 24/7 at www.TFSMall.com, a Central location with timely information for better management of logistic operations. This is an excellent tool for factoring companies assuring that carriers never over- extend themselves, and does not provide service to non-solvent brokers, thus keeping honest people honest.  A great example of that is the new “Cancellation Policy” proposed by TFS and implemented by the FMCSA and DOT to identify in bold red letters, “This Entity is pending Cancellation” which prevent shippers from providing loads to brokers, and carriers from accepting loads, saving approximately billions of dollars in claims.

Significantly, TFS prides itself in same-day-delivery for most services, unless additional information is required.  TFS assist carriers to meet the significant compliance requirement of Electronic Logging Device (ELD) imposed by the federal government, and is ready to answer the hard questions on:

  • Cutting Transportation Cost;
  • Technical Strategy and Implementation;
  • Expanding Sourcing from New Markets; and
  • Development of the most innovative concepts of the 21st Century; not to mention

From 3PL Transportation Management, Consultation, and government contracts the ability to contact real transportation professionals with a well- deserved reputation of providing all of the tools required to be successful in a logistics operation. Always a live agent, and by the way go to www.eTruckBook.com which is a pro-bono FREE site to join for all the latest in transportation, careers, products, and services.

Corporate office opens daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Central Time at 850. 433.2294 now!

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Shipper Liability in Brokered Movements

The “Partnership” between shippers, brokers, carriers, and freight forwarders is to assure that carriers and brokers are paid for their services. The most valuable commodity in the transportation industry is the motor carrier.  They should never accept the transitional from the client, moving loads to the claimant, filing claims to be paid.  Murphy’s Law is a famous adage that states that “things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance, or more commonly, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” The “I Do Relationship” set within the bill of ladings, and the contracts is the assurance from shippers that carriers will be paid.

Essentially, while no question federally licensed transportation brokers act as “independent contractors” concerning dealing with both motor carriers and shippers, there often is a question as to the precise nature of whatever service such an intermediary be “contracting” to provide concerning any bill of lading transaction. Contrary to common opinion, there are only two choices.

To quote from the current Code of Federal Regulations governing such matters, licensed transportation “brokers” within the meaning of 49 CFR 371.2(a) are authorized only to provide a “brokerage service” within the meaning of 49 CFR 371.2 (c), the capacity defined specifically as:

The arranging of [emphasis supplied] transportation or the physical movement of motor vehicles or property.  It [such” arranging”] can be performed on behalf of a motor carrier, [on the one hand, or a] consignor or consignee… on the other hand, whichever, (whether the “consignor” or “consignee”) may be deemed the underlying “shipper” within the meaning of 49 CFR 376.2 (k) named in each “bill of lading” within the meaning established for such instruments by the Supreme Court in 1982 in Southern Pacific v. Commercial Metals, Co.

Significantly, since the language of 49 CFR 371.2(c) is disjunctive in such regards, expressly employing “or” instead of “and/or” to distinguish between the terms “motor carrier” and two possible categories of “shipper” in current regulatory usage, and since the terms “shipper” and “carrier” describe the only two types of potential principal parties to any such “basic transportation contract”.

To quote former ICC Commissioner Paul Lamboley, from a paper prepared in 1999 for the Transportation Intermediaries Association entitled “Is There Exposure to Double Payment Liability” (for shippers in the brokered bill of lading transactions),

[In Dal-Tile Corp. and Red Arrow Freight Lines, No. 40437, 1990 I.C.C. Lexis 350 (I.C.C. May 15, 1990), the Interstate Commerce Commission found that the unlicensed broker (engaged in providing a “brokerage service” within the meaning 49 CFR 371.2 © was not an agent for Red Arrow within the definition to establish negotiated rates for that carrier and, therefore, was an agent for the shipper emphasis supplied].

That’s why Dal-Tile wound up having to pay twice. In other words, in default of specific forms and procedures to the contrary, the presumption that even an unlicensed transportation intermediary providing a “brokerage service” within the meaning of 49 CFR 371.2(c)  in interstate commerce must be presumed to have been acting “on” behalf of and as an “ agent for the shipper” named in any such brokered bill of lading transaction has been established definitely through that never contested nationwide administrative judicial and administrative venues through Section 204 of the ICC Termination Act of 1995.

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Start-up “ALL ABOUT YOU” Part 2 of 5 in a series of thoughts related to starting a transportation business

The Business Plan for “Starting” a logistics operation consist of a narrative and several financial worksheets.  The “Narrative” template is the body of the business plan, and serves as the Global Positioning System (GPS) because this is where the journey begins.  It contains more than 150 questions on how to proceed, and why.  Work through the business plan in any order except for the “Executive Summary” which must be completed last.  Skip any questions not applicable to your type of business.

Upon completion of your first draft, you will have a collection of small essays on various topics of your various i.e., what is your niche, who to do business with, what are the funding requirements, and what agencies can support you in setting up your logistics operation.  Edit these essays into a smooth flowing narrative.  This becomes a test of your knowledge of the career you’ve chosen, and what resources are available to equip you to meet those compliance requirements.

Business plan concepts on green chalk board

The real value in creating a business plan is not to have a finished plan in hand, rather, the process of researching, and thinking about your business in a systematic way.  The Army has a slogan that clearly defines planning called the five P’s , “Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance”.   Planning and due diligence helps you to think through thoroughly all of your ideas critically to avoid costly, disastrous mistakes later.  Always contact transportation consultants, and attorneys to be certain that your decisions are made with the best information.

The business plan is generic for any business, but specific in transportation because we are experts, and can serve as your GPS.  However, modify the business plan to suit your particular business needs, teview yhe section titled “Refining the Plan” found at the end. It suggests emphasizing certain areas depending on your type of  business, freight movement, sales, auto transporting, retail or service.  It also provide valuable insight on fine-tuning your plan for an effective presentation for venture capitalist.  Pay attention to your writing style or seek assistance through professional proposal writers.  You will be judged by the quality and appearance of your presentation, as well as your ideas.  Generally, you want get a second chance to make a first impression.

It typically takes several weeks to complete a good business plan.  Most of that time is spent researching, and thinking of your ideas, assumptions, and the value of processes.  Take he time, make a call, and  do the “Business Plan” properly because that is “THE” guide to determine the success of your logistics operation.  Those that prepare business plans never regret the efforts.

There is a famous proverb that states” Consider the cost”.  His could be taken several ways, not just the dollar amount because funding is part of the plan.  You may consider a home-based business and the effect it may have on the family.

If you are a motor carrier or broker finding freight is difficult without the right resources. The truck is never where he load is, so time and ravel must be considered as well as vetting carriers qualification, confirming rates, and tracking shipments.

A well-thought out “Business Plan” determines the size of your investment, number of employees, and return of your investment.  As a home-based owner-operator your family can be trained to find freight,  and you can get two (2) authorities, One (1) as a motor carrier (trucker) and one (1) as a broker to employees other carrier as loads are secured from load boards.

Remember, that TFS has the best transportation professionals in the industry working as a cohesive unit to meet all of your transportation needs at a cost-effective and timely manner.

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I don’t want to be him and call my boss!

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So saddened by the weekend events…

So saddened by the weekend events…

I am saddened, and so are many other Americans nationwide by the addictive mass shooting rampage.  As of August 3, 2019 the number of mass shooting across the USA so far in 2019 has outpaced the number of days this year.  This puts 2019 on pace to be the first year since 2016 with an average of more than one mass shooting a day.

As of Sunday, August 4th, which was the 216th day of the year, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which tracks every mass shooting in the country. The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people were shot, excluding the shooter.

Authorities are responding faster and either apprehending or defending themselves, and the public against people that have planned, and carried out their crime of infamy.  Have crime will travel, and guns for sale impacts generations to come.  Life is much like a coin, but you can’t spend it twice.

I served twenty-eight (28) years, and retired from the U.S. Amy as an exemplary soldier, and a more responsible citizen.  I hurried up and waited, and understood the meaning of “Patience and Discipline”.  My brother retired after Thirty-three (33) years from the Navy, and served an additional 10 years as an EEO Officer.  Last, my older brother retired from the Air Force .  We have all become better citizens, and conscious of  those factions that are a detriment to our society, and the true “Meaning of the American flag”.  The meaning of the American flag is defined as:

The American Flag is symbolic in many ways.  The alternating red and whites stripes represent the 13 British colonies that settled in America, while the stars represent each individual state.  Even though many Americans proudly fly the flag outside their homes and businesses every day, it is fitting that we as a country, have set aside one specific day each year to honor our flag and to remember that it represents the ideals and values that we live by.  The American Flag represents a people, not an office or a person.

Our thoughts go out to the families and friends that have been affected by shootings this last weekend and in the past.  Let us hope that our country and we as a people can do something to stop these vile attacks from happening.

Marold Studesville

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Info and Fleet Owner – Technology – Autonomous Vehicles

Info and Fleet Owner – Technology – Autonomous Vehicles

Neil Abt | Jul 17, 2019

https://www.fleetowner.com/autonomous-vehicles/peloton-outlines-plan-platoons-driverless-following-truck

Six fleets are using PlatoonPro in real-world conditions, Peloton said.

Peloton outlines plan for platoons with driverless following truck

As company works on Level 4 technology for the future, CEO Switkes says fleets reporting strong fuel efficiency gains with existing PlatoonPro system.

Peloton Technology has unveiled plans to develop Level 4 automated following technology that would allow one truck driver to safely operate two tractor-trailers in a platoon.

“We want to leverage the skill and experience of the lead driver,” Josh Switkes, founder and CEO of Peloton, told Fleet Owner in an interview. “That helps in a variety of ways make this type of automation dramatically simpler than a stand-alone driverless truck.”

Switkes spoke publicly of Peloton’s plans for first time on July 17 at the 2019 Automated Vehicle Symposium in Orlando, FL.

Currently, the company is rolling out its Level 1 PlatoonPro system, which has a driver in both the lead and follow trucks. The driver in the second truck steers, but the system controls the powertrain and brakes to manage the following distance.

PlatoonPro is being used by six fleet customers in real-world conditions, with numerous other customer trials underway. Switkes said the system has a perfect safety record, and customers are achieving fuel savings averaging more than 7%. In some cases, miles per day have exceeded 700 per truck, resulting in projected fuel savings of up to $7,000-10,000 per truck, per year.

Switkes declined to provide specific details on any of the fleets using PlatoonPro, but hinted much of the activity has taken place in Texas. He emphasized one takeaway thus far is how infrequently other vehicles cut into an established platoon, which critics have pointed to as a safety risk and a reason the suggested fuel economy benefits would not be as high in real-world conditions.

Addressing another frequently cited concern, Switkes noted it is rare for significant “hard braking” events to occur. However, the company has spent “a huge amount of time” understanding and measuring braking capabilities to ensure the system will work properly every time, regardless of the circumstances.

As Peloton works today to further deploy PlatoonPro, Switkes said there is no exact timetable for its Level 4 system, stressing that safety testing and validation takes time. But he was confident this technology would prove attractive to an industry struggling with finding enough truckers.

“We see the drivers as the world’s best sensors, and we are leveraging this to enable today’s drivers to be more productive through automated following platoons,” said Switkes.

Peloton’s advanced platooning system will use vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology, which allows the human-driven truck to guide the steering, acceleration and braking of the follow truck. Switkes said he believes the ability to double the productivity of the driver by controlling two vehicles through the platoon will prove attractive to fleets.

He also said the highest skilled drivers will likely operate these future platoons, and could receive higher compensation for their efforts.

Peloton said this will result in “improved work for drivers through better routes, schedules, and compensation, as well as better quality of life through expanding hub-to-hub and relay-style operations that allow drivers to be home with their families every night.”

Separately, a report released on July 17 from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) found that only 20 U.S. states have thus far authorized commercial automated vehicle platooning. The first start to do so was Utah back in 2015.

CEI said “with the coming advent of automated vehicles, numerous sections of state motor vehicle codes likely will need revision if we are to take advantage of the full range of benefits offered by vehicle automation technology.”

For platooning, the legislative hurdle generally surrounds minimum following distances on the highway. The group made two recommendations for altering these regulations while maintaining safety.

First is a “strong amendment,” which would preclude agencies from promulgating any regulations restricting automated vehicle platoons. Next is a “weak amendment,” which would grant motor vehicle authorities discretion in how to promulgate platooning rules.

CEI’s report, “Authorizing Automated Vehicle Platooning: A Guide for State Legislators” is a nationwide inventory of state “following too closely” rules that offers specific, state-by-state fixes to amend statutes in a way that exempts speed-coordinated vehicle platooning from those laws.

“The economic, safety, and environmental benefits of platooning should prompt other states to update their laws,” said Marc Scribner, CEI senior fellow and author of the report.

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