Companies announce new products, plans at MATS

Several companies unveiled new products and services at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville Thursday, March 31, and a major industry image campaign discussed its progress and goals for the year.

MATS opened in Louisville Thursday.

TCA Combines Truck Maintenance Services

TravelCenters of America, parent company of TA and Petro truck stops, announced it’s combining all of its truck maintenance services under one umbrella, a rebranded TA Truck Service.

TA Truck Service will be available at both TA and Petro locations. The company also announced it will be expanding its number of service bays and the number of services offered by TA Truck Service.

TA also showed off its new TA Truck Service branding and pulled the curtain off of one of its newly designed TA Truck Service maintenance trucks.

The new TA Truck Service not only encompasses all of the former Truck Service trucks and centers, but it will also replace all of the RoadSquad branded trucks and service centers and the Petro:Lube brand.

New Lane Departure Warning Shown by WABCO 

WABCO unveiled the company’s next generation OnLane lane departure warning system (LDWS) today

The driver assistance system features a new, high-resolution camera integrated with SmartDrive’s video-based driver performance management system. WABCO’s OnLane is a camera-based LDWS that continuously monitors the vehicle’s position within lane markings and alerts the driver via visual, audible or haptic warnings to take corrective action when it detects unintentional lane changes.

Jon Morrison, WABCO president, Americas, says OnLane now links to SmartDrive’s driver performance management system, which incorporates video recording and near real-time video analysis. He adds SmartDrive’s capabilities enable driver coaching to improve driving efficiency and support enhanced road safety.

The system also features a camera Morrison says combines the functionalities of lane marking detection and video streaming and delivers improved lane marking recognition due to an intelligent lane tracking algorithm.

Morison adds these newly combined capabilities eliminate the need for two forward-looking cameras that previously were required to provide the same functionality as the new OnLane.

Driver Fatigue Monitoring Being Tested

Seeing Machines’ Guardian fatigue management system is being tested at six small and large U.S. fleets, said Chris Sluss, vice president of business development.

The driver-facing camera system is displayed in a truck at MATS, and actual video of drivers falling asleep and driving while distracted is displayed in the booth.

“There’s nothing else that prevents an accident,” Sluss said. The product is “the only one that has an algorithm that detects fatigue and distraction.”

The system uses a small dash-mounted camera. Small units, placed left and right of the camera, emit infrared light, enabling the system to work in the dark and when the driver has on sunglasses.

An alarm is triggered by certain movements, such as eyelids closing or the head nodding, that exceed settings determined by the fleet. The alarm consists of seat vibration and audible alerts, such as low rumbles, beeps and a whistle.

A fatigue incident report is sent almost instantly to the driver’s fleet, Sluss said. Other reports can be compiled on a regular basis to enable the fleet to determine how drivers are performing relative to fatigue and distraction.

The six U.S. fleets, which Sluss declined to name, are going through 30-day or 60-day assessments. The product is already being used in 5,000 to 6,000 trucks in mining and trucking, in Australia and other countries, he said.

Fleet tests have shown the system reduces fatigue incidents by 50 percent to 90 percent, he said.

Pirelli Brings Truck Tires to North American Markets

Pirelli today announced its plan to enter the commercial truck tire market in the U.S. and Canada.

The pilot phase, which is currently under way, aims at establishing a strategy for local product development, distribution and sales. More than 40 fleets are participating in the testing and development of Pirelli commercial truck tires for several North American applications.

“Pirelli’s strategy for car and light truck products in North America is focused on premium products customized for the particular needs of the market,” said Clif Armstrong, who will manage the project as president of TP Commercial Solutions LLC. “With the launch of the commercial truck business, we plan to do the same thing – adapt the excellent technology and leadership of the Pirelli industrial product line to the specifications and demanding requirements of these markets.”

Armstrong noted the company’s charge into North American would be “no easy task,” but said he expects the company will bring to market “best in class cost performance and services.”

The move into North America is an expansion of Pirelli’s industrial business unit, which already supplies commercial truck tires and fleet solutions globally.

Trucking Awareness Campaign Rolls Out Goals for 2016

Trucking Moves America Forward celebrated its second anniversary at MATS Thursday.

Kevin Burch, co-chairman of the trucking industry image and education movement, said TMAF made strides in 2015 including the sale of 100 of the movement’s trailer wraps.

“Selling 100 trailer wraps was not only a TMAF goal, but also a personal goal of mine,” Burch said. “We’re encouraging more carriers to get involved by purchasing these wraps, which are moving billboards to educate the motoring public.”

TMAF has set a goal for 2016 to sell 100 more wraps to reach the 200 mark. Burch said other goals for 2016 include continuing to promote the industry through education sessions, speeches, marketing and public relations strategies, as well as working with local and state efforts focused on improving highway infrastructure.