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Accepting innovation in Canadian trucking


February 18, 2014
By Rock to Road

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February 18, 2014, Toronto, Ont. – Technological innovations
are changing the face of Canada’s trucking industry, and will continue to do so
as long as the industry is willing to embrace change.

February 18, 2014, Toronto, Ont. – Technological innovations
are changing the face of Canada’s trucking industry, and will continue to do so
as long as the industry is willing to embrace change.

At FPInnovations’ Performance Innovations Transport
conference in Toronto, experts from across North America and Europe presented
information on the newest technologies that are impacting the industry and how
they are being integrating into day-to-day operations. 

The introduction of driver support systems, which has been
adopted by all OEMs in the construction of new vehicles in some form, has
provided real-time driver evaluation. Anders Johnson, who works at the SP
Technical Research Institute in Sweden, spent 17 years working in research and
development at Scania. Johnson explained that the Driver Support System
introduced by Scania is targeted at improving driving performance by offering
real-time support that can coach the drivers into making better decisions on
the road. The Scania system evaluates the quality of the decision made
pertaining to hill driving, anticipation, brake usage and choice of gears. The
end result is that drivers find out in real-time if they are using best
practices on the roads, while fleet managers collect data on the quality of the
driving being done by each individual operator. But the system has to be active
in order to be effective, a decision the driver must make at the start of daily
operation.

The problem with new technologies, as explained by Wes Mays
of Peterbilt Motors Company, is that it is difficult to get driver buy-in of
some of the new innovations that are introduced. 

Peterbilt developed a Driver State Monitor System, which
monitors the alertness of drivers during the long haul. In the testing phase,
Peterbilt found the system to be highly effective in making drivers aware when
they were getting too sleepy to be behind the wheel by monitoring things like heart
rate and blink rate. But the industry itself has not bought into the system,
citing issues regarding distraction and a lack of overall desire to pay for the
feature.

With the constant development of new technologies targeted
at providing safer truck operation on our roads, it will be a wait-and-see
approach to find out whether or not the industry will embrace the newest
innovations.


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