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Advanced driver assistance systems have the potential to improve safety, but the road to adoption in trucking likely remains long, according to experts.
A Technology & Maintenance Council study group on fleet maintenance management hosted the session on advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as part of the council’s spring meeting on April 23. TMC is a division of American Trucking Associations.
American Transportation Research Institute Senior Vice President Dan Murray presented the results of a survey indicating “driver’s control compromised” as the most influential factor in fleets’ decisions not to purchase ADAS. Murray said the survey had responses from 845 truck drivers and 222 motor carriers.
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While Murray acknowledged drivers’ concerns of being displaced by technology, he said truckers will continue to play a vital role. He also said ADAS has the potential to improve workforce satisfaction.
“Their concern is that they’re going to be put out of business,” Murray said. “In reality, all of the data that comes from ATRI research indicates that probably as long as I’m alive the truck driver is going to be a key component of the trucking environment. We have a lot of work cut out for us educating, increasing awareness, but most importantly, conveying accurate, real-world information to offset a lot of these misunderstandings and concerns. These are real-world issues that we’re going to have to confront.”
Another leading factor for deciding not to purchase ADAS reflected in the survey was technology maintenance issues.
Greg Johnsen, regional service manager at Maverick Transportation, stressed the importance of having a crew of technicians who are trained to work with the technology the trucks are equipped with.
Based in North Little Rock, Ark., and founded in 1980, Maverick provides services to the flatbed, glass and specialized transportation markets. Maverick USA ranks No. 76 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.
“We can put all the technology that we want to on our units,” Johnsen said. “If we don’t have a trained staff to troubleshoot, repair or replace and understand why we’re doing that, then it’s money that we’re never going to get a return on.”
Len Copeland, product marketing manager at Detroit Products for Daimler Trucks North America, said ADAS has the potential to improve safety, noting the majority of vehicle accidents are tied to human error. He said industry members view safety as the new fuel economy.
Even at Level 4 autonomy, self-driving trucks will have technical limitations. In this episode, we ask how technology developers are clearing those hurdles to make autonomous trucking a reality. We bring in Boris Sofman, head of engineering for the autonomous trucking program at Waymo. Hear a snippet above, and get the full program by going to RoadSigns.TTNews.com.
As these systems continue to evolve, Copeland noted a focus by original equipment manufacturers on improvements that are driver friendly.
“There’s a reluctance by not only fleets but drivers to want more buzzers and notifications in the cab,” Copeland said. “It’s a focus by I think all OEMs to reduce the fatigue, keep the drivers more comfortable [with] less buzzers, in addition to keep them safer.”
Looking forward, Copeland identified mirror cameras and environment cameras as two technologies that will continue to appear in future trends. He said mirror cameras increase the driver’s field of view and can withstand hindrances like water and fog better than their glass counterparts. Environment cameras provide footage of the truck’s immediate environment, and can be helpful in an urban setting.
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