Top fleet partners with Aurora to explore bringing autonomous tech to long-haul trucking

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, May 12, 2022:

Covenant partners with Aurora to explore autonomous trucking

Covenant Logistics (CCJ Top 250, No. 38) and autonomous trucking tech firm Aurora announced Wednesday a collaboration to explore ways to optimize Covenant’s long-haul operations with Aurora’s autonomous trucking product.

The two companies will explore the integration and deployment of Aurora Horizon within Covenant’s operations. Part of Covenant’s services is long-haul trucking, making the benefits of autonomous technology in its network especially attractive.

A hybrid model that blends trucks driven by humans with trucks driven autonomously would allow Covenant to realize the best of both and potentially expand its business with a combination of rapid, high-efficiency autonomous transport on long-haul routes and flexible human navigation at the endpoints, the companies said.

The collaboration will initially focus on driving value, efficiency, and education by:

  • Identifying the lanes where the Aurora Driver can make the biggest impact while improving driver quality of life.
  • Optimizing fuel efficiency and maximizing the up-time of Covenant’s fleet with Aurora Horizon, built for 24/7/365 operation.
  • Collaborating on how to effectively educate the transportation and logistics industry on the benefits of autonomous technology, especially on long-haul lanes.

“Covenant is excited to be collaborating with Aurora on autonomous technology to find ways to further improve efficiency within the supply chain for our drivers, customers, environment, and industry,” said Joey Hogan, President of Covenant. “We believe this technology has the potential to optimize operations and reduce fuel consumption while also helping our drivers, both in safety and quality of life. We are looking forward to working with Aurora to realize the expected potential of this autonomous technology.”

Drivewyze expands electronic inspections pilot program

The number of states participating in Drivewyze’s electronic inspections (e-Inspection) pilot program to expedite the inspection process at weigh stations continues to grow.

California and Nevada have joined Kansas, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia and Utah in allowing Drivewyze e-Inspection technology to automate time-consuming elements of traditional in-station inspections at select weigh stations. 

With participation from California and Nevada, plus the addition of new weigh stations now set up to receive e-Inspections in Vermont and New Hampshire, the number of weigh stations accepting electronic inspections has increased by more than 60% in the past month, Drivewyze said.

According to Brian Heath, President and CEO of Drivewyze, interest from state agencies and trucking companies wanting to participate in the modernization of roadside inspections continues to ramp up. Drivewyze is currently working with additional states to begin conducting e-Inspections. 

The e-Inspection Expedited Inspection pilot program is currently operating in a phase one deployment that automates currently manual steps of Level I-III inspections in station. Officers no longer need to collect all inspection information manually, nor do they need to manually enter the information into multiple screening and inspection systems.

“By automating critical elements of traditional time-intensive manual processes during roadside inspections, data entry errors are eliminated, and drivers and fleets can save up to 30 minutes or more when using e-Inspection technology compared to traditional in-station inspections,” Heath said.

Any carrier subscribed to Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass service can request to participate in the e-Inspection pilot project. Drivewyze’s ELD partners are continuing with software updates so fleets can opt in to this option. Currently, fleets using Platform Science and Geotab platforms can access and utilize e-Inspections, with Trimble in the process of integration. Other Drivewyze ELD partners will be coming on board shortly, the company added.

Cummins, Daimler partner on hydrogen fuel cell powertrain

Cummins and Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) have entered into a collaboration to upfit and validate Freightliner Cascadia trucks with Cummins’ fourth generation fuel cell powertrain.

Upon successful validation, the companies intend to have initial units available in 2024 for selected customers. 

Amy Davis, Cummins vice president and president of new power noted that Cummins and Daimler Truck have a history of partnership, "and this next step into fuel cell electric vehicles is an exciting development for zero-emissions transport.

"Hydrogen fuel cells are a promising solution for the demanding requirements of heavy-duty trucking," she said. "Our collaboration in this market is an important milestone for both companies as we work to accelerate the shift to a carbon-free economy.” 

Rakesh Aneja, DTNA vice president and chief of eMobility, added that, depending on customer application and energy infrastructure considerations, hydrogen-powered vehicles "can absolutely complement battery-powered electric vehicles in accelerating our carbon-neutral journey." 

Trucking company shop manager sentenced for making illegal repairs

The shop manager for Corona, California-based National Distribution Services, Inc., has been sentenced for conducting illegal repairs on hazardous materials tankers, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General.

Enrique “Henry” Garcia was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

In January, Garcia pleaded guilty to conducting welding repairs on hazardous material tankers without required Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration certifications.

PrePass now available on Pedigree ELDs

The PrePass Safety Alliance announced its weigh station bypass system PrePass is now available on Pedigree Technologies’ OneView platform.  

With the integration, drivers will receive a notification on the Cab-Mate ELD to bypass or pull into a weigh station, all while the truck travels at highway speed. In addition, carriers will receive real-time driver safety ALERTS for work zones, traffic congestion, dangerous slowdowns, available truck parking, traffic incidents, rest areas, gusty winds, steep grades and no-commercial-vehicle areas. Drivers can access this information directly on the Cab-Mate ELD tablet, eliminating the need to switch between apps or devices.