BAE Systems to Bring Next-Generation Electric Drive System to Heavy-Duty Industrial Vehicle Market

BAE Systems, a leader in electric propulsion, will bring its next-generation power and propulsion technology to the heavy-duty industrial vehicle market. The company’s electric drive system provides a revolutionary design which will help industrial vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) get their electric vehicles (EVs) to market faster and at a lower installed cost.

BAE Systems has over 15,000 power and propulsion systems in electrified commercial vehicles across the globe, and those systems have logged four billion on-road miles.

“We are providing an all-inclusive solution to bring the industrial vehicle market one step closer to a zero emission future,” said Steve Trichka, vice president and general manager of Power and Propulsion Solutions at BAE Systems. “Our next-generation components are the Swiss Army Knife of power electronics, delivering multifunctional capabilities in a compact and flexible design. This flexibility makes it easier for OEMs to cover multiple platforms, including traditional diesel and purpose built EVs.”

BAE Systems’ next-generation system for the heavy-duty industrial vehicle market builds on the company’s more than 25 years of experience in low and zero emission EV solutions for the transit bus and marine industries. The system uses fewer components and increases electrical efficiency. Its Modular Accessory Power System (MAPS) and Modular Power Control System (MPCS) also allow for scalable, customized solutions to provide the core power for a range of applications, from school buses and mining vehicles to sanitation and yard trucks.

Using a modular design, BAE Systems’ power electronics technology will provide both power and propulsion for battery electric, fuel cell, and electric-hybrid vehicles. In addition to MAPS and MPCS, the next-generation system is available with central motor, electric axle, battery and fuel cell solutions.

BAE Systems has a deep understanding of systems engineering, a revolutionary design for propulsion and accessory power, proven integration expertise, and aftermarket support to give manufacturers a reliable solution and faster path to market, at a lower installation cost.

BAE Systems develops and services its electric propulsion technology at its facilities in Endicott, N.Y., and Rochester, U.K.

ENGIE and Anglo American Inaugurate the World’s Largest Hydrogen Mining Truck

ENGIE and its partner Anglo American, one of the largest mining players, are jointly inaugurating the “Rhyno” project, officially renamed nuGen, developed for the Mogalakwena platinum mine in South Africa. It is the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mining truck, capable of carrying a payload of 290 tonnes. ENGIE is providing an integrated hydrogen solution, including production, compression, storage, and refueling in record time. Once validated, this proof of concept should be extended to other sites. The aim is to reduce diesel emissions from mining mobility by up to 80%. With nuGen and other projects such as Hydra, ENGIE is contributing to the decarbonization of a key sector for energy transition.

Astrata Launches VideoLinc to Improve Road and Driver Safety

Astrata, a provider of location-based solutions for the connected fleet, supply chain, government and aviation sectors, announced the launch of VideoLinc, a video surveillance solution that improves road safety, reduces accident claim costs and cargo damage and guards against false allegations. VideoLinc provides dispatchers and drivers with a 360° view and increases safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

A quarter (25%) of road deaths in the European Union are the consequence of a collision involving a goods vehicle, according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), authors of a new report on the safety of goods transport by road. In 2019 the EU agreed[2] to increase the minimum safety standards for new lorries from 2026 by, for example, enabling drivers to see other road users more easily through larger windscreens and transparent panels in doors, and by requiring pedestrian and cyclist detection systems. The UK continues to participate in the ETSC Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) program.

In line with these requirements, Astrata has launched VideoLinc, a video surveillance solution that identifies critical events by using images from connected dash cams at the front, rear and sides of the vehicle. Available as a stand-alone solution or integrated with Astrata’s DriverLinc solution, VideoLinc combines telematics data with event-based video sequences to provide an overview of what actually happens on the road, streaming live video to the back office upon request or when triggered by a pre-configured alarm.

With rear, side and trailer cams that monitor both critical events that could cause damage, and the movement of cargo during loading, transport and unloading, VideoLinc reduces the risk of cargo damage and cargo theft of high-value or condition-sensitive cargo. This ensures the safe delivery of cargo. The solution also helps to provide evidence and legal protection for businesses and drivers, reducing accident investigation costs and protecting against staged accidents, false and/or exaggerated claims, conflicting reports of incidents, and erroneous allegations (speeding, traffic signal violation, swerving, etc.).

VideoLinc features include:
· Automatically uploads and bookmarks video footage triggered by harsh driving behaviour, such as fast cornering, harsh braking and accelerating, speeding
· Records critical events
· Streams live video to the back office when requested or when triggered by a pre-configured alarm
· All recordings are combined and classified with GPS data and speed information
· Drivers can start the recordings manually

In addition, an optional driver-facing camera can be used to improve safety and driving performance through personalised coaching, based on video sequences analysing driving behaviour (speed, braking, acceleration, etc.).

“Astrata offers drivers a 360° vision system to reduce the risks for road users around the vehicle. By combining telematics data with video recording of the road, VideoLinc helps to reduce road transport accidents, as well as the time and money spent on resolving them,” Abdallah Harati, senior vice president, sales & marketing of Astrata, said. “The solution strengthens the legal protection of business and also helps to ensure cargo security.”

Hexagon Supports iLiKe Project for Disaster Management with Innovative Social Media Integration

Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division recently announced the successful completion of a proof-of-concept solution for the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior that utilizes social media data to support disaster operations. The research project was led by the Institute of Engineering and Business Informatics at Graz University of Technology and resulted in the development of iLiKe, an intelligent situation information portal that integrates data from publicly available channels to aid emergency organizations.

iLiKe serves as a portal for collecting, processing and extracting relevant information from social media and other public sources. It integrates with Hexagon’s major event management solution, HxGN OnCall Planning & Response, allowing public safety personnel to view the aggregated data in a variety of ways, including on a map for pinpointing emergencies faster. Users can also assess and rate the data for continual quality improvement of information, resulting in more informed decision-making in the future.

“During a crisis, rapid action is critical to reducing impact and averting further damage,” said Maximillian Weber, senior vice president, EMEA, Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division. “Social media, instant messaging and other channels provide vital real-time and bi-directional communication between those affected and first responders. Leveraging these channels allows public safety professionals to better prepare for a situation and make more informed decisions that could positively impact lives and communities.”

“We have managed to find ways for identifying, classifying and presenting valuable information for disaster management buried under piles of irrelevant or misleading information,” said Professor Siegfried Voessner, Graz University of Technology, in discussing the value of the project.

The project was sponsored/funded by the KIRAS security research grant program of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism.

Walmart Raises Driver Pay and Launches Private Fleet Development Program to Address Shortage

Walmart has announced a new drive to get and retain long haul truck drivers for its Walmart Private Fleet. Walmart says it is trying to appeal to hire drivers as the shortage wears on. It says their drivers say it is “one of the best places to drive and Walmart benefits are among the best in the industry.”

The company currently has approximately 12,000 drivers and the announcement to raise pay they hope will ensure Walmart continues to have the drivers they need to keep their stores stocked.

According to Walmart, their drivers can now make up to $110,000 in their first year with the company. Drivers who have been with Walmart longer can earn even more, based on factors like tenure and location.

The company has launched the Walmart Private Fleet Development Program, a 12-week program for supply chain associates in the Dallas, Texas, and Dover, Delaware, where drivers can earn their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and became Private Fleet Walmart drivers. At the end of the classroom portion of the training, associates graduate with their CDL through LBU, with months of real-world experience under trained instructors, and a dedicated mentor to help them transition into their new role, the company says.

Chain Reaction Crash of 73 Vehicles Shuts Down Pennsylvania Highway

Interstate 81, approximately 50 miles northeast of Harrisburg, Penn., was shut down on Saturday, March 26, after a crash involving dozens of cars injured multiple people, according to Pennsylvania State Police. Although multiple people reported injuries, fortunately no life-threatening injuries were reported.

Snowy winter weather was blamed reducing visibility and causing drivers in the northbound lanes to slip. Rescuers worked to clear the extensive wreckage from the interstate and the state police confirmed there were fatalities.

A police statement said the lanes involved would be closed for six to eight hours. Vehicles caught fire, 24 were injured and taken to four different area hospitals.

Six Dead, More than a Dozen Injured at Carnaval Parade in Belgium

While more than 100 people waited for a parade Sunday morning, 20 March,  in Strepy-Bracquegnies, Belgium, a car crashed into crowd at high speed.

The car smashed into carnival performers, leaving six people dead and seriously injuring 10 more.

Around 150 people gathered early on Sunday for the town’s annual parade. The town is located about 30 miles south of Brussels.

Currently authorities say the incident is not being considered as terror-related. The prosecutor, Damien Verheyen also denied reports that the crash involved a car being chased by police.

Battelle Secures State Department Armored Vehicle Pact

Battelle Secures State Department Armored Vehicle Pact

Battelle announced that it has secured a Large Sport Utility Vehicle (LSUV) design contract from the Department of State (DoS) to develop armored Ford Expeditions for the the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).

“Battelle is proud to bring its depth of engineering skills to DSS and other government agencies seeking armored vehicles manufactured in the United States,” Sara Kuczek, Battelle’s ground systems division manager, said.

The DoS pact would involve modifying existing commercial items and the delivery of four prototype armored vehicles possessing distinct requirements for protection missions.

“We’re looking forward to supporting DSS, in collaboration with Ford, building upon its long-standing history of innovation and well-known reputation as a global leader in the truck market,” Kuczek said.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), ranking member of House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific with jurisdiction over Afghanistan, said keeping State Department and embassy personnel safe is of utmost importance.

“Battelle’s armored vehicles have been keeping the men and women in our armed services safe for decades, and they will now employ their cutting-edge technology to protect our diplomatic personnel as they perform their important duties,” he said.

The DoS tabbed Battelle to build 229 armored Land Cruisers earlier this year. Vehicle delivery is slated to begin in March 2022.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Selects Astrophysics HXC-LaneScan to Protect U.S. Border Crossings

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Selects Astrophysics HXC-LaneScan to Protect U.S. Border Crossings

X-ray technology designer Astrophysics recently won an indefinite-delivery-indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to provide Low Energy Portals (LEPs) for non-intrusive inspection (NII) of Privately Owned Vehicle s (POVs) at U.S. border crossings.

The contract has an order option period of up to 12 years beginning September 21, 2021, with a total value of up to $390 million. The initial order is for over $82 million, including options, with the first HXC-LaneScan deployment in 2022.

Featuring a slim 12-foot footprint, the HXC-LaneScan fits inside a standard traffic lane and accommodates POVs including trucks, vans, and SUVs. The HXC-LaneScan uniquely features a large single monitor with an intuitive interface, offering operators a visually simplified and more efficient way to quickly clear or identify threats and contraband. The Astrophysics HXC-LaneScan is proudly designed and assembled in California, to the highest quality standards. Under the IDIQ, Astrophysics will deploy the HXC-LaneScan to support CBP’s mission in protecting the American people, safeguarding our borders, and enhancing the nation’s economic prosperity.

“As an American manufacturer, we are honored to continue our partnership with the U.S. CBP and excited that Astrophysics and the HXC-LaneScan was selected to support its critical security mission,” said CEO François Zayek. “We are confident that our advanced technology provides the ideal solution for CBP to efficiently examine privately owned vehicles (POVs) at the U.S. border.”

There’s Just Not Enough Safe Overnight Parking For Truckers

There’s Just Not Enough Safe Overnight Parking For Truckers

There are millions of transport trucks on the road today, hauling the goods that keep society running. But there are not enough secure overnight parking spots available to allow drivers and their cargo to park safely. And so, in many cases, they park wherever they can to get some necessary sleep, even though many of the truckers’ improvised and unprotected resting locations put them at risk of accidents, theft and assault.

“In the United States, there is a shortage of safe overnight parking spots, whether provided by public agencies or private companies,” said Rebecca Brewster, president and COO of the American Transportation Research Institute. “So if you’re traveling along a U.S. interstate highway early in the morning, you’ll see trucks parked on the shoulder. This is obviously unsafe for the professional truck driver who’s forced to take their rest there. It’s unsafe for cars that have to navigate around those parked trucks. And the shoulders of our roadways were not designed to support large commercial vehicles over extended periods of time, so it’s bad for them too.”

Jan-Philipp Weers, Head  Bosch Secure Truck Parking
Jan-Philipp Weers, Head
Bosch Secure Truck Parking

The U.S. is not alone in having too few safe parking spots for truckers. “We regard this as a major problem in the European logistics sector as well,” said Jan-Philipp Weers, head of Bosch Secure Truck Parking. “According to a recent EU study, Europe suffers from a shortage of some 400,000 secure parking spaces for trucks. Truckers often search in vain through multiple parking lots for vacancies, or end up parking right next to the highway in unsafe, unsecured spaces.”

The Impact of Insufficient Parking

Not being able to find a safe place to park overnight weighs on the world’s truckers. “Every year the American Transportation Research Institute conducts a survey of drivers and carriers who are asked to list their top 10 concerns,” said Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women In Trucking. “Truck parking has been listed in the Top Ten for over ten years. This year, it tied for first — with compensation — in the responses from professional drivers, which proves it is a continuous issue which doesn’t seem to be resolved.”

Ellen Voie, President/CEO Women In Trucking
Ellen Voie, President/CEO
Women In Trucking

So how did we get here? Simply put, the shipping industry has avoided its responsibility to match the growing number of trucks on the road with a growing number of safe parking spots. Government will only provide them if there is enough pressure on politicians to fund such spots and to take trucker safety seriously.

Private parking operators will only provide safe parking if it is profitable. This can be the case in urban areas where the economics of scale make large secure parking lots economically viable. But along the sparsely populated highways that connect these cities? There’s just not enough money to be made from setting up small secure parking lots.

The impact of this situation on truckers causes many problems. Not being able to find safe overnight parking can result in driver fatigue, on-the-job stress and accidents caused by exhaustion. It can also lead to serious physical injuries or even death, if drivers are victimized by thieves when parked in unsafe areas.

Based on driver surveys, this is a very real danger. “We have conducted numerous surveys with female drivers to ask them where they feel their safety is compromised, and the overwhelming response is at truck stops and rest areas,” said Voie. This risk is heightened for female truckers whenever they have to park overnight in unsecured areas, especially if these locations are remote, improperly lit, and not patrolled.

Although it is difficult to determine the financial costs of driver fatigue, stress, injuries and death, the impact of theft is easy to calculate. “The financial loss due to freight theft alone is estimated at 8.2 billion euros across the European Union per year,” said Weers. “Now 75% of cargo theft takes place in unsecured parking lots. Thieves usually take advantage of the situation at night, when the truck is parked unprotected and the driver is asleep.” Consumer goods and car parts are among the most commonly stolen goods, as are jewelry, precious metals and food products.

Many shippers and receivers do not want drivers parking on their property overnight, which moves drivers to park in areas that might be less safe, according to Women in Trucking President and CEO Ellen Voie.
Many shippers and receivers do not want drivers parking on their property overnight, which moves drivers to park in areas that might be less safe, according to Women in Trucking President and CEO Ellen Voie.

The last thing truckers want to experience is injury to themselves and/or others, plus the loss of their cargo. This is why the search for safe overnight parking has become a daily obsession for long-haul truckers — one that is cutting into their own productivity and the productivity of their employers and customers. The reason? “Truckers are losing an hour of drive time every day, in many cases, by choosing to pull off the road early to be sure to find a safe place to park,” Brewster said. That’s one hour less spent moving goods each day, affecting delivery schedules and supply chains at a time when the world is still reeling from COVID-induced shipping delays.

Bosch Secure Truck Parking provides a digital booking platform for truck parking spaces, which allows freight forwarders and drivers to book and pay for parking spaces online. In addition, Bosch creates and implements secure and digital parking solutions across Europe, including video surveillance by the Bosch Monitoring Center. Bosch image.
Bosch Secure Truck Parking provides a digital booking platform for truck parking spaces, which allows freight forwarders and drivers to book and pay for parking spaces online. In addition, Bosch creates and implements secure and digital parking solutions across Europe, including video surveillance by the Bosch Monitoring Center. Bosch image.

The hunt for safe overnight parking is being exacerbated by onboard electronic logging devices that record truckers’ hours, Voie added. “They start to look for an available spot before they run out of on-duty time,” she said. “Another reason for this situation is that many shippers and receivers do not want drivers parking on their property overnight, which also moves drivers to park in areas that might be less safe.”

Safe Parking Solutions

Clearly something needs to be done to make overnight parking safer for truckers. In Europe, Bosch is doing something about it through Bosch Secure Truck Parking.

“Bosch Secure Truck Parking provides technology-based security and service solutions for the logistics sector,” said Weers. “The focus is on our digital booking platform for truck parking spaces, which allows freight forwarders and drivers to book and pay for parking spaces online before they need them. Haulage managers and their drivers can view what parking spaces are available in real time and book what they need. This makes it easier to plan routes and rest periods, and helps truckers comply with their mandatory driving times and rest periods.”

As for providing enough spots for truckers in the tight European market? “The basic principle of Bosch Secure Truck Parking is as simple as it is plainly obvious,” Weers replied. “Just as with car sharing, logistics providers can help one another by sharing parking spaces.”

Assuming that this does happen, Bosch Secure Truck Parking is a positive response to the continent’s shortage of safe overnight parking spots for truckers. But the benefits don’t end there. “Firstly, reducing the traffic caused by drivers looking for parking spaces lowers fuel consumption and prevents drivers from exceeding their permitted driving time,” said Weers. “Secondly, it contributes to sustainability because less searching for parking reduces CO2 emissions and the overall carbon footprint. And there are further benefits: Urgently needed parking capacity for the logistics industry is created without having to pave over more land, while parking lot owners earn additional revenue from expanded usage of their facility.”

Bosch Secure Truck Parking says its parking solutions have high safety standards. Many areas are fenced, illuminated, monitored by video and can only be accessed through a barrier. Bosch image.
Bosch Secure Truck Parking says its parking solutions have high safety standards. Many areas are fenced, illuminated, monitored by video and can only be accessed through a barrier. Bosch image.

One last bonus: Bosch Secure Truck Parking users pay for these services through monthly all-in-one invoices, rather than individual charges. “This not only saves time and effort necessary to process countless billing documents, but also offers complete and transparent cost controlling, as all parking transactions and their associated costs are accessible online in real time,” Weers said. “Trucking companies have the neatly itemized parking fees overview at their disposal.”

“Ultimately, it is the truckers on the road who benefit most from this solution, because knowing their exact pre-booked parking spot lets them arrive at their overnight destination stress-free,” he said. “Secure parking lots equipped with facilities you can review in advance make day-to-day haulage routines significantly more convenient, comfortable, and secure — which, among other benefits, also improves sleep quality for drivers. These are all factors that positively impact road safety and are benefits that freight carriers can use to attract qualified haulage personnel and thus improve their positioning in a very competitive market.”

Also in Europe, the EU is currently creating a series of standards to regulate Safe and Secure Truck Parking Areas (SSTPAs) on the continent. Currently in the draft stage, these regulations will define the physical infrastructure, technology and procedures to be implemented at SSTPAs. They will also define service provision to truckers in areas such as personal hygiene, communications, food service, safety and multilingual information, among others.

“The SSTPA process is supported by industry stakeholders,” said Marco Digioia, secretary general of the European Road Haulers Association. “It will address a number of aspects such as making services available to drivers — showers, toilets, and accommodations — to detailed specifications for perimeter CCTV surveillance, security plans and risk prevention audits. These audits will determine the level of SSTPA standard that specific parking facilities will have to comply with.”

Risk is heightened whenever drivers have to park overnight in unsecured areas, especially if these locations are remote, improperly lit and not patrolled. Bosch Secure Truck Parking is working to provide safety features such as adequate lighting and security cameras, like the ones shown above, at their parking locations in Europe. Bosch image.
Risk is heightened whenever drivers have to park overnight in unsecured areas, especially if these locations are remote, improperly lit and not patrolled. Bosch Secure Truck Parking is working to provide safety features such as adequate lighting and security cameras, like the ones shown above, at their parking locations in Europe. Bosch image.

For his part, Weers thinks Europe’s shortage of safe parking spaces could be solved through legislation.

“The problem could be solved quickly if parking would be organized in a different way. In the EU there is a toll system, which means lorries pay high fees to be able to use motorways or state roads, and the public parking areas on them,” he said. “However, there are simply not enough of these public parking areas, which means lorry drivers often resort to using private parking lots. As a result, transport companies end up paying for parking twice — within the toll scheme and as part of the fees demanded by the operator of the private parking lot.”

Faced with this financial double bind, transport companies do their best to avoid paying for private parking, which in turn discourages entrepreneurs from building new secured lots. “A regulatory change could fix the problem at its core,” Weers said, “by allowing transport companies to deduct the cost of private parking fees from the amounts they are charged for roadway tolls.”

“In this context, we welcome the new funding guideline from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in Germany, which came into force last year,” he added. “The funding program offers companies financial incentives to provide truck parking spaces at truck stops and depots. This fits well with the sharing-economy principle of Bosch Secure Truck Parking and signals that the German ministry is willing to promote private initiative to solve the truck parking challenge.”

That’s not the case in the United States. There is not the same political will in either Washington or the 50 states to solve the parking shortage through legislation and direct public construction programs. As a result, safe parking solutions will have to come from the private sector, said Voie, possibly aided by government financial incentives and tax breaks.

“We have to make it economically advantageous for companies to offer parking for our tractor trailers and other large vehicles,” Voie said. “The truck stop industry claims to offer the solution, but drivers disagree that there is enough room in many of the corridors, especially in the northeastern part of the country. Still, there are so many wonderful private solutions that should be considered as well, such as (another online parking reservation system for truckers).”

She added that the government could make a difference by being creative in regard to parking regulations. This could include legislating the right for truckers to use parking lots during business off-hours, such as lots belonging to shopping malls, entertainment venues, sporting stadiums, and competitors’ carrier terminals. “Perhaps legislation to require warehouses to provide truck parking and facilities could make a difference,” Voie said.

In the meantime, truckers will have to improve their trip planning skills to find safe parking spots on their own.

“There are a number of smartphone apps that help drivers identify in real time where there’s available truck parking,” said Brewster. “Of course, a driver can’t access that data when they’re driving. They have to stop to legally look at their phone to find where that parking is available. But a number of state departments of transportation are also using changeable message signs along the interstate to notify drivers of how many available truck parking spaces are available at the next exit, which is obviously a time saver for drivers. They don’t have to pull off to see if there’s available parking.”

One thing is certain: Without specific action by government and industry to address the growing shortage of safe overnight park spots for truckers, the stress, assaults, robberies and theft of cargo that they and their firms are experiencing will increase in lockstep with the growing number of trucks on the road. This problem won’t go away. It has to be fixed.