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Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire 7/17/2019 Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills 7/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status 7/12/2019 ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant 7/10/2019 New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters 7/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week 7/5/2019 Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July 7/3/2019 Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks? 7/1/2019 Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks 6/28/2019 Experts warn of active wildland fire season 6/26/2019 More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking 6/24/2019 Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award 6/21/2019 Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs 6/19/2019 Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers 6/17/2019 Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo 6/14/2019 HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers 6/12/2019 FMCSA takes a further look at detention time 6/10/2019 Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest 6/7/2019 Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week 6/5/2019 Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo 6/3/2019 Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments 5/31/2019 Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration 5/29/2019 Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts 5/25/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles 5/24/2019 Autonomous trucks on USPS test run 5/22/2019 Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules 5/20/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC 5/17/2019 Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA 5/15/2019 Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins 5/13/2019 Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole 5/10/2019 Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South 5/8/2019 Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets 5/6/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers 5/3/2019 'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states 5/1/2019 Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers 4/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business 4/26/2019 ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for 4/24/2019 Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks 4/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings 4/19/2019 Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels 4/17/2019 Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business 4/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise 4/12/2019 Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need 4/10/2019 Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border 4/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules 4/5/2019 Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates 4/3/2019 Don't get scammed by skimmers 4/1/2019 Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking 3/29/2019 Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers 3/27/2019 Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy 3/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap 3/22/2019 Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising 3/20/2019 FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website 3/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award 3/15/2019 The hidden danger of looking but not seeing 3/13/2019 Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout 3/11/2019 3/9/2019 3/9/2019 Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire 3/8/2019 Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases 3/6/2019 Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness 3/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports 3/1/2019 New tax changes hit drivers hard 2/27/2019 FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military 2/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use 2/22/2019 Congress committee looks at state of America's highways 2/20/2019 Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same 2/18/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks 2/15/2019 Detention - A problem still in search of a solution 2/13/2019 February Highway Angels honorees named 2/11/2019 Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets 2/8/2019 Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage? 2/6/2019 Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage 2/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team 2/1/2019 Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly 1/30/2019 California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards 1/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers 1/25/2019 LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30 1/23/2019 2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry 1/21/2019 Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018 3/28/2018 TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award 3/7/2018 TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year 2/28/2018 Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers 2/26/2018 New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018 1/11/2018 Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup 12/21/2017 Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks 12/12/2017 Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017 12/8/2017 Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way 8/10/2017 Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road 7/18/2017 Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach 7/13/2017 Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal 7/6/2017 Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice 6/29/2017 The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers 6/15/2017 The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017 6/8/2017 We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better 5/30/2017 Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon 5/25/2017 11/30/-0001

Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness

Dave Wickenhauser on Mon, March 4, 2019

Last Updated: Tue, April 16, 2019

What's more ubiquitous among truck drivers than the smartphone?

Researchers at MIT have found a way to turn a driver's lowly smartphone into a tool that they tout as being able to reduce fuel consumption by 5 to 10 percent, monitor tire pressure and even monitor wheel alignment.

That's a lot to ask from one smartphone app! But, that's the goal of a team of researchers.

Trucking companies are already enjoying fuel cost savings of 5 to 7 percent from aerodynamic attachments on trailers like skirts and trailer tails. But these attachments are costly and subject to damage and/or misuse.

That's where the MIT research comes in. MIT research assistant Jake Roxon has teamed up with Shahd Nara, a student at Harvard University, to create an app that uses every smartphone's accelerometer to measure the quality of the road as the truck drives over it.

With enough data input the app, called Carbin, would report back to the driver to guide him or her on the most fuel-efficient route.


How it works

The team is boosting the accelerometer feature of smartphones to increase their sensitivity so much that they can detect the slightest defect in pavement as it rolls beneath the wheels. The phone could be mounted on a stable, fixed platform anywhere in the truck.

When enough data has been sensed by the phone, about three minutes worth, the software will operate to cut out extraneous data sensed by movement of the driver or occupants within the truck, or movement from the trailer, etc. In practice, it would be like what a noise-cancelling headset does.

Roxon explained that road roughness is expressed in an IRI, or International Roughness Index. The index indicates not only road quality, but also how a bad road contributes to fuel consumption.

“If you are interested in a road’s roughness, the app can display IRI; if you are interested in the fuel consumption the app can show you if, say, 20 to 25 percent of your fuel consumption comes from a poor-quality road — which is totally possible in a city,”

Roxon and the team will build in the ability to calculate road quality in real time. Eventually, they expect to be able to integrate the app with other road apps like Apple Maps or Google Maps to route drivers along the most fuel-efficient roads.

“On average, a semi-truck in the U.S. consumes around 20,000 gallons of diesel per year and the average diesel price in 2018 was $3.19. If you multiply one by the other, you are looking at $63,600 per year per year in fuel costs,” says Roxon, “Now, with our app, we could safely identify 5 percent to 10 percent savings for these drivers. That becomes over $6,000 dollars for just one truck.”

Besides the fuel savings employed by routing away from bad roads Carbin could also be used as a tire-pressure and wheel-alignment monitor. The app's use of the phone's accelerometer would be sensitive enough to measure the difference in the way the vehicle's low-pressure tires or bad wheel alignment affect the motion of the vehicle on the road.

And, as every truck driver knows, correct tire pressure and wheel alignment are directly related to fuel efficiency, besides it being unsafe to drive with improperly filled tires.

Some trucks and trailers are now being outfitted with tire pressure monitors, but the team says these are both expensive and often unreliable.

The team also envisions state and city agencies being able to use the app to gather real-time data on the quality of their road surfaces. Right now, government agencies do use sophisticated technology to monitor the quality of the roads, but it is expensive and not being used by jurisdictions with smaller budgets. Whereas the Carbin app could fit into just about every budget.

Carbin is expected to roll out soon, and it will offer users a suite of options to save money, track excess emissions, and understand the carbon footprint of their infrastructure. They are working in collaboration with CARB and CalTrans and have run tests for 50,000 miles in California.

What is International Roughness Index

Begun in the early 1990s the program mandates that each state report its annual IRI to the Federal Highway Administration.

This results in a database used to monitor the national roadway system. Each state's information is compared to the nation as a whole with a threshold range indicating which roads and highways need to be included in repair or maintenance programs.

In the United States these thresholds can range from acceptable at 96 inches per mile to 170 inches per mile. Less than 95 inches per mile is considered a good road segment. Greater than 170 inches per mile gets a poor rating.

This PDF contains IRI data for 2017 by state interstate highways, both urban and rural.

Sources: MIT News, Carbin, Scientific and Academic Publishing

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Cell Phone & Wireless Truck Equipment Truck Maintenance Truckers Technology Trucking Industry Concerns

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