Now They're Talking About "smart" Trailers

Topic 26507 | Page 1

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DaveW's Comment
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While Class 8 tractors are getting smarter, and even learning to drive themselves -- and getting all of the media attention – there's one other element in the trucking supply chain that is getting a boost in smarts as well, but still riding relatively under the radar.

Now they're talking about "smart" trailers

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rick S.'s Comment
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Great - more stuff to break.

Rick

Southern Dad's Comment
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I love technology. My house is loaded with smart home technology. Even my chicken house is smart. Trailers have added skirts and tails to get better mpg. Monitors for 4 wheelers to see ahead is an excellent idea. Another great idea is a camera that transmits to the driver, like RVs have.

G-Town's Comment
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I love technology. My house is loaded with smart home technology. Even my chicken house is smart. Trailers have added skirts and tails to get better mpg. Monitors for 4 wheelers to see ahead is an excellent idea. Another great idea is a camera that transmits to the driver, like RVs have.

How so?

It would be one more distraction (that will eventually fail and requires PTI time) to take attention away from the road and our mirrors.

No thanks.

Southern Dad's Comment
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I see your point but instead of looking at how it won't work, let's think about how it could benefit the truck driver. What if your mirrors no longer had a blind spot? You know that spot that is filled up with trailer? What if the left mirror and right mirror were able to see everything behind you? The outside mirrors are made of shiny reflective glass because that is from what they have always been made. There are cars now that have Surround View Cameras. This is done by stitching the view from several cameras together.

Do you wish that you didn't have a blind spot? Do you wish that you could see everything around the truck/trailer in one view instead of having to look at two mirrors? How many feet is it to that truck dock? Where will the vehicle track with the wheels turned as they are? This technology is out there. It's not in the semis because, it costs money. It's in the new 2019 Dodge Ram Pickup Truck.

While this would make truck driving safer and easier, is it a good idea? That is sort of like discussing trucks moving to automatics versus stick shifts. Are some skills being lost? Yes, but eliminating that blindspot certainly wouldn't be a bad thing.

0702091001568041277.jpg

G-Town's Comment
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Sorry there Dad, I don't think you see my point at all... and until you actually begin to experience this "hands-on", it's likely you won't. And that's okay...

Technology is only a tool (and in this business, it fails frequently and at the worst possible time)... Technology should NOT be intended to replace basic fundamentals of safe driving. The blind spot you speak of is actually insignificant for a driver that knows what they should be doing when it comes to effective space management, backing, and proper use of G.O.A.L. This device although"neat", wouldn't even make my top-10 list of things I'd like to see implemented-changed in this industry.

I maintain my original point...it's a distraction and one more point of unnecessary failure we need to worry about and attend to. That's reality friend...reality is "where we live".

I strongly suggest you focus on these two links before getting too far ahead of yourself...

Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving

Truck Driver's Career Guide

Good luck.

Southern Dad's Comment
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As of May 2018 a back up camera is now required equipment in all passenger vehicles. It was looked at as unnecessary equipment just a few years ago. I understand your point about failures and distractions. Do you understand my point? The point that it could make things safer for truckers? It would be different, and it would take time to adjust. Rather than two mirrors and looking left or right, this would be a way to see 360º around the truck without having to look back and forth.

I have looked at the links and I get your admonishment that I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to trucks. I have a 36' RV that has a rearward facing camera. Two out of our six vehicles that we use in the family have back up cameras. I notice the difference when I get in my CR-Z, as opposed to when I drive they Prius or Elantra, which both have back up cameras. Yes, I can still back up and put that little sucker right in the spot using only the side mirrors. (The interior mirror on a CR-Z is worthless.)

As I said in my profile, I'm a technology embracer. I look for ways that technology can enhance and make our lives safer. If four wheelers could "see through" a truck, wouldn't that make things safer for everyone? I understand that you are a professional driver and are good, probably even great at your job. You've forgotten more about trucking than I will learn.

Good drivers do not need this technology, but it might make the job easier.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Banks's Comment
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The difference is that an RV is a straight vehicle and a tractor trailer is not. Straight trucks are equipped with cameras because the electrical source isn't constantly connected and disconnected. Also, the box is always aligned with the vehicle. Aside from the cost of updating every trailer, it's also dangerous.

When you're driving a tractor trailer your head has to be on the swivel. You have to pay attention to every mirror and you have to always be aware of your surroundings. It's easy to get into a locked stare with a screen. That's dangerous when your tractor is hanging out on a public road and there are people around.

What happens when they camera fails and you can't back up without it? That's extremely dangerous.

Errol V.'s Comment
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I believe there might be the rear-vision advantage to cameras on trailers. Such cameras have been brought up on this forum before - and instantly dismissed. S. Dad, I think I see two holes in your idea. First, those cameras (even at $25 each) will be "no one's" responsibility and will quickly get damaged. Second, there needs to be a way to connect the camera on your new trailer to your tractor (cab). Wires? Bluetooth over 90 feet (distance back of trailer to the driver seat))?

Finally, "money talks": the cost of getting cameras into your fleet (upwards of 2000 trailers - Prime Inc owns 10,000) and the (managerial term warning) cost/benefit and/or insurance savings will not improve the company bottom line.

In the five years I've been in this business, I have seen issues of drivers resisting onboard cameras, anti-tailgating warning/conrol, cruise control, even auto-shift transmissions. Of course, driverless trucks! You probably could add the trailer cameras to this list.

One more issue, "Dad"*, is you are just now coming in to this industry, and you should know that any "bright ideas" suggested by a newbie coming into any new business won't be appreciated. Been there/done that.

*I'm 68 years old and it's weird to call a young man like you "Dad". smile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Southern Dad's Comment
member avatar

Executive Management will look at the cost of camera technology and quickly calculate the return on investment before blowing it off as a bad idea. Of course, when they say bad idea, they mean it will cost them money. One of the reasons they haven't installed APUs across all the fleets is the cost. Everyone knows the benefits, but those dollars talk.

Connection is a question, bluetooth most likely would not be the answer because, as you said, range, and it could be a pain in the butt to have to sync it every time you switched trailers. Right now, this is still in its infancy. It's an interesting topic.

SD will work for short.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

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