One of the big truck brands in Europe is the Dutch brand DAF. Years ago the American company PACCAR purchased the DAF company. Paccar also owns famous USA truck brands like Kenworth and Peterbilt.
At CES, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Paccar showed some projects they are working on. Basically there are two main directions they go for now:
1. PRODUCING ZERO EMISSION TRUCKS
They work on solutions for the truck segments ‘medium duty’ and ‘heavy duty’. There are solutions already available or these will be available soon. At the convention they showed an electric garbage truck that had zero emission.
But also for the heavy duty trucks they are developing zero emission solutions. It is interesting to see the number of cables and their size that are used to bring the power from the batteries in large boxes to the electric motor. Paccar calls their system the ’Paccar integrated Power Train’.
2 RESEARCH TO AUTONOMIC DRIVING
Paccar does not yet believe in trucks without a driver. They do research in the State of Washington for full autonomous truck driving. They need to do this to get all the possible knowledge for driver supporting systems and potential autonomous driving for trucks.. Even if that will be used only on main roads and not in the cities or on company sites.
AUTONOMOUS DRIVING IN GENERAL
There is a lot of writing and talking about autonomous driving. But imagine a car or a truck in a city like Amsterdam with small streets and badly parked cars. But also the thousands of bikes and pedestrians. Many of these do not care too much about traffic lights. It is already difficult for a human to drive there without having an accident. For an autonomous car it is totally impossible.
So driver support systems are already available and will get better in the future. Driving a Tesla I personally experience that the systems gets better with each update. But full autonomous cars without a driver is a very long way to go.
Each year, early January, is the annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. At CES products and services are introduced that will be available for the general public in the coming years. Audio, video, computers, robots, drones and now-a-days also self driving cars.
TRUCK MANUFACTURER AT CONSUMER ELCETRONICS SHOW
But it was surprise for me to see at CES the company Paccar, the mother company of the Dutch truck building company DAF and the famous USA truck brands Kenworth and Peterbilt.
Since long time the CES is more than a consumer electronics show. It is an event that informs about all the innovations going on in the world today.
PACCAR INNOVATION CENTER
Paccar has their own innovation center in Silicon Valley. One of the things they study there is the use of drones to deliver spare parts to mechanics on the spot.
The idea is that when a truck brakes down a mechanic goes on the road to get the truck repaired and driving again. But it is impossible for a mechanic to have all the spare parts in the service van. So if he calls the service center a drone should be used to deliver the desired spare part to fix the truck.
DRONES TO DELIVER SPARE PARTS
First Paccar did a research to all of their spare parts. It seemed that 87% of the spares was under 4,5 Kg (10 lbs) .
On the photo you see a regular professional drone with a plastic box under it.
The box should be able to hold the spare part. The weight of 4,5 kg should be no problem, nor the dimensions of the plastic box to hold one of these 87% of the spare parts.
MANY PROBLEMS TO SOLVE
It sounds all simple, but there are many problems before this drone delivery will be reality. The distance the drone that was showed can cover is 14 Km (9 miles). But according to US law it can only be used when the drone is in sight, That means a maximum reach from approx 1,5 km (1 mile).
But even if the distance is 14 km, it is a 10 minute ride for a car to deliver the spare part. Does it make sense to use a drone in those circumstances?
It is only one of many questions, no one knows what the future will bing.
PACCAR’s TIME LINE FOR USA DRONE DELIVERIES
2017 Drone delivery within the pilot’s line of sight (LOS) expands in rural areas. 2018 Deadline for FAA’s new drone delivery rules 2019 NASA plans to release recommendations around air traffic control systems for drones. 2020 Limited commercial deliveries start with autonomous flights. 2021 Commercial drone deliveries begin in parts of the USA as air traffic control and autonomous flight systems mature, enabling more complex delivery operations.
ONLY TIME WILL TELL what the future will bring us, but CES made clear again than many exiting things start to happen the coming years also within the trucking industry.