Perhaps it is because of the extraordinarily high volumes and fine margins that road transport operators are so adept at working around the margins, finding better ways of doing things to increase productivity and thereby improving profitability and return on investment.
Many of the industry’s widely adopted innovation has come through years of experimentation; increasingly, however it is down to science, with new technologies that are able to calculate and assess situations, capacity and capability with instant precision.
The outcomes are technologies that improve productivity and safety, leaving nothing to chance.
It applies to every facet of a vehicle, from tyre pressure to load restraint, and sensors that save lives by activating safe braking protocols and others that provide alerts by watching the vehicle’s lane alignment and blind spots.
It applies to managing the driver’s task; from scheduling to loading, to fatigue management and driver health and safety.
The power of data touches every aspect of our lives and the heavy vehicle industry is no different. The processing power of the smallest circuitry is applied in the most extraordinary ways.
Last year the Federal Government and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) combined to launch a blueprint designed to support and encourage manufacturers and operators to incorporate the latest safety technology into new and existing heavy vehicles.
Assistant Minister for Road Safety Scott Buchholz said the initiative was intended to remove barriers for heavy vehicle manufacturers’ use of that technology.
“For example, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking systems and pedestrian and cyclist detection systems are all available, so let’s see them on more new vehicles,” Mr Buchholz said.
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the plan would address better harmonisation of Australian vehicle standards, better access to the latest vehicle technologies, ensuring appropriate in-service requirements, and industry education about new and emerging technology.
“When we surveyed manufacturers, we saw that there was very little consistency when it comes to installing newer types of safety technology,” Mr Petroccitto said. “For example, stability control was included on 78 per cent of new vehicles, but fatigue monitoring systems were used on less than one in five, while lane keep assist featured on one in four new vehicles.”
What is on display?
The expanded Technology & Innovation Centre at the 2021 Brisbane Truck Show is a series of displays that showcase the application of new technology right now.
Tiger Spider won HVIA’s 2020 Product Innovation Award with Spider Path, their intuitive and easy to use online route assessment tool for transport companies and road managers.
They will also be demonstrating Hevi Spec, an online high-productivity vehicle design tool that allows users to create almost any high-productivity combination and test it against Performance Based Standards.
The modular vehicle builder includes prime movers, rigid trucks, buses, special purpose vehicles, pigs, dogs, semi-trailers, goose-neck dollies and non-standard trailers with multiple axle groups. Steerable axles, powertrain, suspension, tyres and coupling can all be configured.
Hevi Spec/Spider Path also provides an intuitive and easy to use online route assessment tool for transport companies and road managers to more confidently apply and confirm that a vehicle combination will fit a specific route or network.
Visitors can also get hands-on experiences made possible by virtual and augmented reality.
Avantgarde will demonstrate the benefits of FLIR thermal imaging technology for road transport applications, including reduced driver stress reducing fatigue, giving operators more time to make better decisions.
The display is not light on with entertainment either, with the opportunity to show your mates who can handle a Road Ranger shifter with the most flare and dexterity on one of the truck simulators.
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Other exhibits include DNS Technology iBodyshop smash repair software, Future Fleet GPS and facial camera tracking technology, Road Wizard’s Truckwiz navigational app. Sensium will also be demonstrating their vehicle GPS tracking platform.
Queensland TAFE augmented welding machines provide an insight into the latest in training technologies for tradespeople.
Hace Industries Scanreco radio controlled remotes are used for an vast range of applications ranging from to truck cranes and agricultural machines to skid steer’s, drill rigs, and concrete pumps, to driverless trucks.
Make sure you make time to visit the Technology and Innovation Centre, located on the Plaza level of the BCEC.