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Freight Revolution: The Unveiling Of SuperTruck II

Freight Revolution: The Unveiling Of SuperTruck II

Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) has caused a stir in the freight tech world with its latest innovation – the Freightliner SuperTruck II. The company unveiled the vehicle at the Manifest Conference in Las Vegas last week. This high-efficiency tractor-trailer combination concept focuses on reduced emissions and practical application. Developed as part of the SuperTruck program co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the SuperTruck II showcases the future potential of road freight transport.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the key areas of focus that make the SuperTruck II stand out from its predecessor and the competition.

Improved Aerodynamics

One of the primary goals of the SuperTruck II project was improving aerodynamics. The company writes, “We have our own wind tunnel and spent hundreds and hundreds of hours testing new shapes, sizes, and surfaces to build our most aerodynamic truck ever.” The truck boasts a 12% reduction in tractor aerodynamic drag over the SuperTruck I.

Automatic side extenders and a roof spoiler close the gap between the tractor and trailer at highway speeds. Also, the dynamic ride height decreases drag by automatically lowering the truck. Since this feature requires no effort from the driver, it’s a convenient and effective solution for reducing drag and improving aerodynamics.

Lower Tire Rolling Resistance

The SuperTruck II also features significantly lower tire rolling resistance, thanks to a partnership with Michelin. This collaboration resulted in new tire compounds, treads, and technologies that reduced rolling resistance by 12%.

It’s noted that integrated adaptive tandem axles automatically shift from 6×4 to 6×2 at highway speeds.

Finally, the dynamic load shifting feature also engages at highway speeds, allowing the tag axle with less rolling resistance to do most of the driving, extending the life of the tires.

Maximizing Powertrain Efficiencies

The SuperTruck II has a more efficient 13-liter engine with twin turbo and interstage cooling. So the truck gets more efficient air compression.

An EcoSail feature allows the engine to shut off automatically on downhills. Additionally, the 13-speed overdrive transmission provides higher fuel savings with lower down-speeding.

Power and Safety

The SuperTruck II features a new electrical system that can fully run the hoteling feature without the engine running, using the 48-volt electrical system. The 48-volt power steering system also uses much less power, adjusting demand only as needed, from low to highway speeds.

The mirrorless cameras are aerodynamic and out of the driver’s line of sight. The cameras perform well in low light, improving driver visibility and safety.

Daimler’s SuperTruck II is designed to deliver the best performance, power, and safety for the freight transportation industry. With its cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions, the SuperTruck II is a must-watch for any freight tech enthusiast.

Three Exciting Future Technologies In Warehousing

Three Exciting Future Technologies In Warehousing

Exciting things are happening for warehouse technology. We’re seeing everything from physical robots to augmented and virtual realities.

Recently, Worlds Enterprises, Inc., a company that specializes in creating 4D digital twins of warehouses and factories for training and operations improvement, completed a successful $21.2 million Series A1 funding round per an announcement from Business Wire. 

What’s a digital twin, and why is it worth such an investment? 

A digital twin is a virtual model of a physical object or system. It can simulate and analyze the object or system’s behavior, performance, and interactions with its environment. In simple terms, it’s a virtual version of something that exists in the real world. For example, a digital twin of a car engine can be used to test and optimize its performance before the build, or a digital twin of a warehouse can be used to plan and optimize its operations and logistics. The digital twin can monitor the real-world object or system and use it for training, simulation, and optimization.

The data gathered from a digital twin can provide valuable insights and a responsive testing environment. As Worlds explains, “We show the critical variations that cause inefficiency, lower production, or create unsafe environments – in real-time. As a result, it empowers clients to reimagine and automate their processes in ways that unlock massive unrealized value.” 

Amazing things are happening outside of training environments, too. 

Firstly, we’ve got to talk about these warehouse robots. Such as these SqUID robots from BionicHive climbing shelves to retrieve and place inventory. Now, look at how Amazon’s robots automate multiple processes at its warehouses. And we certainly can’t forget Locus Robotics, which FreightCaviar reported on last year. Overall, robots are helping warehouses become more efficient, accurate, and safer than ever. 

New AR Warehouse Technology Merges the digital and physical worlds.

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digital information on top of the real world. In other words, it enhances the user’s perception of the physical world by adding virtual elements. AR warehouse technology makes it easy for workers to move around, access information, and more.

For example, companies like Vuzix Corporations and TeamViewer create smart glasses workers can wear to provide instant access to information in front of their eyes. 

  • Inventory Management: Displays information about the location, quantity, and status of inventory items. 
  • Task Instructions: Overlays instructions or diagrams on top of physical objects, helping workers to understand how to perform tasks correctly and efficiently. 
  • Safety: Reveals safety information and alerts to keep workers aware of potential hazards and reduce the risk of accidents. 

It will be exciting to see how companies in the industrial and warehousing sectors will continue to utilize these tools to improve their operations and drive success. One question to ponder is: How can your company benefit from new industrial and warehouse technology?

Image by Freepik

$2 Billion Spent by Trimble to Buy Transporeon. What Does It Mean? We asked the Expert. 

$2 Billion Spent by Trimble to Buy Transporeon. What Does It Mean? We asked the Expert. 

We were curious when we saw that Trimble spent a whopping $2 billion USD on a freight tech company in Europe called Transporeon, especially after Trimble recently closed down another recent acquisition called Kuebix that they just bought in 2020 for $201 million USD. 

So, we asked our resident expert, Tim Higham, the CEO and founder of AscendTMS, a popular freight TMS software company with our readers (and a FreightCaviar sponsor) what this means for the industry and freight tech in general. 

Paul-Bernard Jaroslawski (PBJ): Tim, will this deal by Trimble fix all the problems we all face in logistics in North America?

Tim Higham: Ha! Good one, Paul. No, it won’t. But it’s another piece of the puzzle. Digitizing trucking and logistics is going to be an ongoing two-decade process, and this is a vote of confidence by Trimble in that process. Also, Transporeon mainly operates in Europe, and it will take time for an Americanized version to be brought to the United States. 

PBJ: Why did Trimble spend $2 billion USD on them? That’s a lot of money, especially after the Kuebix closure. Is Transporeon profitable?

Tim Higham: I have no idea if Transporeon is profitable as they are (were) privately held. But, Trimble stated publicly that the deal would be immediately accretive to Trimble’s revenue growth and margin profile and that they (Transporeon) generated profitable growth over the past 15-plus years. So, this leads me to believe that they are indeed profitable. To me, being profitable means that Transporeon is proven and they have a product that clearly meets a need in the market. Profitability says a lot about market acceptance for any product.   

PBJ: Can Trimble easily bring Transporeon to the North American market?

Tim Higham: As a Brit, yet growing our own highly profitable TMS software company in North America, I can tell you that there are a lot of differences between how logistics work in Europe versus North America. Today, AscendTMS is the most widely used TMS platform in the USA, with paying customers, mainly by accident, in over 30 countries today. So, I can tell you from the front lines that every jurisdiction around the world has particular needs, and there is no all-in-one solution that will translate easily between Europe and the USA. So that’s why the major US freight tech providers aren’t big in Europe and vice-versa.  

Moreover, the largest companies in North America already have very sophisticated supply chain technology in place, so displacing that will be challenging and take time. When Transporeon started in Europe in 2000, their technology solutions had little competition, and thus it was easier to get a fast market share. However, today in North America, there’s a lot of entrenched technology that will need to be displaced in order to get a foothold, especially in the top end of the market. 

PBJ: So, how does Transporeon get a share of the market in the US? 

Tim Higham: They’ll probably start by getting one or two of their niche products into a company that meets a particular need, and they’ll likely use that success as a door opener. Then, over time, they’ll hope to further open the door to more of their products as opportunities arise. 

Also, their new owner, Trimble, already has a substantial market share of their own existing trucking and logistics technology in North America. So, as the natural technology replacement cycle takes place, Trimble will now have a series of new products and services to offer their existing customers rather than losing them to newer freight tech competitors. So it’s a smart strategy, but it’s a long-ball game.

PBJ: Will this deal help digitize the industry?

Tim Higham: As I’ve said publicly many times, the main issue with freight technology is that getting the top 5% or so of shippers, carriers, and brokers connected and integrated digitally is pretty straightforward. This is because the largest players have big tech budgets and large IT teams. But, if only 5% of the industry is ready to connect with each other, it only works as long as they are working with each other. 

Unfortunately, the fact is that the other 95% of the industry, the SMB player, has little to no technology budget and no IT team. So, how do they participate in this digital evolution? 

The smaller market players with under 20 trucks or under $20 million USD in sales (as a 3PL) or freight spend (as a shipper) represent over 95% of the entire market, and they need cheap, simple, and fast to deploy solutions in order to participate with the more sophisticated top 5%. 

If you leave the smaller companies out of the freight tech evolution, true digitization across the industry will never become a reality. It’s on the entire industry to invite them in. 

PBJ: So how can that be fixed? 

Tim Higham: It’s already happening. The largest shippers, 3PLs, and technology players are already handing out tools, like AscendTMS, to the smallest players to help to get them digital. 

Don’t be fooled that this is a purely altruistic endeavor, though. The most prominent players have realized that if they want to truly see the efficiencies of digital freight and logistics processes hit their balance sheet, they need every single vendor, customer, and partner to be capable of doing business digitally. That’s why many of them today literally give away AscendTMS to their SMB partners so they can participate with them. And in turn, both parties see a rapid reduction in costs and the resulting increase in profits. 

PBJ: How long will this all take?

Tim Higham: To use an American baseball analogy, my guess is that we’re only in the 2nd inning in North America. Today over 51,300 trucking, logistics, and shipping companies use AscendTMS, and they all benefit from digital freight technology. But that’s still a tiny part of the total addressable market in North America and even smaller when you look globally. 

The good news is that we see more and more large industry leaders helping to educate the smaller players about the available freight software solutions, like AscendTMS, so they can easily participate and realize cost savings themselves. 

The pace and urgency are already increasing, and there’s a lot of opportunity for the likes of Trimble and Transporeon over the coming decades to help bring the entire market toward a fully digital future. 

Yes, this will all take time. But the good news is that AscendTMS, like Trimble and Transporeon, have shown that there is an eager market for our solutions, and it can be done profitably along the way. 

PBJ: Tim, as always, thanks for your expert insight on this subject and for helping us all to understand the freight tech world. 

Tim Higham: My pleasure, Paul. 

Convoy And Others Want API Standards in Freight Tech

Convoy And Others Want API Standards in Freight Tech

Convoy, J.B. Hunt, and Uber Freight want API standards in freight tech. The three have formed the Scheduling Standards Consortium (SSC) to call for standardization in transportation appointment scheduling via a report from FreightWaves.

What’s the problem In Freight Tech?

Despite being a common task, appointment scheduling is still one of the freight industry’s most analog and disjointed processes. Freight tech companies have tried to tackle this issue but haven’t had insight into one another’s data. Going in without that open exchange doesn’t help fix fragmented supply chains.

The SSC wants to combine the work of logistics providers, warehouse management solutions, and transportation management systems to push toward industry standards in scheduling practices.

Standards Consortium started with an organic conversation…

…between three representatives from each company during a FreightWaves Future of Supply Chain conference back in May. It was there that Dan Lewis, CEO of Convoy, spoke with Stuart Scott, executive vice president and chief information officer at J.B. Hunt, and the co-founder and head of operations at Uber Freight, Bill Driegert. The three felt that as early technology adopters, they could lead the way to more efficient scheduling practices.

They say that the goal of SSC is not to create another commercial product but to pull multiple parts of the industry together “to design a common application programming interface for sharing scheduling data,” Lewis and Scott explained to FreightWaves.

Lewis adds, “By setting these API standards, it allows for more innovation in the future.”

What’s the response?

There’s already a website up and running. Scott says current contributors showed an overwhelmingly positive response to the goal of industry-wide API standards. But they still need to get more key players on board with sharing information. The goal is that seeing leaders like J.B. Hunt involved will convince others to join the consortium.

The SSC plans to roll out standards for full-truckload freight by Q1 2023.

Future of Freight And More From Around The Freight Web

Future of Freight And More From Around The Freight Web

By Adriana Pulley

Locus Raises $117 Million To Advance Warehousing

Another win for robots! Locus Robotics, based in Massachusetts, has made a name for itself in the thriving warehousing robotics industry. This week Locus announced a $117 million Series F led by Goldman Sachs, G2 Venture Partners and Stack per TechCrunch. The company’s total funding is now around $400 million bringing Locus’s valuation close to $2 billion.

Locus is a standout among others in the industry like…

  • Verity AG
  • 6 River Systems (acquired by Shopify)
  • Geek+
  • RightHand Robotics
  • Amazon Robotics (formerly Kiva Systems)

We can only expect ventures like Locus to boom…

…considering the accelerated growth of the eCommerce sector and rumors of names like TikTok pushing into the US market. In recent days, we’ve seen digital orders set records this Black Friday. In order to stay competitive, you’ve gotta bring in the bots.

Of course, industry giant Amazon still dominates. They were one of the early adopters of automation, acquiring Kiva Systems for their fulfilment centers back in 2012. Amazon sets the standards and goals that smaller retailers have to catch up to. Because of that, robotics startups have cropped up everywhere to bridge the gap.

Like others, Locus assures the public that no, our robots won’t run you out of a job.

They say they “understand the importance of having robots that work collaboratively with workers, not replace them.” They illustrate the point with digital line art showing an at-ease worker leaning against one of their robots. See? Total harmony.

For the future…

Locus looks towards further solidifying its place as a leader in the warehouse robotics space.

Powered Trailers Coming Soon Thanks to Range

Based in Mountain View, California, Range has created a powered trailer to “accelerate the electrification of commercial transportation” according to their website. Range was founded in 2021 by Ali Javidan, a former head of prototypes at Tesla.

How do They work? Range explains on its site:

  • An “integrated sensor and powertrain system” power the trailer.
  • A smart kingpin unit measures the load the trailer places on the truck.
  • The smart kingpin, sensor, and system communicate with one another, reducing the load on the engine under acceleration and recapturing kinetic energy using regenerative braking.

The trailers use standard interfaces and are compatible with both diesel and electric trucks. Even if the trailers weren’t plugged in, they can still safely haul cargo.

Who’s interested and why?

It makes sense that smaller trucking companies might be interested in this more cost-efficient alternative. The Tesla Semi, which reportedly completed a 500-mile haul, costs $180,000 or $150,000 for the 300-mile-range option.

The FMCSA has made its environmental priorities clear, wanting to curb engine emissions and pushing towards the adoption of zero-emission trucks. California leads the way in electric vehicle initiatives with goals to phase out diesel trucks in the next 20 years.

Range’s powered trailers could really help the little guys…

…stay relevant in this fast-changing industry. Their audience is clear to them. Range markets the powered trailers as a “practical, compliant, near-term solution to emissions mandates.”

According to Range, their trailers “reduce diesel consumption and tailpipe emissions by 41% in combined city/highway driving, with no increase to cost-per-mile.” And for those companies that may already have electric vehicles, the powered trailers extend the miles driven before the EV trucks need their next charge-up.

The company recently raised $8 million in Seed funding led by Up Partners, R7, and Yamaha Motor Ventures.

Latest and Greatest From Around the Freight Web

Somebody Help!: On Monday night, Biden called on Congress to take action to avoid a freight rail strike. On Tuesday, Congressional leaders spoke up, expressing support for legislation on the issue. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Tomorrow morning we will have a bill on the floor.”

Drug Bust: A truck driver was stopped at the US-Mexico border where his load of “surgical kits” turned out to be hiding 22.97 pounds of cocaine (an estimated street value of $291,760). In a statement, the driver said he was “obligated” to move the drugs.

Korean Wave: South Korea’s trucker strike, the second one this year, rippled through the supply chain. The disruption blocked access to two of the country’s busiest container ports. Following a 6-day strike, the truckers have now been ordered back to work.

Final Battle: In the battle of the brokers, many see 2023 as the time to prove yourself or sink. Legacy brokers like C.H. Robinson and RXO have expanded their own automated systems to compete with native digital brokerages like Uberfreight and Convoy. For smaller firms without AI tech…things will get pretty rocky.

Fast Friends: Turvo and DAT have formally announced their partnership bringing efficiency in the form of a “one-stop shop” for freight matching. DAT VP of Sales says their load board network will host more than 535 million load and truck posts.