Truck Tech

Tesla-Truck Crash: Cruise Control on Steroids

Blog commentary by Senior Editor Jack Roberts

Tesla's autonomous vehicle control system warned Joshua Brown 7 times to take over control of the car before his fatal crash last year. Photo: NTSB/Florida Highway Patrol

New details around the infamous Tesla autonomous driving crash last year bring up an important point about new technology. Jack Roberts has the story in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Tesla, Autonomous Vehicles, Safety, Driver Safety, Technology

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Wednesday, June 21, 2017 1:32 PM | » Comments(1)

Meet the Pro-Marijuana, Pro-LGBT Rights Truck Driver Running for Governor of Alabama

Blog commentary by Senior Editor Jack Roberts

Childs answered "Roll Tide" when asked the first question that Alabama politicans usually get on the campaign trail. Photo: Jason Childs

Jason Childs says his job as a long-haul trucker has challenged his views about working- and middle- class Americans and how neither political party today is addressing their needs. Blog commentary by Senior Editor Jack Roberts. READ MORE

Tags: Truck Drivers, Alabama, Politics, Marijuana

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Wednesday, June 14, 2017 12:38 PM | » Comments(2)

Robots in the Jungle

Blog commentary by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor

A new self-steering system developed by Volvo is being tested in South American sugarcane fields to see if it can reduce crop spoilage and increase yields. Photo: Volvo

An autonomous steering test in the cane fields of Brazil shows why autonomous technology won't be limited to city centers and freeways. READ MORE

Tags: Volvo Trucks, Future Trucks, Autonomous Vehicles, Vehicle Control, Farming

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Thursday, June 8, 2017 6:55 AM | » Comments(0)

The Gig Economy Comes to Trucking

Blog commentary by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor

Uber Freight is a new service and app that allows owner-operators to bypass traditional freight brokers and locate and contract loads for themselves. Photo: Uber Freight

Owner-operators and small fleets have been pronounced DOA many times over the past several years. But if new technology like Uber Freight can breathe much-needed life into the owner-operator market, that can only be a good thing for trucking, says Jack Roberts in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Owner-Operators, Logistics, Small Fleets, Future Trucks, Autonomous Vehicles, Uber for Trucking

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Wednesday, May 24, 2017 1:15 PM | » Comments(3)

Eisenhower and the Interstate

Blog commentary by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor

German POWs march to the rear while U.S. Army forces advance in both lanes on the German Autobahn in this iconic 1945 photograph. Photo: U.S. Army

Because of his personal experiences as both a lowly Army officer and Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Europe, Dwight Eisenhower understood the importance of a modern highway system better than any other leader of his time. Part 2 in a series. READ MORE

Tags: Infrastructure, Interstate, World War II

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:35 AM | » Comments(0)

Motor Trucks in the Wild West

Blog commentary by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor

Mack Trucks in action during the U.S. Army's 1919 cross-country motor convoy experiment. Photo: U.S. Army Signal Corps

In 1919, a young Army officer learned firsthand how important modern roads were for his rapidly transforming young nation. And trucking benefits from the lessons he learned to this very day. READ MORE

Tags: Cadillac, Mack Trucks, GMC, Highways, Interstate, White Motor Co., Interstate Highway System

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Thursday, May 11, 2017 2:02 PM | » Comments(1)

Preventing Truck Terror Attacks Starts With You – And Me.

Blog commentary by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor

It's up to you –and me – to be alert and start looking at ways to thwart terror attacks by trucks.

Terrorists are, by necessity, opportunists. They can't always obtain the weapon of their dreams and are often forced to choose an alternative method for attacking. And lately, their weapon of choice has been trucks, notes Jack Roberts in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Security, Department of Homeland Security, Terrorism, TSA

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Friday, May 5, 2017 9:22 AM | » Comments(3)

Electric Trucks Charge Ahead

Ann-Christin Landman drives a Scania P320 in Karlstad, Sweden, powered by a hydrotreated vegetable oil-electric drivetrain. Photo: Värmlands Folkblad

If you're an American fleet professional, it’s starting to look like your first, hands-on exposure to all the new transportation technology emerging today is going to with an electric truck. READ MORE

Tags: Hino, Mercedes-Benz, Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Mitsubishi Fuso, Alternative-fuel vehicles, Tesla, Alternative Fuels & Hybrids, Scania, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Nikola Motor Company, Global

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Tuesday, May 2, 2017 1:01 PM | » Comments(0)

Autonomous Trucks: A Disruptive Positive Force Coming but Fast

Blog commentary by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor

The Olli is a fully autonmous, fast-transit, 12-passenger bus under development by Local Motors and an example of the new types of transportation cited in a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Association. Photo: Autoblog

It appears autonomous technology will be a winner from the mpg standpoint, according to a new report, with fuel economy increases of up to 18% for most commercial vehicles by 2050. READ MORE

Tags: U.S. Department of Energy, Autonomous Vehicles, Future Trucks, Freight Efficiency, Insurance, Traffic Congestion

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Wednesday, April 19, 2017 3:13 PM | » Comments(0)

The Knight-Swift Merger: Lessons from the History of Ocean Shipping

Blog commentary by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor

Are massive truck fleets the answer to the many issues pressuring trucking today? History says yes. Photo: Evan Lockridge

After World War II, the maritime shipping industry was dealing with pressure for larger loads, faster deliveries, new technology and rising equipment costs. How fleets responded to those challenges is instructive. READ MORE

Tags: Mergers & Acquisitions, Swift Transportation, Knight Transportation, History

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Tuesday, April 11, 2017 12:57 PM | » Comments(0)

'Made by Human Workers:' Will There be a Backlash Against Automation?

Blog Commentary by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor

Will "Proudly Made By Human Workers" become the "Made In America" tag of this century? Photo: Siemans

More and more people are starting to question how beneficial the large-scale automation of jobs will be for society as a whole. But all the robots in the world can't overcome the will of the people and the power of the almighty dollar. Jack Roberts has more in the Truck Tech Blog. READ MORE

Tags: Technology, Automation, Autonomous Vehicles, Future Trucks

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Tuesday, April 11, 2017 11:15 AM | » Comments(0)

Hyperloop: A Faster Future for Freight?

Commentary by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor

Elon Musk is betting that hyperloop pods will one day carry passengers and cargo at speeds up to 800 mph. Photo: Hyperloop One

Advocates say hyperloop travel tubes will one day shoot passenger and cargo pods between cities faster than the speed of sound. But even if they don't, it's likely the technology associated with them will bring changes to how freight is moved in the future, writes Jack Roberts in the Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Technology, Infrastructure, Elon Musk, Future Trucks

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Friday, April 7, 2017 1:31 PM | » Comments(0)

Hints of a Hyper-Competitive Future

Can Chinese-made SUVs like this one eventually find a following in the U.S.? Photo: Bisu Motors

In his Truck Tech blog, HDT's Jack Roberts asks, "Could Chinese cars on Irish roads spell trouble for U.S. automakers?" READ MORE

Tags: Technology, China, Passenger Cars, Global

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Tuesday, April 4, 2017 12:44 PM | » Comments(0)

An Automated Future, First, Bendix Says

Bendix says the driver will remain key in increasingly automated vehicle systems for a long time to come. Photo: Bendix

A future filled with fully autonomous cars and trucks remains a long way away, Bendix leaders said in a sit-down at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Jack Roberts has more in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Collision Avoidance Technology, Automation, Bendix, Autonomous Vehicles, MATS, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, Safety & Compliance

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Wednesday, March 22, 2017 1:42 PM | » Comments(0)

The Hottest Industry In The Land

Suddenly, lots of new names are very interested in the North American trucking industry. What, exactly, is going on?

New technology is transforming trucking and bringing new players with new ideas into the industry. Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Suddenly, lots of new names are very interested in the North American trucking industry. What, exactly, is going on? Jack Roberts offers his answer to that in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Logistics, Panama Canal, Last Mile Delivery, Autonomous Vehicles, Advanced Technology

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:40 AM | » Comments(2)

The Dark Side of Autonomous Tech Nobody Wants to Talk About

Autonomous trucks have helped spur an emerging conversation on just how far robots can go in taking human jobs and the consequences those lost jobs means for society as a whole. Photo credit: Otto

If a robot takes your job, new jobs will arise, experts say. In his Truck Tech blog, Jack Roberts wonders: What if that doesn't happen? How will families provide for themselves? How will economies power themselves if no one has any money to spend? And how will governments generate tax income to keep functioning? READ MORE

Tags: Autonomous Vehicles

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Friday, March 10, 2017 12:29 PM | » Comments(4)

Freightliner's Inside Man

Martin Daum Photo: Daimler Trucks North America

Daimler Trucks North America's CEO just got a big promotion. And that could turn up the heat on the already scorching truck technology race on this side of The Pond, speculates Jack Roberts in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Freightliner, Daimler Trucks North America, Daimler, Advanced Technology, Western Star, Autonomous Vehicles, Truck Platooning

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Tuesday, March 7, 2017 12:39 PM | » Comments(0)

The Electrics Are Coming

Mercedes-Benz is supplying select European customers with 20 pre-production electric eTrucks to run in real-world fleet conditions. Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Are electric trucks about to become a “thing?” In the Truck Tech blog, Jack Roberts explores the significance of real-world fleet tests in Europe and elsewhere as the first step toward electric-truck production and fleet operations in North America. READ MORE

Tags: Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Fuso, Daimler Trucks North America, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Phase 2 GHG Proposals, Nikola Motor Company

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:07 PM | » Comments(0)

The Future Looks Familiar for Volvo's SuperTruck

Volvo's SuperTruck owes more than a passing nod to current VNL styling with highly aggressive, full-length aerodynamics.

Volvo's SuperTruck features some amazing, cutting-edge technology. And yet 70% of its components are running the roads on VNL tractors today. Equipment Editor Jim Park and Senior Editor Jack Roberts were the first non-Volvo drivers to climb behind the wheel. Roberts shares the experience in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Volvo Trucks, SuperTruck

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Wednesday, February 15, 2017 2:34 PM | » Comments(3)

Five Years to Autonomous?

Autonomous vehicles will help move freight more efficiently. But how engaged will drivers have to be?

Traffic safety expert Dr. Jim Helund thinks autonomous vehicles will be on the road in five years. And their introduction will have far-reaching consequences for all of us. READ MORE

Tags: Legislation, GHSA, Law Enforcement, Autonomous Vehicles, Safety

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Friday, February 10, 2017 12:44 PM | » Comments(2)

The Future in Your Pocket

Photo: Telogis

In the Truck Tech blog, senior editor Jack Roberts explains that smartphones are poised to become the foundational building blocks that will take trucking into a new world of integrated operations and efficiency. READ MORE

Tags: Big Data, Mobile Apps, Mobile Devices, Information Technology, Frost & Sullivan

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Wednesday, February 1, 2017 2:51 PM | » Comments(4)

A Not-So-Gentle Reminder

It's never been easier to get distracted behind the wheel -- age and experience notwithstanding.

Public Domain Photo

It's never been easier to get distracted behind the wheel -- age and experience notwithstanding. Jack Roberts got an up close and personal reminder of that recently, as he shares in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Accidents, Driver Safety, Cell Phone Use, Driver Safety Tips, Distracted Driving

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Tuesday, January 10, 2017 1:39 PM | » Comments(0)

The Future Revealed

Autonomous truck technology like that in Freightliner's Inspiration Truck is part of a sweeping wave of technology. Photo courtesy of Freightliner

2016 was the year the crystal ball cleared and offered anyone brave enough to look a clear vision of the future of logistics. Jack Roberts shares his end-of-year thoughts in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Daimler Trucks North America, Truck Platooning, Electric Vehicles, Peloton Technology, Autonomous Vehicles, Otto

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Wednesday, December 28, 2016 12:45 PM | » Comments(0)

Technology, Trucks and Terror

Can technology stop terrorists from attacking with highjacked trucks?

Autonomous driving technology could stop terrorist truck attacks before they happen. Photo: Freightliner

Take technology far enough and you'll have smart trucks that simply cannot be used as weapons of terror like this week's attack in Berlin, writes Jack Roberts in his Truck Tech blog. READ MORE

Tags: Autonomous Vehicles, Terrorism

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Tuesday, December 20, 2016 6:31 AM | » Comments(0)

Rush Truck Centers Pushes the Telematic Frontier Forward

A Rush Call Center technician in San Antonio, TX, works a repair problem for a customer with a truck down in Indianapolis. Photo: Jack Roberts

Telematics will be the next big game-changer in trucking - one of those advances where, in 5 to 10 years, you'll wonder how you ever managed to keep a truck fleet rolling without it. READ MORE

Tags: Rush Truck Centers, Technicians, Decisiv

Author: Jack Roberts | Posted @ Tuesday, December 13, 2016 1:43 PM | » Comments(1)

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Author Bio

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Jack Roberts

Senior Editor

As a licensed commercial driver, HDT senior editor Jack Roberts often reports on ground-breaking technical developments and trends in an industry being transformed by technology. With more than two decades covering trucking, in Truck Tech he offers his insights on everything from the latest equipment, systems and components, to telematics and autonomous vehicle technologies.

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