When it comes to new truck technology what is becoming clear by the new trucks set to hit the market is that as far as the manufacturers are concerned, the more the truck can do, the better.
With the birth of the driverless truck it could soon be that drivers have the ability to change position and even freely move around the cab while the truck is in motion. It begs the question how you, the HGV/LGV truck drivers, feel about this change in times. While there are clearly benefits to automating many of the truck features and adding those extra truck technology systems that make it more fuel efficient and safer overall, where will we draw the line in our efforts towards automation?
Manufacturers of trucks and associated truck technology are driving full throttle towards the holy grail of the ultimate truck of the future with many of the big players set to launch their own safer, more efficient, super automated truck range now or in the very new future.
There is no doubt that long haul trucks often act as the drivers second home and when you spend the vast majority of the week driving, sleeping, eating and relaxing in the cab of a HGV it is imperative that visibility, comfort, safety, manoeuvrability, and efficiency are at the forefront of any upcoming truck design and development.
Trucks built for driver comfort
The new Ford F-Max 500 is without a doubt a truck that has been designed with the drivers’ comfort in mind. With a spacious 2.16 metre floor to ceiling cab height and half metre seat adjustment range, the cab is roomy enough to feel like a drivers’ home from home.
Ford have taken driver convenience and comfort to the next level by adding storage space that can be easily reached from the driving seat, additional overhead storage and a 90 degree foldable overhead bed that utilises the extra cab height and reduces wasted precious space. Additional features of the HGV include: Adaptive cruise control, predictive cruise control, eco-mode, advanced emergency brake systems, hill launch assist and lane departure warning.
Ford have taken the efficiency and eco impact of the truck seriously with the latest advances in truck technology systems, the fuel consumption of the Ford truck has been reduced by 6%, thanks to developments in its aerodynamics, powertrain calibration and technical features.
‘Connectruck’ technology provides range of additional benefits including remote monitoring of the vehicle using remote diagnostic and specialised topographic mapping to analyse the road conditions, this will enable the truck to travel at the optimum speed and reduce fuel consumption by a further 4%.
Trucks built for automation
The new Mercedes Benz Actros is set to be the first to offer self-driving options built into the truck technology systems. This truck really is the truck of the future with the ability to drive itself with minimal driver input and the first fully digitalised new aircraft like dashboard.
Efficiency, durability and safety has been carefully considered with the trucks curved cab increasing driver visibility while reducing fuel consumption and mirror cameras providing an all-round view of the vehicle reducing driver blind spots.
Trucks built for safety, efficiency and productivity
When it comes to attracting the very best drivers, businesses need to show that they have the very best vehicles on their fleet. With this in mind Volvo have focused on making their new trucks safer, more efficient and more attractive working tools for qualified drivers.
The upcoming Volvo FH, FH16, FM, FMX range has been designed with a new driver interface and enhanced safety systems including automatically disabling selected segments of the LED high beam when approaching oncoming traffic or another vehicle from behind. The range also features a gas engine that can run either biogas which cuts CO2 by up to 100 % or natural gas which reduces CO2 emissions by up to 20% when compared with Volvo’s equivalent diesel trucks.
Trucks built with an eco-friendly approach
HGV’s account for 4.2 % of total UK carbon emissions and so decarbonising the sector is essential to meeting the country’s 2050 net zero emissions goal.
Two methods of tackling the climate impact of HGV’s have recently launched in the UK. Electrification on one hand and carbon negative biogas made from manure on the other.
Tevva, under its Electrify initiative have deployed 50 electric medium duty HGV’s across the UK and Europe that are available for companies to rent and try out for three to six months. Following the trial period, the renting company will receive a detail telematics data report to demonstrate the vehicles overall efficiency including mileage completed, energy consumed, and grid energy used.
With advances like this in truck technology, the question is no longer whether electric trucks could replace diesel trucks commercially, it is more about when.
CNG Fuels have taken in the carbon negative biogas approach by announcing plans to become the UK’s first supplier of carbon neutral fuel for HGV’s in the form of manure by 2021.
Their approach is a relatively simple one, manure gives off methane and methane is a greenhouse gas 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. By fuelling HGV’s with manure, or more accurately biomethane, we are ultimately preventing the methane from entering the atmosphere reducing overall emissions and thereby classifying it as a carbon negative fuel.
With green HGV’s now available to businesses looking to decarbonise their fleets, the technical challenges associated with a net zero emissions goal will no longer take as many years to overcome as originally anticipated.
The key takeaway for drivers, having seen what new truck models and truck technology systems will be hitting the market, is that currently there is not much that you will need to get to grips with. The technology will become more intelligent and the changeover to intelligent, fuel efficient, green and automated vehicles will be relatively seamless so all you need to do is sit back and eagerly anticipate the new trucks your place of work replenish their fleet with.