Renault designs low-entry, high-vision cab for Veolia’s urban multi-stop work

Renault has developed a low-entry, high-vision Range D day cab that it said “challenges the conventional approach” to tackling driver direct vision.

Working with waste management firm Veolia, Renault has designed the Range D Low to improve road safety for cyclists and pedestrians and provide easy cab access for crew members making 100-plus collections a day.

It has been developed as part of a £5m, two-year investment by Veolia to support the objectives of Clocs and work towards London’s proposed Direct Vision Standard.

The low-entry cab has a ground step height of 375mm, some 75mm lower than traditional crew cab models in this sector, according to Renault. It is accessed via two steps that sit slightly inside the cab.

This lower height is achieved by fitting 315/60 tyres and air suspension front and rear, while an additional ‘kneel’ function drops the front of the vehicle a further 50mm.

The cab features a larger window area, nearside vision panel and lowered driver position to improve direct vision of vulnerable road users around the truck.

It is is available to order directly from the factory with no additional conversion needed.

Veolia UK and Ireland senior executive VP Estelle Brachlianoff said the Range D Low would help protect other road users and assist its crew members: “This will help us to operate more productively for our many customers, and extend the safety aspects of our operations.”

Renault Trucks product manager Mike Stringer said the new cab “challenges the conventional industry solution with a traditional day cab that delivers class-leading low entry access and egress”.

He added: “Despite its lower bumper, the vehicle’s shorter front overhang compared with alternative low-entry crew cabs on the market offers an improved approach angle for easier manoeuvrability on city streets, helps with ground clearance issues to reduce vehicle damage, and crucially, enhances the field of vision.”

Based on a Range D Wide (2.3m) cab, the low-entry model is available as a 4×2 18-tonne rigid or 26-tonne 6×2 rigid tag with fixed or steered rear axle.

It uses Renault’s DTI 8-litre engine, with a choice of power ratings (250hp, 280hp or 320hp) and can be specified with a manual, Allison (automatic) or 12-speed Optidriver automated gearbox and a variety of body options.

Terberg DTS UK debuts refrigerated safety truck for urban deliveries

Terberg’s refrigerated Urban Safety Vehicle made its debut at this week’s CV Show in Birmingham.

Working with sister firm Dennis Eagle and bodybuilder Gray & Adams, the refrigerated truck has been designed specifically for temperature-controlled deliveries in urban environments.

It is based on the Dennis Eagle Elite 6 4×2 rigid chassis with a Volvo D8K 280hp engine and Allison 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The low-entry, walk-through cab enables direct vision of vulnerable road users with full-length glass panels to the cab, as well as improved driver safety by allowing them to exit on the nearside.

Other driver aids include Mobileye Shield+ collision avoidance system, as well as lane change and distance control features.

A Vue CCTV system is also fitted to the truck, allowing the vehicle’s journey to be recorded back at a central command centre and highlighting areas of potential danger for cyclists and pedestrians.

Full side-length scene lighting is fitted to the vehicle to illuminate the vehicle during loading or unloading, while a new Dhollandia 500kg side loading lift is incorporated into the nearside of the body. This aims to reduce congestion and enhance both safety and speed for kerbside loading and unloading, whilst retaining a standard Dhollandia rear tail-lift for loading docks.

The Terberg truck also features the low-noise, low emission Carrier TRS Twin Cool undermount 2CPT refrigeration system as standard, fitted onto a Gray & Adams dual compartment reefer body with an internal movable bulkhead.

This has a curved roof and internal body length of 7,750mm and a 45m3 capacity.

Mercedes-Benz Econic urban tractor unit ready for operator trials

Mercedes-Benz Trucks said its new Econic urban tractor unit will be ready for real-life operator trials next month.

It features a deep, panoramic windscreen and full-height glazed passenger door, along with a low seating position that allows the driver to make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians.

The 4×2 Econic 1835L tractor, which Freight in the City first revealed last year, will operate at a maximum gross combination weight of 36 tonnes.

It has a 7.7-litre straight-six engine, which transmits its 260 kW (354 hp) output via a six-speed Allison automatic gearbox. However, the manufacturer plans to offer its Mercedes PowerShift transmission in Econic models powered by the same engine before the end of 2017.

The tractor unit also incorporates a number of refinements to the Econic cab aimed at drivers and crew, including a taller, wider-opening driver’s door and a re-profiled floor to make cross-cab access easier.

It will make its public debut at this weekend’s (30 April-1 May) Truckfest in Peterborough, before being demonstrated to potential customers at Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ Wentworth Park complex near Barnsley next week.

Following this, it will go on static display at the latest Mercedes-Benz RoadEfficiency Live event, which takes place at the Millbrook Proving Ground from 15-19 May. By then, the manufacturer anticipates “operators will be lining up to try the vehicle in ‘real life’ applications”.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks senior municipal sales & special applications manager  Philip Chance said: “Our experience over the last couple of years in London and elsewhere has proved that the safety benefits  the Econic offers in comparison to a conventional rigid truck chassis give it significant market appeal.

“It was a logical next step, therefore, to explore the potential for an Econic-based urban tractor. We have adapted the base unit built by the factory in Germany so that it is better-suited to a UK audience and are now keen to talk to operators, and to get their feedback on our new prototype.”

He added that the Econic was available with a wide range of camera and proximity alarms to enhance road safety, as well as including Active Brake Assist 3 technology as standard.

The truck is pictured here with a Transdek Duet Urban double-deck trailer, fitted with a Piek-compliant Thermo King SLXe Spectrum Whisper Pro transport refrigeration system for quiet operation.


Toyota to put hydrogen fuel cell HGV into action at Californian port

Toyota has begun a feasibility study into the usage of fuel cell technology in HGVs.

Dubbed Project Portal, a zero-emission concept truck will hit the roads this summer in California.

The manufacturer said the hydrogen-fuelled semi-trailer will haul cargo between the busy ports of Los Angeles and nearby Long Beach – “quietly, quickly and without producing any tailpipe emissions”.

HGVs create a significant percentage of the annual emissions output at the port, and the trial is one of a number of measures in its Clean Air Action Plan to reduce harmful pollutants.

The concept truck has the power and torque capacity to transport cargo between the two ports while emitting nothing but water vapour.

“Toyota believes hydrogen fuel cell technology has tremendous potential to become the powertrain of the future,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America. “With Project Portal, we are proud to help explore the societal benefits of a zero-emission heavy-duty truck platform.”

The truck generates more than 670hp and 1,796Nm of torque from two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery, which Toyota said is a relatively small battery to support heavy-duty operations.

Its gross combined weight capacity is more than 36.2 tonnes (80,000lb) and its estimated driving range is 320km (200 miles) per fill, under normal operation.

“By bringing this heavy-duty, zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell proof-of-concept truck to the port, Toyota has planted a flag that we hope many others will follow,” said Mary Nichols, chair at the California Air Resources Board.

She added: “We will be following the progress of this feasibility study with interest, as we look to develop the best mix of regulations and incentives to rapidly expand the market for the cleanest, most efficient big trucks to meet the need for dramatic change in the freight sector.”

Toyota said Project Portal is just one part of its commitment to fuel cell technology and the potential of a ‘hydrogen society’.

It follows the company’s work to expand California’s hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, including a recently announced partnership with Shell to increase the number of hydrogen refuelling stations in the state.

Government urged to take lead in enabling data sharing across transport sector

Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) has urged the government to help facilitate data sharing across the transport sector, or risk hampering innovation.

Fears around cyber security, lack of data skills and a traditional view of transport modes as separate, are restricting the free flow of information, according to a new report from TSC, the Open Data Institute (ODI) and Deloitte.

By overcoming these barriers, TSC said the UK could unlock £14bn of benefits by 2025.

It wants the government to help industry develop a data culture by providing a framework for secure access and guidelines for opening and sharing data. This would be led by a Mobility Data Hub to help the public and private sector work together.

The report shows investment in data could lead to faster journeys, lower emissions, improved regional connections and opportunities for job creation in an emerging technology sector – without the need for large infrastructure building projects.

TSC chief strategy officer Andrew Everett said: “Overcrowding on our rail network, congestion on our roads and the ongoing struggle with pollution and climate change can all be addressed by intelligent solutions, which make use of the opportunities afforded to us by new technologies.

“However, data is the key that unlocks the door to these innovations and, under the current status quo, data accessibility levels will remain inadequate for the UK to benefit fully.

ODI chairman and co-founder Nigel Shadbolt said: “Failure to act on open data will mean poorer quality services, reduced transport connectivity and a lost opportunity for the UK to use Intelligent Mobility as a driver for economic growth and social change.”

Speaking at month’s Freight in the City Spring Summit, TSC principal technologist Andrew Traill told delegates of the role enhanced data sharing could play in boosting innovation in the urban freight sector.

  • TSC is the UK’s technology and innovation centre for intelligent mobility, harnessing emerging technologies to improve the movement of people and goods around the world. It forms part of a network of not-for-profit technology and innovation centres established and overseen by Innovate UK.

Virtual loading bays aim to reduce PCNs and boost uptake of cleaner freight vehicles

A virtual loading bay that allows operators to pay for a timeslot to load/unload on restricted kerb space is to be trialled in London this summer.

The Kerb Virtual Parking System (VPS) is one of a series of projects aimed at improving the transport, energy and infrastructure of cities as part of Innovate UK’s £19m First of a Kind Deployment competition.

Grid Smarter Cities, which designed the website, said the system will allow drivers to park closely to their delivery point without causing congestion or running the risk of receiving a penalty charge notice (PCN).

Local authorities will decide the fee and which locations are to be used. These can be vehicle- and time-specific to  help nudge behaviour into off-peak periods and to prioritise low-emission vehicles, for example.

This can help local authorities manage poor air quality hotspots, incentivise the use of cleaner delivery vehicles, and improve traffic flow across the borough.

Cost benefits

Grid Smarter Cities added that Kerb VPS will slash costs associated with administering and receiving PCNs for both councils and operators, as well as reduce fuel through more optimised deliveries and better multi-drop planning capability.

Other benefits include bookable rapid chargers in reserved bays and access to previously difficult-to-reach locations.

“There is overwhelming support for such a solution with significant environmental and economic benefits for commercial vehicle operators and local authorities in the adoption of the solution in comparison with the existing regime of PCNs for illegal parking, which is currently ‘stick with no carrot’,” the Innovate UK project proposal stated.

Grid Smarter Cities will be running the trial towards the end of summer, which is anticipated to take place on the TLRN and in Wandsworth, focusing on high-density loading ‘hotspots’.

Deliveries to car boots

Another delivery idea being trialled under the Innovate scheme is the ‘Car as a Delivery Service’ concept for urban last-mile deliveries.

Car Tap uses a smartphone app to enable consumers to have online goods delivered straight to their car boot using secure keyless vehicle access technology.

This system aims to reduce wasted mileage of redeliveries, but also spread deliveries around the clock to lessen the demand on roads during peak times.

A trial will take place to allow 100 customers of Farmaround to receive deliveries of organic boxes.

ITM Power has also received funding from Innovate to convert electricity to hydrogen at a mass scale to make it more affordable as fuel, while Zapinamo will extend its trials of its rapid and mobile charging for electric vehicles.

Hermes tests self-driving robots for London parcel collections

Hermes is to begin a trial of self-driving delivery robots in London.

The project is an extension to an operation launched last August in Hamburg, Germany, where three robots are deployed to handle parcel deliveries in the suburbs of Ottensen, Volksdorf and Grindel.

Working with robot creator Starship Technologies, Hermes will offer residents and small businesses in the London Borough of Southwark 30-minute parcel collection time slots for items being returned to retailers, or those being sent through myHermes.

The parcel firm said it wants to use the UK trials to understand how the robots could fit into its range of on-demand collection and delivery options.

Hermes said the self-driving delivery robots offer an alternative to drones, especially in highly developed cities, towns and suburbs where strict aviation laws are in operation.

Each vehicle is 55cm by 70cm and incorporates a secured compartment where parcels with a maximum weight of 10kg can be transported, accessible to consumers through a link generated by a smartphone app.

They have six wheels, can travel up to 4mph and used within a two-mile radius from a control centre, where the vehicles are loaded and charged.

The aim is for the robots to be 99% autonomous in the future, connected to a human operator via the internet and GPS who would monitor several units at the same time.

Hermes CEO Carole Woodhead said: “Starship Technologies is a highly innovative and pioneering firm. We can already see first-hand the success they’ve had with food deliveries in London, and we are excited to team up with them in a bid to revolutionise the home delivery marketplace.”




Calor to supply BioLPG to European road freight sector

Calor is to bring BioLPG to the European market this summer.

This renewable fuel is chemically identical to regular liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and can be used by any operators’ vehicles without the need for modifications or additives.

Calor said it offers between 15%-32% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – depending on the proportion of waste materials in the BioLPG – without reducing performance (based on a 40% BioLPG and 60% conventional LPG blend).

The BioLPG is approved by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification scheme, and is created from renewable, ethically sourced feedstocks, such as organic plant materials, vegetable oil and animal fats.

Approximately 60% of the fuel is made up from waste and residues, with the remaining 40% from sustainably sourced vegetable oils.

Customers can choose bulk or cylinder supply.

BioLPG specialist at Calor Matthew Lightburn said: “The Renewable Energy Directive is driving a need for businesses to switch to sustainable energy sources to meet a target of 20% of overall consumption by 2020.

“BioLPG meets all the criteria set out in the Directive, leading the LPG market towards a greener and more sustainable future.

He added that the logistics sector was already familiar with the benefits of LPG, such as reduced CO2, NOx and PM.

“Now, with BioLPG, carbon emissions can be reduced even further,” said Lightburn. “We have chosen to offer the fuel to the warehouse, logistics and transport sectors first as we believe they are best placed to take full advantage of the carbon savings and will benefit most from the reduced environmental impact.”

BioLPG from Calor is produced by Neste at a custom-built factory in Rotterdam.

CV Show’s Innovation Hub to focus on road freight sector of the future

The Innovation Hub is set to bring some lively debate on the future of the road transport sector to this month’s CV Show in Birmingham.

These 45-minute workshops will take place every day at the event and focus on three key themes:

  • Fuels – the future thinking in diesel, electric, gas and hydrogen power sources. Is diesel yesterday’s fuel?
  • Autonomy – the big industry issue of the future. What benefits will the connected truck bring to the industry?
  • Logistics – reviewing the freight models of the future. What are the opportunities for data management and collaboration?

They will include expert speakers from Iveco, TRL and Transport Systems Catapult leading the discussion on innovation, followed by facilitated debate with speakers and attendees to explore the future developments and generate feedback from the audience.

The Innovation Hub will be housed in hall 3 and will be free to attend – there’s no need to pre-register, just turn up and take a seat.

Innovation Hub is organised by Motor Transport in conjunction with the CV Show and sponsored by Smart Witness, Guests, TRL and Transport Systems Catapult.

Also at the CV Show this year will be Twitter walls to broadcast visitors’ and exhibitors’ tweets live, if the handles @theCVShow and #CVShow are used.

CV Show director Rob Skelton said: “The new Innovation Hub will be the perfect platform to bring together key figures in the road transport and logistics industries to discuss current issues in an open forum environment, while our Twitter walls are a great way for exhibitors and visitors to share their experiences in an immediate and visible manner and increase their social media presence.”

The CV Show will take place at Birmingham NEC from 25-27 April.

Last-mile autonomous shuttle goes on trial in urban environment

The UK has taken its latest step in developing autonomous last-mile mobility, with the launch  (5 April) of a driverless shuttle trial in an urban environment.

Gateway Project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) researchers want to learn how the prototype pod reacts alongside people in a natural environment.

The shuttle will navigate a two-kilometre route around the Greenwich Peninsula, using sensors and autonomy software to detect and avoid obstacles whilst carrying members of the public participating in the study.

It will also explore people’s preconceptions of driverless vehicles and barriers to acceptance through detailed interviews with participants before and after they ride in the shuttle.

Following this passenger-focused trial, the project will explore the potential for driverless pods to carry last-mile urban deliveries.

The Gateway Project is a research programme led by Transport Research Labortatory (TRL) and funded by government and industry. It aims to demonstrate the use of automated vehicles for last-mile mobility, seamlessly connecting existing transport hubs with residential and commercial areas using a zero-emission, low-noise transport system.

Research findings from the project will guide the wider roll out of automated vehicle technology in all forms of surface transport, including cars, lorries and buses.

The prototype shuttle, dubbed ‘Harry’, uses an autonomy software system called Selenium, which enables real-time, robust navigation, planning and perception in dynamic environments.

Whilst the vehicle is designed to operate without a human driver, a safety steward will remain onboard at all times, complying with the UK’s code of practice on automated vehicle testing.

TRL academy director Nick Reed said: “This research is another milestone in the UK’s journey towards driverless vehicles and a vital step towards delivering safer, cleaner and more effective transport in our cities.”