- Photo: Jim Park

Photo: Jim Park


Season three of the HDT Talks Trucking podcast is now available, featuring topics such as the technologies we’ll likely need to meet future fuel economy and greenhouse gas reduction regulations, ways of improving driver retention, trucking’s most wanted safety improvements and conversations with HDT’s 2020 Truck Fleet Innovators.

HDT’s Equipment Editor Jim Park interviews guests to give listeners expert analysis of industry trends and the stories behind the news.

Each season features six 20- to 30-minute episodes, and we release new seasons once each quarter.

Season three starts off with a provocative conversation with Starsky Robotics founder and autonomous truck pioneer, Stefan Seltz-Axmacher.  

Starsky Robotcs started in 2015 but closed its doors five years later when the downpour of investor interest became a drizzle. Seltz-Axmacher says investors were not prepared to fund the “last mile” of the project – honing and perfecting the artificial intelligence so that it performed flawlessly 100% of the time, a goal he says could be years away. Will other AI-driven autonomous truck ventures run into similar problems perfecting their technology?

Sometime later this year the first of the GHG 2021 trucks will hit dealer lots. To meet the first round of GHG reduction targets, these trucks will be fitted mostly with existing fuel saving technology: aero devices, low-rolling resistance tires, etc. To meet the 2024 and 2027 targets, truck makers may need to get a bit more aggressive in their use of advanced technologies. HDT’s Jim Park and Mike Roeth of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency discuss how truck and engine makers will achieve those goals. As well, Robb Janak of Jacobs Engine Brakes and Joel Morrow, moderator of the 9+ MPG Facebook page, share their thoughts on two likely solutions: engine cylinder deactivation and advanced engine downspeeding.

What do maintenance data, safety technology, and more efficient pup trailers have in common? They’re all tactics taken by HDT’s 2020 Truck Fleet Innovators. Heavy Duty Trucking has presented its Innovator awards annually since 2006. They recognize fleet executives for their leadership role in fostering innovation in their companies and the industry. The hunt for the winners of this year’s award, sponsored by ConMet, led us to Doug Lloyd, director of maintenance, Averitt Express of Cookeville, Tennessee; Chris Woody, safety manager, M&W Logistics of Nashville, Tennessee; and Mike Palmer, vice president of fleet services, Estes Express Lines in Richmond, Virginia. Meet these three recipients of HDT’s 2020 Truck Fleet Innovator awards in this episode. The other three are featured in episode 4.

Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes, from listening to your employees for the little tweaks that make their workdays more productive, to being a test fleet for new logistics systems and autonomous platoons, to leading a digital transformation at one of the country’s biggest truckload carriers. Heavy Duty Trucking’s Truck Fleet Innovator awards, presented annually since 2006 and sponsored this year by ConMet, recognize fleet executives for their leadership role in fostering innovation in their companies and the industry. This episode features a conversation with Darrel Wilson, CEO of Wilson Logistics of Springfield, Missouri. Deborah Lockridge conducted the original Innovator interviews and joins Jim Park to discuss Danny Lilley, vice president of fleet systems and technology at Werner Enterprises of Omaha, Nebraska and Roy Markham, vice president of operations and transportation at Ben E. Keith Foods of Fort Worth, Texas. The other three Innovators are featured in episode 3.

What are the most important truck safety improvements in the eyes of the folks who investigate transportation accidents? The National Transportation Safety Board’s 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements offers 268 recommendations for improving transportation safety. The list includes identifying and treating truck drivers who may be at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea, and requiring forward collision warning and/or avoidance systems on all highway vehicles – including heavy trucks. NTSB board members Thomas Chapman and Michael Graham tell HDT Talks Trucking why the agency wants see these changes implemented, and how the number of crash fatalities could be reduced substantially if the recommendations were followed by various regulatory agencies.

A fleet can recruit all the drivers it wants, but if it can’t keep them, there’s a hole that needs to be plugged. Jim Park’s guests on this episode, Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge; Brad Fulton, director of research and analytics and Allyson Smith, client solutions analyst, both of Stay Metrics, understand why drivers leave and they have good ideas on how to stem the exodus. What are the top three things carriers with low turnover rate do to keep drivers happy? Are you communicating your expectations clearly to your recruits? Are there misalignments in messaging coming from different departments within your fleet? Jane, Allyson and Brad can help you answer those questions.

HDT Talks Trucking is available on most podcast platforms, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, and others, or listen to them here.





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