The Commercial Vehicle Show - logo image

13 - 15 APRIL 2021 • NEC • BIRMINGHAM • UK

Tell us a bit about your business. When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?

Bridgestone is a multinational tyre and rubber company and the world’s largest manufacturer of tyres. It was established in 1931 in Japan by Shojiro Ishibashi.

Today, it is a multi-billion-pound business with 178 manufacturing plants in 25 countries and a presence in more than 150 markets worldwide. Its Europe, Russia, Middle East, India and Africa (EMIA) division operates in more than 40 countries, employs more than 22,000 people and owns 17 tyre plants. In the UK, its head offices are in Tachbrook Park, Warwick.

What does the business do?

Bridgestone is evolving to provide real solutions to the real problems its customers face, in a fast-changing world. This is why we are rapidly transforming from a premium tyre producer into a ‘mobility solutions’ business.

As part of this transformation our aim is to pioneer solutions that benefit end-users, customers and society. High-performance mobility can improve quality of life in cities with better public transportation, reduced congestion and traffic-related accidents, and increased accessibility.

By using resources more efficiently, we can help deliver a safer and smarter transport experience that also improves social and environmental outcomes across the globe. We are delivering on our mobility commitments by addressing accessible mobility, smart mobility and safe transport.

How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?

We have recently launched a number of very competitive commercial tyres in the UK market and this suggests the year ahead is one to be excited about, not least when coupled with the strides we are making in mobility solutions, such as our acquisition of TomTom Telematics (now known as Webfleet Solutions), and more recently, the Tyre Damage Monitoring System we have just developed with Microsoft.

Our new tyre products include the Duravis All Season, which is aimed at the light truck segment and is designed with both small and large fleet operations in mind; the Ecopia H002, which can deliver fuel and CO2 savings when used on steer and drive  trailer axles; and the Duravis R002 which was developed and tested in partnership with 17 fleets across 13 countries and a wide variety of operational settings.

Bridgestone has also placed great emphasis on developing its ‘future mobility’ solutions.  In doing so the company has invested heavily in its digital capabilities and pioneered a range of applications to support customers with data-based insights, convenience and maximum efficiency.

The 2019 acquisition of Webfleet Solutions (formerly known as TomTom Telematics) means we can support businesses with real-time information on vehicle locations, insight into driver behaviour, data on fuel usage and the like and the ability to communicate with their team in the field in real time.

What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?

We’re seeing demand for fleet solutions growing year-on-year. Fleet managers need a reliable, advanced support to minimise operating costs, reduce total cost of ownership and increase productivity.

Webfleet Solutions offers an innovative end-to-end system that seamlessly integrates the likes of transport management systems, on-board cameras, mileage data, route optimisation software and HGV-specific navigation to deliver real business benefits.

Meanwhile, our three-in-one FleetPulse solution, can reduce downtime, provide greater visibility of vehicle health and reduce potentially dangerous breakdowns.

The system uses data from Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP) cloud framework as well as from sensors already fitted to a vehicle and uses algorithms to detect irregularities in the tyre surface. Because the system understands when and where damage has occurred, it could be used to notify road maintenance agencies about potholes or other hazards that pose a risk to drivers – a function we believe will be especially useful for future autonomous vehicles.

Andrea Manenti

Vice President

Bridgestone North Europe region

 

Yesterday’s announcements to safeguard jobs and encourage consumer spending in some parts of the economy are welcome – but fall short of what our hard-hit automotive sector needs.

The coach sector is a key part of our travel, tourism and hospitality industry,  and one of the hardest hit at that, where business has virtually disappeared.  If we are to see the tourism industry pick back up, coaches need to be a central part of that restart plan, given how many venues and attractions depend on them for customers. Representations have been made to Government, and a high-level meeting is due in the next few days, which we hope will lead to some changes.

And finally, with sadness I must say goodbye to Neil McIntee, who passed away recently following a short illness. An ex-editor of What Van? and one of the top motoring journalists in the commercial vehicle sector, Neil was a great guy, and one of the fixtures and fittings of the industry. We will all miss him.

 

Tell us a bit about your business. When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?

Cenex was established in 2005 as the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell technologies. Today we employ almost 40 people spread across offices in the UK, Netherlands, and South Korea.

What does the business do?

Cenex lowers emissions through innovation in transport and energy infrastructure. We operate as an independent, not-for-profit research technology organisation and consultancy, specialising in the project delivery, innovation support and market development to accelerate the transition to net zero. Cenex is currently partnered in a broad range of R&D projects in areas including Electric Vehicle (EV) ‘Vehicle-to-Grid’ where EVs can be used to store and release electrical energy for building energy management or grid balancing services, as well as wireless charging of EVs and monitoring the performance of hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles across Europe.  Cenex is also working with a number of local authorities on strategies for EV charging infrastructure roll out, as well as planning for our upcoming Cenex-LCV and Cenex-CAM events.

How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?

The outlook for the year ahead was positive until the coronavirus pandemic hit and lockdown policies began to impact our sponsors and customers. The picture currently is mixed, however we have many projects that are not overly disrupted and a lot of requests coming in for our support.  We are seeing strong interest from the low carbon and connected automated mobility communities in our Cenex-LCV and Cenex-CAM events.  The move from September to November has been well received and there is a recognition that the events offer unique technology showcasing and networking opportunities that extend beyond what can be done via Teams or Zoom meetings, particularly when it comes to making new contacts.

The outlook medium- to long-term is much more optimistic. The areas we work in, such as e-mobility, hydrogen, connected mobility, are all fundamentally growing so there’s growth within these sectors driven by policy and demand for net zero, along with jobs and economic growth linked to the supply of products and services that support a ultra-low to zero carbon economy.

What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?

The consensus building around net zero targets fills us with a lot of positivity. It shows an awareness of the challenges and willingness to accept the necessary changes. The availability of zero tailpipe emission vehicles, whether battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell, are cause for optimism, as is the rapid transition to renewables. These twin trends mean road transport can be zero emission and powered by clean low carbon energy. We can also see the pathways to safer road transport with the emergence of connected and automated mobility. We see Cenex’ role as assisting organisations to plan for and implement strategies for decarbonising road transport.  As we work primarily with first movers and early adopters, we seek to advise both on what is possible today, whilst also taking our learning from research projects to advise customers on timescales for introduction of new technologies and where they can offer differential advantages.

Attention is currently focusing on the role hydrogen can play in deep decarbonisation of the UK energy system.  The recent Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommendations covered hydrogen use for power generation and for heat, as well as for transport, looking out to 2050.  Cenex welcomed the CCC recommendation for small-scale trial deployments of hydrogen Heavy Goods Vehicles in  the UK in the 2020s, as well as the CCC affirmation that current pilot trials of hydrogen cars and vans, such as those Cenex is supporting, are essential to demonstrate the practicalities of switching to hydrogen.

Robert Evans, CEO, Cenex

 

A British technology company that specialises in smart vehicle safety systems is launching a suite of new products designed to get Britain back to work and kickstart the economy.

London-based Exeros Technologies primarily produces intelligent camera systems for public transport, used by many of the nation’s biggest commercial fleet operators, including Ceva Logistics and RAC.

But when the pandemic struck the company was keen to explore whether its tech-based approach could help businesses fight back.

It’s now ready to go to market with a range of products – everything from highly accurate machine-based COVID-19 testing to social distancing alarms – and is in pole position to deliver the technology that both employers and employees need in order to return to work with confidence.

Jay Biring, Chief Technical Officer at Exeros Technologies, said, “We saw early on that this pandemic was going to be extremely damaging to the economy and so, being a tech company, we decided to do what we do best to tackle the problem.

“With a recession looming, it’s important to use technology to our benefit to bounce back as quickly as possible.

“And that’s been our core focus throughout. How do we use tech to find solutions that enable the country to bounce back as safely, effectively and as quickly as possible?”

On-site testing

The company’s first product to officially launch is a state-of-the-art Immuno Chromotography Test Machine, for which it, with its partners holds the UK and EU licence.

One of the first such machines to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MRHA), the machine scans pin-prick blood samples and is proven in clinical studies to be 99% accurate in detecting whether someone has contracted COVID-19. It can process a test every 10 seconds, with patients receiving their results within eight minutes.

The  desktop machine, which played a key role in Italy’s efforts to reduce the scale of its pandemic, means it can easily be installed in any workplace with tests being administered either by the employer’s own occupational health team or by professionals from Exeros’s partner company, AB Health Group.

Exeros and AB Health have worked together since the beginning having been introduced at a business networking event some years earlier. AB Health have provided the medical expertise to help Exeros develop its new technology. Initially, Exeros will market the machine at businesses with more than 500 employees. They will receive the testing machine for free when they order 5,000 or more test kits. Each test costs between £12-£15. Tests are usually repeated on a weekly basis, so positive cases can be identified quickly. Positive cases can then be isolated and data fed into the national track and trace network.

Social Distancing Alarm

Next, and set to launch imminently, will be the company’s wearable social distancing alarm system that sounds an audible warning and vibration alert when teammates get too close.

The system works by employees wearing discreet badges and watches that communicate using ultra-wide band radio. The devices are accurate down to 10cm and organisations are given access to their own, internal contact tracing app to decisively review social distancing across the workplace and manage procedures with ease.

The wearable smart watch device even incorporates an oximeter to measure the wearer’s blood oxygenation levels – low oxygen saturation can be an indicator of COVID-19. After reporting suspected cases back to the employer for action, this can then form the basis of an employer’s own localised track, test and trace system.

Beyond this, the Exeros team is also developing a series of thermal imaging cameras for worker temperature detection and are in the latter stages of developing an integrated back-to-work passport system. This will operate in conjunction with other technologies to give those who are safe to return to work their own QR access code similar to an airline boarding pass.

Biring added, “This kind of technology is going to be critical in getting the country back to work and the economy going again. The quicker businesses can start using this technology to develop the confidence both they and their staff need to return to work, the better.

“We know, for example, that the automotive industry needs to keep moving and getting businesses back to work is really important for jobs and for the economy as a whole.”

Click here to see the Exeros Technologies Social Distancing Alarm in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlEHKAlm3qE&feature=youtu.be

 

Swiss manufacturer Boschung has launched and fully autonomous urban street sweeper.

The company’s Urban-Sweeper S2.0 driven by WIBOT is level 5 autonomous, meaning it can safely be used to sweep public streets as well as closed areas.

It employs a combination of lidars, cameras, mm-waves radars and GPS antennas to generate a 360° vision of its surroundings. This is then run through an advanced recognition algorithm that allows the sweeper to track all objects in sight simultaneously.

The compact dimensions of the 2m3 vehicle and quiet operation make it ideal for urban operations while its power system means it is capable of operating autonomously for up to eight hours.

 

Tyre manufacturer Michelin says it received just 769 eligible claims from almost 120,000 entitled truck and bus tyres sold in the UK and Ireland last year through its free accidental damage guarantee.

Michelin published the 0.65% claim rate this week to coincide with the launch of a streamlined claim process which means customers could receive a credit note within days of making a claim. Previously all damaged tyres were returned to Michelin’s facility in Stoke-on-Trent for verification before claims were accepted, which could take up to 28 days.

Back in 2016, the company was the first tyre manufacturer to introduce such a guarantee, with the programme now covering most of its regional and on/off-road ranges.

The guarantee promises to refund vehicle operators for accidental damage suffered before a tyre is 50% worn, and covers tyres purchased as replacement products or as original equipment on new vehicles or trailers.

‘Accidental damage’ is defined by Michelin as an impact occurring to a registered tyre which makes it unusable. The policies exclude damage suffered through road accidents, acts of vandalism, fire and natural disasters.

 

A new demand-responsive minibus service, where customers can book in advance from the comfort of their home and get picked up at a ‘virtual stop’ nearby, has been launched in Watford.

The ArrivaClick service, launched by bus company Arriva, responds to demand from passengers and the routes they want to take.

The launch follows the introduction of similar demand-responsive services in other parts of the country which have enjoyed mixed results. Services run by other operators have been withdrawn after being found to be uneconomical.

ArrivaClick, however, successfully operates services in two other areas, Leicester and Liverpool, although the latter is currently suspended as the result of the coronavirus pandemic

Subsidised by Watford Borough Council, the service is designed to be an affordable mode of transport (priced between a bus and taxi fare at between £1 and £2.50 per mile depending on the time of day) and it can be booked and paid for via a free smartphone app.

Three minibuses are now in operation in the town, but at a reduced capacity of a maximum of four people at any one time to comply with social distancing rules. Each bus will have comfortable seating, tables, free Wi-Fi, USB chargers and air conditioning.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said, “It is important we offer new ways to travel around the town so we can cut congestion and make our air cleaner.”

 

SMMT has relationships with many key local authorities: due to its size and influence, Transport for London is of singular importance and we support them where we can. They have asked us as part of their programme to get London moving again, to get in touch with you. They want to hear the views of the road transport industry on the key logistics issues in London. They have prepared a short online survey on issues including the economic recovery, the Mayor’s Streetspace for London programme, changes to the LEZ, and the London Lorry Control Scheme. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete, and you can visit it here: Survey. Please complete it by close of play on Friday 10 July.

 

Tell us a bit about your business. When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?

Drive System Design (DSD) was founded in 2007 as an engineering consultancy specialising in vehicle drivelines. It is headquartered in Leamington Spa with facilities in Michigan, USA, and South Korea. DSD employs more than 100 engineers and specialists who serve markets globally.

The Leamington Spa headquarters has been the subject of an ambitious expansion programme, inspired by growing customer demand, and the US-based testing centre was opened last year.

What does the business do?

DSD is a vehicle driveline expert specialising in electrified drivelines. It has worked closely with vehicle manufacturers to advance driveline development and is transferring this expertise to the commercial vehicle industry, which is traditionally at a lower stage of adoption than passenger cars.

Whether it is a ground up design of a new driveline, or optimising efficiency of an existing product, we can do this and everything in between – including the design of drivelines and electrification systems, development of control systems, testing and manufacturing prototypes.

How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?

Of course, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the global automotive industry. We are fortunate in that we can continue technology development and take the time to carefully analyse global markets and their varied requirements, ensuring that our focus and ongoing work is precisely optimised for individual and regional needs.

Also, product development for the commercial vehicle sector is a long, highly complex process, which we have found has been more resistant to unrest caused by the global pandemic. In short, the challenges remain the same, the technologies continue to evolve and DSD remains at the forefront of optimising electrified solutions.

What are the big issues or technology advances that fill you with positivity?

Commercial vehicle electrification is hugely exciting. The challenges are comparably vast, but the appetite for adoption of emissions-reducing technology is helping the development of next-generation drivelines. Range and charge times allied to optimised payload is obviously a clear hurdle to overcome, but incremental driveline improvements can combine to provide substantial efficiency benefits,  making electrification and automation key technologies for our customers.

Automating gear shifts continues to provide a significant opportunity for the commercial vehicle industry through improving driveline efficiency, reducing the reliance on nuanced driver skill and extending component lifecycle through the elimination of aggressive use.

With the ultimate goal of reducing truck and bus transmission total life cost, alongside cutting emissions, DSD has developed automated shifting technologies that mirror the tough expectations of a fiercely competitive sector: typically 400,000 miles for medium duty and over a million miles for heavy duty applications.

Chief Engineer, DSD, Mike Savage 

 

This week we received welcome confirmation of government’s commitment to fast track funding for 4,000 more zero carbon buses. However, with the sector struggling to restart from the pandemic, we need a more comprehensive plan in the form of the long promised national bus strategy.

Buses deliver billions for the economy, connect communities and help with congestion. The entire industry, from operators to bus manufacturers and the supply chain, is ready and waiting to work with government and local authorities to ensure every region across the country has a reliable, clean and efficient bus network to return to as we emerge from lockdown.

Despite the great difficulties the industry continues to face there are some good news stories out there, with some coach operations safely restarting this week. And we also, after much effort, negotiation and discussion with DfT and the DVSA, finally have the MoT service back up and running for commercial vehicles – another step on the long road back to normality. Road passenger transport is a reliable and efficient sector, capable of innovation and growth, and key to a green recovery for the nation – but right now it urgently needs support to bring passengers back on board and deliver new orders for the UK’s production lines.

 

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 - The Commercial Vehicle Show LLP
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