Industry Update: Ford Motor Company is Recalling Over 2 Million F-150 Pick-Up Trucks

Ford F150 Recall

Ford Motor Company is recalling over 2 million F-150 pick-up trucks manufactured between 2015 and 2018 due to potential post-crash fires. According to documents provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ford has determined that a defect exists that may allow combustible materials located near the front seatbelt pretensioners to ignite during a crash.
Located at the base of the left and right B pillars, the F-150 seatbelt pretensioners contain pyrotechnic devices that deploy during the earliest stages of certain frontal collisions and rollover events. Their purpose is to remove slack within the seatbelt, drawing it tight against an occupant’s body to help minimize forward movement as the crash develops. This deployment, according to Ford’s investigation, may generate sparks that can ignite nearby combustible materials such as insulation and wiring harness tape. Continue reading “Industry Update: Ford Motor Company is Recalling Over 2 Million F-150 Pick-Up Trucks”

Industry Update: Latest Recommendation for Children in Child Seats

Child Seat Expert Witness

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published an updated policy statement regarding the transportation of children in vehicles. AAP now recommends children remain in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest rear-facing weight or height allowed by their child seat. Prior to this latest change, AAP recommended children should remain rear-facing until age 2. This change has resulted in confusion for parents that can be seen in social media comments and responses. These comments question if rear-facing is safer, the ability to fit a child seat for a larger child in cars, where the larger children will put their legs and when it is OK to turn a child forward facing. AAP’s recommendations are aimed at increasing the safety of children being transported and are supported by the science of occupant protection. Simply stated, we would all be safer if we could ride rear-facing, be in on a plane, train or automobile. Continue reading “Industry Update: Latest Recommendation for Children in Child Seats”

Industry Update: Uber Shuts Down Self-Driving Truck Program

Truckers everywhere can rejoice. Uber’s self-driving trucks have been put out of service.
According to Eric Meyhofer, Head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, “We’ve decided to stop development on our self-driving truck program and move forward exclusively with cars. We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh, and as we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team’s energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward.”
Uber has decided to redeploy the engineering teams involved in the self-driving truck project to work inside of Uber’s autonomous passenger car business. This shouldn’t be a shock. Uber is the dominant leader in the on-demand passenger market and not a huge player in the trucking freight market.
With Uber planning one of the largest tech IPOs since Facebook, they must have a compelling story to tell investors about how they plan to maintain their position in the passenger vehicle segment and not be lapped by other players with more compelling technology.
Read the full article here – https://www.freightwaves.com/news/uber-shuts-trucking

Industry Update: New Regulations for Records of Duty Status

New Regulations for Records of Duty Status

Leslie E. Lovre, Technical Assistant ::::
Commercial vehicle operators have long been required to maintain personal Records of Duty Status (RODs); however, RODS had been criticized for being burdensome, inaccurate, and subject to falsification. In response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) proposed a rule requiring that most commercial vehicle operators and carriers use Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) to record a driver’s hours of service. After years of industry debate, pushback, and technological refinement, the ELD rule became effective on December 18, 2017. Here are some of the highlights of the new rule, as provided by the FMSCA: Continue reading “Industry Update: New Regulations for Records of Duty Status”

Back to the Future or Back to the Drawing Board?

R. Scott King, BSME, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer ::::
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced the recall of certain iRover-brand Hoverboards. According to the recall notice, these self-balancing scooters have been recalled to remedy defective lithium ion battery packs that the company reports can overheat, potentially resulting in smoke, fire, and explosion.
On its website, www.iroverus.com, the manufacturer indicates the recalled hoverboards were manufactured between December 2015 and April 2017 and can be identified by Model Numbers 87644 and 86745. Even though they may appear to operate normally, iRover indicates these hoverboards are not safe and must not be used. The units are irreparable and must be replaced.
Wherever Marty McFly is, we hope he gets the news!
R. Scott King, BSME is an Automotive / Mechanical Engineer at DJS Associates and welcomes the opportunity to discuss this further with you. Scott can be reached via phone at 215-659-2010 or email at experts@forensicDJS.com.

Industry Update: Electronic Logging Devices in Commercial Trucks

commerical-truck

R. Scott King, BSME, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer ::::
In March 2017, we provided an industry update on a December 2016 ruling mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) in commercial trucks (http://www.truckinginfo.com/). Set to become effective on December 16, 2017, this ruling establishes data recording criteria which, in general, require truck owners to install new equipment capable of detecting and recording changes in driving status and provide law enforcement a means of easy data access. Since becoming law, the trucking industry has been preparing for the looming December deadline, with many trucking companies already compliant. However, on July 17, 2017, the House Transportation Committee attached additional requirements to the 2016 ELD mandate that could delay, or even repeal it.
The rationale for this latest development includes lingering trucking industry concerns over the potential for individual states to implement mandated rest and meal times as well as enforcement, cyber-security, and connectivity concerns. The committee also expressed its own concerns over what the financial burden compliance may place on smaller trucking companies. Our research shows that of the estimated 1.2 million registered trucking companies in the US operating an estimated 15 million trucks (approximately 90% own six or fewer trucks – all of which would be required to purchase), install and maintain these new devices. With a fleet-wide projected implementation cost of nearly 2 billion dollars, the cost of compliance to smaller trucking companies, and in particular, individual owner-operators will be significant.
Continue reading “Industry Update: Electronic Logging Devices in Commercial Trucks”

Industry Update: A Guide to Challenges Facing Self-Driving Car Technologists

self-driving-car

In the minds of many in Silicon Valley and in the auto industry, it is inevitable that cars will eventually drive themselves. It is simply a matter of how long it will take for the technology to be reliably safe.
But as indicated by Google’s challenges with the so-called handoff between machines and humans — not to mention Uber’s problems during recent tests on the streets of San Francisco – there is a lot more work to be done before self-driving cars are ready for the mainstream. Here are some of the challenges facing technologists.
Read the full article here – www.nytimes.com

Industry Update: New Modified Toy Car Designs Offer Children With Disabilities More Options

Researchers at Oregon State University have developed two new modified toy car designs for children with disabilities in an effort to encourage them to further explore, play, and engage in physical and social activities.
The new cars were developed under the umbrella of the “Go Baby Go” program at OSU, which provides modified, ride-on toy cars to young children with disabilities so they can move around independently. Independent movement has been linked to a wide range of developmental benefits in young children.
The sit-to-stand car is a modified version of the original Go Baby Go car, but encourages the child to stand up in order to activate the switch that makes the car move. The goal is to encourage the physical skills of pulling up to stand, bear weight and balance, while also fostering more interaction with peers. Continue reading “Industry Update: New Modified Toy Car Designs Offer Children With Disabilities More Options”

Industry Update: To Make Us All Safer, Robocars Will Sometimes Have to Kill

self-driving-car

Let’s say you’re driving down Main Street and your brakes give out. As the terror hits, a gaggle of children spills out into the road. Do you A) swerve into Keith’s Frozen Yogurt Emporium, killing yourself, covering your car in toppings, and sparing the kids or B) assume they’re the Children of the Corn and just power through, killing them and saving your own life? Any decent human would choose the former, of course, because even murderous kiddie farmers have rights.
But would a self-driving car make the right choice? Maybe yes. But even if it does, by programming a machine to save children, you’re also programming it to kill the driver. This is known as the trolley problem (it’s older than self-driving cars, you see), and it illustrates a strange truth: Not only will robocars fail to completely eliminate traffic deaths, but on very, very rare occasions, they’ll be choosing who to sacrifice—all to make the roads of tomorrow a far safer place.
Read the full article here – https://www.wired.com/2017/03/make-us-safer-robocars-will-sometimes-kill