Cocooning: In conversation with WABCO’s Jon Morrison

LOUISVILLE, KY -- We're approaching an era when trucks act more like trusted co-drivers than equipment alone. Optional Collision Warning Systems and Lane Departure Systems use things like radar and cameras to watch the road and sound the alarm if a driver fails to notice a hazard or drifts into danger. Collision Mitigation Systems - or adaptive cruise controls -- go a step further and actually begin to slow a vehicle before a driver reacts. And the technologies all come together in prototypes for "semi-autonomous" and "platooning" vehicles that promise at times to drive themselves. "The vision is about providing that 360-degree cocoon around the truck, to enable the truck and the driver to operate as safely as they can," says WABCO Americas president Jon Morrison.

Discs or Drums? Brake System Specs Can Go Either Way

There are few ways of comparing air disc brakes to drum brakes that discs don't come out on top. Still, fleet adoption rates in North America hover around 10 percent. That begs the question, are discs too good for their own good? Drum brakes get the job done, so is there any pressing need to look beyond our traditional and proven way of stopping trucks? The short answer to that question would be no-in most cases. The thing with brakes is you never really know how valuable they are until you really, really need them. And brakes never fail in any way that's less than spectacular. So, if no great need has ever arisen, you can't be blamed for dismissing the arguably more costly and heavier air disc brake systems as an expensive luxury.