Brittany Ferries launches ‘no-deal’ ferry services despite Brexit extension
Brittany Ferries has launched the first of its 20-week ‘no-deal’ extra ferry services, which were agreed under a taxpayer-funded £46.6m (GBP) between the ferry company and British transport secretary Chris Grayling. The first of its of its services set sail on March 29, from Portsmouth to Le Havre. This is one of three agreements settled by the UK government, awarding a total of £102.9m to three suppliers to provide extra capacity to ease congestion at Dover in the event of a no-deal Brexit, of which two have already fallen through. The objective of the deals was to secure the supply of critical goods such as medicine, vaccines, organs for transplants, and chemicals for the energy industry.
Although the Brexit deadline has been extended until April 12, Brittany Ferries said it was too late to make cancellations. Thousands of passengers had to have their bookings amended in January to make way for the extra services. To minimize the costs for the taxpayer, the government has decided to sell the freight capacity it reserved for at least two weeks on the open market. Haulier Clive Mills, from Euro2Go, said that the contract won’t do anyone any favors, as “the hold-up will be clearing customs not getting on a boat.”
You can read more on this here.
Ford hopes to bring all-electric Transit van to Europe by 2020
As part of the automaker’s plans to electrify its global portfolio, Ford will be bringing an all-electric commercial Transit van to the European market by 2021. Ford announced its Transit EV plans on Tuesday, at its GoFurther event in Amsterdam, along with plans to roll out over a dozen more electrified models.
Ford is currently only focused on selling the van in Europe, likely due to its impressive sales record in the market; last year, it sold 380,000 commercial vehicles in 20 European markets, over 8% more sales than in 2017. Though the company didn’t divulge the details, Ford mentioned that the van is being “designed to meet the needs of businesses for a practical and versatile load-carrier with zero-emission driving capability for urban applications.” This suggests that the city-focused van may have a mid-200-mile range. In order news, Ford has launched a new initiative to target 100% uptime for commercial vehicle operators. The manufacturer hopes to meet this target through a usage-based maintenance program, powered by its new application called FordPass Pro. The app, which is being launched later this year, is specially designed to support smaller firms and drivers to maximize their productivity.
Click here for more information.
Daimler Trucks buys majority stake in Torc Robotics
Daimler Trucks’ most recent purchase has raised a lot attention in the media this week. The world’s largest truck manufacturer has purchased a majority stake in Virginia-based self-driving tech innovator Torc Robotics, as part of the company’s efforts to increase its presence in the autonomous commercial vehicles market.
Daimler Trucks currently offers level 2 automation in its trucks, which includes automatic braking, steering and acceleration using camera and radar systems. Torc Robotics has already developed level 4 automation technology, which Daimler trucks hopes to use to accelerate the development of its own self-driving truck capabilities. However, Head of Daimler’s global truck and bus business Martin Daum said that it may still be another two years or more till it can offer the technology in its trucks. The company claims to be working closely with government bodies and will continue to do so in order to “develop a consistent framework that puts safety first and foremost.”
Click here for a more detailed report.
Video of the week: Boston Dynamics Handle Robot
Read about the bot here.
Have a nice weekend.