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The Trucking Industry: A Research Guide


In an effort to have a common understanding of the subject, this guide identifies the most commonly used definitions in reference to intelligent vehicle systems.

Accelerometers and gyroscopes. Constantly track the truck’s position and help improve the accuracy of the GPS.

Accessorial Charges.  Extra charges assessed by a carrier for a special service performed by the carrier for the shipper or consignee.

Bill of Lading.  A shipping document that serves as a contract of carriage, a receipt from the carrier to the shipper for the goods tendered and a presumption of title to the goods.

Bureau of Export Administration. A U.S. government agency responsible for developing the regulations governing exports from the United States.

Business Logistics.    The business discipline that typically encompasses the functional areas of transportation, purchasing, inventory management, warehousing and import/export operations.

Class Rate System.  A system of grouping freight with similar transportation characteristics that was developed to simplify the rating of freight. 

Detention/Demurrage.  An extra charge assessed by a carrier for an excessive amount of waiting time.

Flash LADAR.  A 3D imaging system comprised of a broad field illumination source and a Focal Plane Array detector such that the range image is completely acquired simultaneously in one illumination burst.

Free on Board (FOB). This references various terms of sales.  The FOB point indicates where the title to the goods passes and who has responsibility for the freight charges.

Freight Forwarder.  An intermediary that consolidates the freight of many shippers into a larger shipment that is then tendered to a carrier for shipment.

Freight-All-Kinds (FAK) Rate.  A mutual agreement between a shipper and a carrier allowing goods of different freight classes to be rated under one class rating.  This is a means of simplifying the rating process for a shipper of multiple products.

Global Positioning System (GPS).  This is a satellite-based system that works with ground based receivers to provide time, velocity and position information at the receiver at various levels of service quality.

Interlining. The practice of having more than one carrier complete a transportation movement.

Intelligent Vehicle Systems.  Typically consist of a variety of sensors, actuators, navigation and driving systems, communications systems, mission packages, and weapons systems controlled by an intelligent controller

LADAR.  This is an active optical sensing system that is used to obtain multiple distance measurements of a scene either in a scanning or scannerless mode.

Long-Haul Carrier.  A carrier serving destinations greater than 300 miles from its origin.

Neural Network.  Referred to also as an Artificial Neural Network is an information processing paradigm loosely modeled on the way biological systems, such as the brain, process information. 

Obstacle.  Any physical entity that opposes or deters passage or progress, or impedes mobility in any other way.

Pareto’s Law.  20% of your assignments account for 80% of your time.  Also known as the 80-20 rule. 

Perception.  This is the capability of an unmanned system in sensing and building an internal model of the environment within which it is operating, and assigning entities, events, and situations perceived in the environment to classes.

Platooning:  Platooning digitally connects two or more trucks through automatic braking and a dedicated radio frequency that allows the vehicles to “talk” to each other.[1]

Point Cloud.  A collection of 3D points, frequently in the hundreds of thousands, as obtained using a 3D imaging system. 

Point-to-Point Rate.  A flat price for a specified volume of freight between two named points.  These are usually determined by the mileage between the two points.

Range resolution.  The smallest distance separation between two distinct objects illuminated by a LADAR instrument.

Sensor.  A sensor is taken to mean a device that responds to a stimulus, such as heat, light, or pressure, detects and/or generates a signal measures, and/or records physical phenomena, and indicates objects and activities by means of energy or particles emitted, reflected, or modified by the objects and activities.

Short-Haul Carrier.  A carrier serving destinations less than 300 miles from its origin.

Technology Readiness Level (TRL).  This a measure used to assess the maturity of evolving technologies prior to incorporating that technology into a system or subsystem.

Turnpike:  a term used to designate a road upon which tolls were charged.