Today’s Pickup: Marines testing automated component repair and replace program

Good day,

Someday real soon, vehicles will self-diagnose themselves, order the repair parts, and maybe even replace the part themselves. Vehicle maintenance is already partially of the way there, with robust diagnostic systems and predictive maintenance systems that can identify parts likely to fail. The U.S. Marines are going a step further.

The Marines are testing a system that would identify parts that need to be replaced on vehicles. The diagnostics program would then connect to a 3D printer that would print a replacement part that would automatically be sent to the base or location where that vehicle will be located. All within any human interaction.

“You look at Tesla, their vehicles literally get automatic upgrades; it’s almost like a vehicle computer that’s driving around,” Lt. Gen. Michael Dana, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for Installations and Logistics, said. “That predictive capability exists in the private sector. Hopefully we can incorporate it on the military side.”

The system is being tested on some 20 vehicles, including Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVRs) and Logistics Vehicle System Replacements (LVSRs).

Did you know?

Thanks to the most recent increase in e-commerce sales, more than 666,500 people now work in package and parcel delivery, up 4,500 in June alone.


“Within the first six months of testing, it became evident that the complaint calls from drivers stopped coming in. The results were an inarguable success. It didn’t take long for other haulers to notice the strange looking tarp wrapped around our tailgates and they started asking where we acquired it and where they could get one for themselves.”

Kevin Goldstein, creator of the Dumpster Diaper, which prevents debris from slipping through the cracks around a dump truck’s tailgate.

In other news:

More states upping fuel taxes

boosted diesel fuel taxes on July 1 as the waiting game for federal action on infrastructure spending continues. Indiana, Montana, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia all raised their taxes with California also doing so later this year. (Supply Chain Dive)

E-commerce boosting package delivery job numbers

The boom in e-commerce sales is driving growth in package delivery jobs, with the sector adding 4,500 jobs in June to a total that now reached 666,500, the highest since December 2016. (Wall Street Journal)

Meet the Dumpster Diaper

A landscaper tired of complaints from drivers whose cars were getting dinged by pebbles and other debris slipping through the crack in his dump truck’s tailgate, has created a solution: the Dumpster Diaper. (Total Landscape Care)

Infrastructure, freight plans remain stuck in neutral

Despite controlling all three branches of government, any plans for infrastructure and freight improvements are not progressing in Congress. (Transport Topics)

Tolls, higher fuel taxes coming to Oregon

Oregon has passed a $5.3 billion budget to improve its roads, and the bill includes higher fuel taxes and tolls for major interstates around Portland. (Herald and News)

Final Thoughts

The Marines are testing a system that would identify parts about to fail on vehicles, order a 3D-printed replacement part and ship that part to the vehicle’s location, all without any human interaction. It is not far from what maintenance providers in trucking have been search for with advanced vehicle diagnostics. If it works, it could dramatically streamline vehicle maintenance for generations to come.  

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.