XStream Trucking is no longer content being known just as the maker of the TruckWings tractor-trailer gap-closing technology. It is now TruckLabs, reflecting a broader approach to help fleets be more efficient and profitable.
“We are here to change how the industry innovates, by combining our passion for the trucking industry with our expertise in hardware, software and big data,” TruckLabs CEO Daniel Burrows said in a press release.
The name change appears free of controversy unlike startup electric chassis maker Xos Trucks. It was forced to relinquish the name Thor Trucks in a 2019 trademark dispute with recreational vehicle maker Thor Industries.
“I think they decided before the (XStream) name gained more equity they would make the change,” Mike Roeth, executive director of the North American Council For Freight Efficiency (NACFE), told FreightWaves.
Tackling a tough problem
In the six years since its founding, XStream’s name has been tightly connected to TruckWings. The systems have logged more than 100 million miles. Sales have tripled in 2020, the company said.
Tractor-mounted TruckWings work by automatically deploying panels from the back of the cab to cover the tractor-trailer gap at highway speeds. The folding panels auto-retract at slower speeds, allowing for trailer clearance during turns. They are made of impact-resistant, glass-reinforced composites attached to the rear sides and roof of the cab.
A stand-alone telematics system in the cab allows drivers and fleet managers to track how often TruckWings are deployed, how much fuel is saved and the dollar value of the savings.
Long-haul trucks narrow the gap between tractor and cab with side extenders, or skirts. They help air jump the tractor-trailer gap. But they do not fully close the gap, are prone to damage and cannot respond to real-world variations in weather, crosswinds, truck speeds and gap sizes.
TruckWings benefits regional haulers with an aero benefit and fuel savings of up to 6%.
“They have proven to be a good fuel saver and very durable,” Roeth said. “We had pretty much given up on fixing the gap between the truck and trailer. They are making it work.”
TruckLabs estimates that TruckWings and its telematics have saved 1.1 million gallons, or $2.6 million, of diesel fuel. That equates to 17.1 million fewer pounds of carbon released into the atmosphere or the carbon offset of planting 42,750 trees.
Driver shortages, digital disruption and the ever-increasing demand for on-time deliveries provide several opportunities for TruckLabs. Its hardware engineers, software developers and data scientists are creating products like TripDynamics, a measurement and feedback system that sets driving goals based on load, route, traffic and weather.
“The truck and its driver are at the heart of our business and are central to how we solve problems, innovate and create products,” Burrows said.