Welcome to Part II in our series examining how trucking companies can use 5G cellular technologies and advanced digital logistics systems to enhance their operations. Real-time insights using advanced technologies are game changers and trucking companies already know this. In fact, according to some estimates, by next year over half of the global product-centric supply chain will utilize real-time transportation visibility platforms.
As 5G technologies become ever more commonplace, trucking and transportation companies will benefit from ultra-low latency. They already can connect fleet management dashboards between business segments, truck drivers, and shipping partners through systems like these. And many of them are interoperable with port networks and intermodal transport workflows.
When you have more accurate data on temperature, humidity, traffic, weather patterns, altitude, location, and more, you can provide accurate insights that improve performance and increase ROI. But even more, trucking companies struggle with data. Data and how to use it is a topic that has come up more than a few times in some of our past articles.
Using Data for Actionable Insights
Utilizing advanced cellular networks and technologies, fleets gain immediate visibility they need to optimize their overall operational performance. Armed with real-time data on trucks, roadways, and weather patterns, fleets to make quick and necessary changes. These changes assist truck drivers and ensure their deliveries stay on schedule.
Performance optimization starts with mitigating risk within a trucking company’s ecosystem. When paired with remote diagnostics, telematics, and 5G, machine learning will enhance predictive vehicle maintenance, reduce stress on maintenance teams and drivers, and optimize back-office operations. If you could use such technologies to achieve a significant decrease in CO2 emissions without adding to your fuel expenditures, wouldn’t you do so?
Fleet management technologies combined with powerful wireless tech will also unlock more options under the hood. Sensors placed in and around your trucks ensure your CMVs get the latest updates and operate efficiently at all times. A procedure called “software flashing” utilizes a lot of data but is also a quick and inexpensive way to ensure your deliveries happen on time. Truck drivers also appreciate these changes as it helps them better meet internal coaching and training goals.
How Electrified Fleets Benefit from 5G Technology
Consider this fact: The cost of electric vehicle batteries has declined by around 80% in the last eight years. That is an incredible rate of decline. Even better, further reductions are expected over the next ten to twenty years. As fleets achieve lower operational costs associated with fuel, maintenance, and uptime performance, costs go down.
Trucking companies realize that fleet electrification carries with it numerous benefits. With all the potential, integrated systems are critical to reaping the benefits associated with electric fleets. Fleet managers and technicians will take advantage of minimized and predictable charge times. Performance reliability is increased. And new electric supply processes between facility property owners, leasing companies, and other service providers are enhanced.
Fortunately, the trucking industry has already witnessed a massive uptake in electric vehicle adoption. Last-mile operators have already begun to utilize electric vans to conduct urban deliveries. Tesla and Nikola continue to get closer to the day when their electric long-haul semis become common on our nation’s roads. Investing in technologies that harness the full potential of electrified fleets changes trucking companies for the better.
Advanced Digital and Cellular Technologies in Autonomous Fleet Usage
We’ve been talking a lot about how autonomous trucks will further change the game for fleets and other trucking operators. Powered at scale by high-speed data capacity and redundancy, self-driving trucks will increase fleet productivity and system capacity. We have already reached Level 1 autonomy. Level 2 and 3 autonomy is right around the corner.
Once the day comes that autonomous trucks are a reality, imagine the operational capabilities. They could run nearly 24/7 without hours of service (HOS) restrictions. Not only would this prevent potential violations, but it could also increase a truck’s range by many factors. Imagine being able to run a truck from 500 miles to 1000 miles with no problem. This kind of efficiency drastically reduces costs for trucking fleets.
Autonomous fleets also address truck driver shortage problems. They also create opportunities for companies to attract, upskill, and retain great talent. But truck drivers currently in the cab need not worry. Instead, truck drivers will become remote operators. Much like drone fliers, truck drivers will monitor the systems operating the trucks. It will become a much more high-tech field as a result. And a perfect field for attracting younger generations used to working with advanced technological tools.
5G Data Analytics for Preventing Accidents
Trucking and logistics companies are already transforming their operations through digital enablement. Still, operating a big rig can be a dangerous business. Of all sectors, fatal work injuries occur the most in the trucking and warehousing sectors. They are among the highest represented sectors out of all industries. But technology can help decrease this safety gap.
Not only do accidents cost trucking companies a lot of money, but they harm families and change lives. They represent a cost at all levels, and those costs are high. The average cost of a crash involving a commercial motor vehicle runs, at minimum, around $17,000. If the crash results in any kind of injury, then you’re looking at nearly $100,000. Fatalities push that cost into half a million or more.
Now consider that nearly half of all trucking companies who use fleet-tracking systems combined with other advanced digital technologies cut their crash rate in half. And they do this through various methods, whether it be through truck driver monitoring, or driving intervention technologies, these systems save lives and reduce costs.
How Actionable Data Improves Road Safety
Transportation and logistics companies require advanced safety features for multiple reasons. It isn’t only about saving lives (though that is the most important reason). It’s also about increasing reaction speeds, avoiding potential hazards, and mitigating downtime. These are all well enough reasons to make the upfront investments necessary for the health and future of your operation.
Let’s look at reaction speeds as one example. What are the best ways to increase reaction speeds? By using systems that gather data and elevate recommendations and warnings directly to truck drivers. Trucking companies are already deploying technologies that encompass left-hand turn assist, forward-collision detection, blind spot warnings, intersection movement alerts, and much more.
Still, advanced cellular 5G and digital technologies are not the ultimate answer. Even with the best software in place, safety is ultimately in the hands of the truck driver behind the wheel. Nationally, auto insurance premiums have only increased over the past decade. Why? Well, this trend directly correlates with the increase in distractions while driving.
As truck drivers face more devices and distractions on the road, fleet managers must act. Industry leaders should deploy solutions to detect distracted driving behaviors, such as the duration and activity levels of smartphone use. The data is then shown to the truck driver, teaching them how to minimize bad driving habits that result in serious accidents. You obviously place a high amount of trust in your truck drivers. However, utilizing advanced technology to ensure they remain safe operators is never a bad idea.
Improving Workflows and Protecting Assets Using Advanced Tech
We’ve already spoken about how augmented reality technologies change the way technicians repair vehicles. Augmented reality devices utilizing 5G networks will create more efficient workflows and increase technician accuracy. For example, remote teams using hands-free AR glasses can leverage software to display visual instructions for maintenance and repairs in real-time.
Some transportation companies utilizing AR glasses have seen the benefits. These include increased productivity improvement, decreased mistakes, increased picking time, and faster training time. But these aren’t the only benefits 5G cellular technologies impart. Companies already use these technologies to improve their asset protection measures.
Many organizations already use smart cameras and drones to survey facilities, detect intruders, and uncover suspicious patterns. Once identified, the appropriate authorities within or outside the organization receive alerts and act. When smart devices and 5G technologies prevent accidents and protect assets, everyone benefits.
In conclusion, QuickTSI recommends your fleet invest in new technologies to improve efficiency and safety. By utilizing increased capacity and faster speeds to support everything from truck driver safety solutions to preventative maintenance, ROI increases. These technologies are poised to take transportation and logistics companies to the next level. Is your operation ready and willing to harness them?