We know, you’ve been hearing about it over and over again. But do you know what? There’s a good reason for it. Trucking cannot get away from technology. And as much as we would like to keep these static, tried-and-true, we can’t escape the digital grasp of technological innovation.
As we’ve reported on before, there are several technologies that are revolutionizing how business gets done in the trucking industry. Let’s take a closer look at how the marriage between trucking and technology is progressing.
Telematics are defined as services that enable other technologies. Intelligent transportation systems and automated safety controls all represent critical factors in this facet of emerging truck technology. The next vanguard of wireless technology lies in digital short range communication features, which use roadside receivers and transmitters to send data between vehicles.
Where telematics falls short is in the proliferation of copycat apps and the search for actionable data. As we look to the future with these technologies, expect OEMs to begin installing embedded hardware onto their vehicles. Seamless communication between said hardware and advanced software components will be crucial.
One question still dogging telematics adoption surrounds the use of multiple brands of trucks. As multiple brands of trucks go, so do different variations of necessary software components. Still, expect to see telematics acting as the middleman between such aspects of trucking technology as automated service scheduling and inspection management.
The trucking industry has been implementing advanced new safety measures for a long time now. And it wasn’t just the instigation of impending regulation that spurred such action. As advanced technologies become available, motor carriers have real incentive to ensure their fleets are operating to the highest standard of safety. After all, their business is at stake.
Currently, there are eight major safety technologies either being used now, or under development, in the trucking industry. They include:
- Antilock braking systems;
- Stability control systems;
- Lane departure warning systems;
- Collision avoidance systems;
- Blind spot warning devices;
- Interior cameras;
- Rear view cameras;
- Side mirror cameras;
- Various vehicle sensors.
The fact remains: The cost to your business if one of your truck drivers damages property (approx. $150,000), causes injury (approx. $250,000), or causes a fatality (approx. $1 million), is far more than the $750 spend on a lane departure warning system.
As we speak, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration is looking into drafting rules governing the installation of collision avoidance systems on commercial vehicles. They are even looking into how the use of cameras could eliminate the need for mirrors, which represent a not insignificant drag coefficient.
We are rapidly transitioning from an era of big, dirty engines to one of clean refinement. The big trends in the world of truck powertrains come in the way of downsped engines, alternative fuels, and fully electric vehicles. The primary driving force in all of this remains fuel savings.
Expect to see a lot more component and subsystem electrification starters. Ultra-capacitor varieties are also expected to make a big splash. Even natural gas powered vehicles represent a vanguard of the future. The United States sits on vast natural gas deposits; some estimate a 200-year supply.
As natural gas and hybrid vehicle development accelerates, expect to see continued innovation in the area of engine and powertrain design. From embedded software to aerodynamic improvements, the era of the marvelously efficient truck is upon us.
In some quarters truckers are even being treated to training via augmented reality. Imagine how streamlined costs could be if all of your operators could use one centralized tool for training. Gone would be the days of costly training programs and difficult tracking.
Welcome to the continually evolving marriage of trucking and technology.