Over the past decade, technology has continued to transform our daily lives. And for the commercial trucking industry, this has also proven to be true.
As technology advances, the operation of the trucking industry continues to adapt and change. So how exactly is technology transforming the commercial trucking industry? There are three key areas that are being dramatically influenced by past and future technological advances.
1: The Implementation of Self-Driving or Automated Trucks
Self-driving vehicles have been a hot topic across both commercial and consumer applications. As more and more research has been devoted to autonomous vehicles, the question for the trucking industry has been twofold:
- When will self-driving trucks begin to infiltrate the industry?
- And, how big of an effect will this have on commercial trucking.
With the growing availability of self-driving trucks, the question is no longer when, but rather, to what extent will autonomous vehicles change the industry. Thousands of test miles have been driven by self-driving trucks, without the input from a human driver.
While self-driving vehicles are becoming less of a distant science-fiction plot and more of a reality, what remains to be seen is how much these vehicles will actually be used without any human interaction. Many in the industry speculate that it will be more akin to a driving assist than a completely autonomous experience where a driver is still present, monitoring the truck as it navigates down the road. Similar to how Tesla’s consumer vehicles are operated.
While we are still in the early stages of self-driving vehicles, there is no doubt that the trucking industry is poised on the edge of a major shift in how the industry operates.
2: Emission Reduction via Electric Trucks
Along with self-driving vehicles, another major technological shift in the trucking industry is the use of electric trucks. With the rise in emission regulations, such as those passed recently in California, it is no mystery that an increasing number of trucking companies will be shifting to electric trucks.
Electric vehicles have come a long way in recent years compared to the first generation. In fact, today, electric vehicles are capable of driving hundreds of miles between charges. This major shift has taken what was once a pipe dream and made it an actual reality for the trucking industry which relies on long-distance travel.
However, for many trucking companies, it is cost-prohibitive to swap out entire fleets for new electric trucks. But as older diesel trucks are slowly retired, it makes sense that many businesses will be thinking about investing in electric trucks for at least part of their fleet.
The electric grid will also need to continue to grow and update in order to accommodate larger trucks that need charging. Charging stations that can do this will need to become more plentiful for truck drivers to be able to access them throughout their journey.
Short-distance hauling will likely be the first application for this, but as technology continues to march forward and regulations on emissions continue to tighten, it is feasible that the day will come when diesel trucks are antiquated technology.
3: Improved Fleet Management Via Telematics
Beyond just the potential for major changes in the actual makeup of trucking business’ fleets, there is a huge shift underway in how fleets are managed.
Gone are the days of relying on paper logs and driver reports to manage fleets. Instead, telematics has made it possible to track fleets in real-time, creating a major shift in how fleets are managed.
Telematic solutions will transform fleet management in a few key areas:
- GPS Tracking: Fleet managers are now capable of tracking vehicle locations in real-time. This can help with the optimization of routes, cutting down on fuel and time wasted. In addition, GPS tracking means that logistics can run smoother, as dispatch can now quickly locate what driver is nearest to a job need.
- Equipment Monitoring: In the past, equipment had to be manually inspected in order to create up-to-date reporting. Today, real-time sensors make it possible for managers to keep track of equipment conditions from anywhere.
- Cloud Management: Many of the telematics systems that are in place today upload all data and information into the cloud. This makes it possible for fleet management to take place 24/7 from across the globe, opening up entirely new opportunities for businesses.
- Machine Intelligence: Previously, maintenance and repairs were scheduled either based on owner manual recommendations or by the observations of drivers. Today, telematics is making it possible for fleet managers to use machine intelligence to predict maintenance and repair needs proactively. This will be highly beneficial in reducing costly downtime.
- Data Compliance: One of the greatest benefits of on-board telematics is that staying compliant with local and federal regulations is becoming easier than ever before. Information is stored securely and logging becomes an automated task.
For fleet managers, technology is creating a powerful lens through which every aspect of operations can be viewed. And, as technology only increases its reach, the possibilities for improved fleet management are seemingly endless.
For Whatever Technology the Future Holds, Visit Transwest
At Transwest, we are passionate about ensuring that our customers have access to the latest and best technology. We are constantly adding to our inventory of commercial trucks, ensuring that our clients can upgrade their fleet with premium truck options. From dump trucks to day cabs, we carry a quality lineup of commercial vehicles backed by the manufacturers you trust.
If you are ready to add to your commercial trucking fleet, feel free to visit our team and learn more about what the newest technology has to offer. In addition, be sure to ask about our financing options and in-house maintenance services. We look forward to being there for your team today, tomorrow, and for whatever the future holds.
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