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Trucking Tech – 9 Awesome Innovations That Are Going Mainstream

Technology companies are making significant investments in trucking tech. As a result there are several innovative trucking technologies that offer fleet owners a competitive advantage, saves money, improves service levels, and reduces accidents. This article highlights 9 awesome innovations that are driving mainstream trucking tech and what they can do for the trucking industry.

Autonomous Truck R&D, The Main Catalyst Behind Trucking Tech Advances Today

The Truck and the Terminator - Trucking Tech
The Truck And The Terminator

Businesses and investors are pouring billions of dollars into research and development of autonomous trucking technology. In my opinion, this is the main catalyst that is driving the future of trucking technology today. Specifically, autonomous truck R&D is advancing many technologies in the fields of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, computer vision, AI, data integration, communications technologies to name a few. 

This pursuit of advancing autonomous truck tech has many parallels to the 1960s where the focus was to put a man on the moon. Space exploration over the decades advanced many of the technologies that we enjoyed today. Definitely autonomous truck research and development is doing the same for the trucking industry today.

This is the world now. Logged on, plugged in, all the time.

John Connor

9 Awesome Trucking Tech Innovations.

Even if autonomous trucking does not happen overnight, the trucking industry can take advantage of several key technologies. Some of these are related to autonomous trucking tech. Below is a short description of the 9 trucking tech innovations that are re-shaping the trucking industry today and how it can help fleet owners.

1, Autonomous Truck Platooning Is A Huge Cost Saver For Long-Distance Team Driving.

This autonomous truck solution holds great promise and appears feasible in the short-term. To explain, this multiple-truck solution actually uses autonomous trucks where the lead truck is driven by a human and the trailing truck is autonomous. Definitely, this “follow the leader” strategy has many advantages to include better traffic management, road safety, cost reductions, and overall efficiency. 

As an example, Locomotion has a platooning solution for team drivers. Here each truck has a driver and is equipped for self-driving. While one driver drives the lead truck, the second driver rests off the clock in the follower truck. Periodically, the trucks swap places to allow each driver to take turns leading the convoy and resting. 

2. Electric Trucking Tech Especially Improves Operations for Short-Distance Delivery Fleets.

Between improvements in batteries and government incentives, large delivery fleet owners such as parcel carriers are buying more electric trucks. Without a doubt, delivery fleet owners will save money in the long-run and significantly cut CO2 emissions. Also as many countries are starting to charge companies a carbon tax, electric vehicles will save even more money.

However, there are some challenges such as fleet owners having to figure out how to keep the electric fleet charged. Also, battery life still needs to improve to support long distance trucking.. Click here for more details on electric delivery vans and trucks.

3. Forward-looking Camera Systems Now Better Quality, More Data Storage.

Truckers have used In-cab camera systems or “dash cams” for years. These systems are now getting better in terms of image technology and digital storage. As a result this technology is helping with minimizing insurance claims, lawsuits, and encourages safe driving (See details). As an example, a recent study showed that almost 85% of crashes between commercial drivers and cars were the fault of the car driver.

4. Collision Mitigation Trucking Tech Reduces Accidents.

Collision mitigation technology continues to improve. Specifically, it is getting better at monitoring what’s going on around a truck. Additionally, it monitors the truck’s speed and control in various conditions. Equally important, this technology takes more and more auto­nomous emergency action when necessary.

5. Electronic Logging Devices Data Can Be Invaluable to Help Manage Fleet Operations.

Though a government requirement, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) data can also be invaluable for managing trucking operations. For example, having historical information about a truck drivers’ hours of service (HOS) can be very valuable when combined with other data and fed into a fleet management system.

6. Preventative Maintenance Truck Tech Saves Money And Prevents Accidents.

Thanks to continuing advancements in Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, truck tech preventive maintenance continues to improve. More and more IoT sensors are connected to information systems. Thus, these truck sensors can transmit several metrics to include engine performance, tire status, and much more. Also, these systems do diagnostic troubleshooting and keep up with service checks. The result is significant reductions in mechanical failure, reduced repair time, and reduced diagnostic time.

7. Trailer and Freight Status Monitoring To Track Location, Environmental Status and Space Available.

Especially in the pharmaceutical and food industry, transportation carriers use environmental sensors to monitor cargo status. Now, these sensors can monitor cargo continuously. Additionally, they are also tied real-time to information systems. With current environmental information, carriers can prevent spoilage as well assure that products are kept at required temperatures and humidity. 

Internet Of Things Examples – Hidden Technology Automating Logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are all around us and they are significantly impacting both our personal and professional lives. Click here to explore the origins of IoT and its future. Additionally, this article provides 6 Internet of Things examples with a specific focus on the supply chain industry.

Also, As more and more IoT sensors are real-time, dispatchers can get real-time how much cargo space is available in a given trailer. Definitely, this provides ad hoc opportunities for dispatchers to have drivers pickup additional loads. Additionally, this technology can monitor for suspicious activity. Further, it can help with theft recovery by knowing the location of the trailer. Additionally as this technology matures, there are entire trailer and yard management systems that would use this information to optimize trailer utilization. Also, for more from SC Tech Insights, see Internet Of Things Examples – Hidden Technology Automating Logistics.

8. Dynamic Routing To Save Time, Save Fuel, and Increase Revenue.

It used to be a daily process where dispatchers aided by routing software would identify the loads and routes for each truck. Then if anything changed throughout the day, tough luck. Now with more advanced software, communications, and sensors, trucks can be routed dynamically.

Specifically, software can now account for a number of factors to include – current trailer capacity, traffic data, weather, warehouse lead time, and more. Additionally, the AI-driven software can provide drivers route options and predicted arrival times to name a few. Hence, this truck technology saves driver time, increases fuel efficiency, and also provides more revenue opportunities with increased loads transported.

9. Fleet Management Apps.

With cloud technology and readily available wireless data communications, fleet management systems are just not for the “big guys”. Any size fleet can take advantage of cloud software to help them manage their fleet. These information management systems are data-rich and have many capabilities to include:

a. Electronic Dashboards.

Business Intelligence (BI) dashboards help you manage and have visibility over mileage, hours, fuel, service costs, average cost per mile, safety to name a few.

b. Asset Visibility.

You are able to track real-time vehicle and equipment details.

c. Automated Preventive Maintenance Scheduling.

You are able to reduce downtime and automate maintenance scheduling.

d. Integrated Telematics Data From Trucks and Equipment.

No more having to pull telematics data into Excel spreadsheets or just not knowing about the status of your fleet. Specifically, you are able to store data from other apps and truck telematics data to get data visibility and optimize fleet performance. Also, this includes integration with Electronic Logging Devices (ELD).

e. Find Shipping Loads and Load Matching.

Fleet software as well as integrated software services continue to evolve. Specifically, with this capability you can either internally optimize loads or have the software dynamically identify loads. As of a result, this can reduce the need for freight brokers and load planners.

f. Evaluate Driver Performance.

This includes monitoring driver behavior and driver scorecards that is hooked into camera recognition technology

g. Demand Planning.

Using historical data, AI software can assist with demand planning. This can include analyzing products available for private fleets as well as optimize fleet utilization and routing.

For more information on innovations in trucking technologies, see nmcat’s Technologies That are Changing the Trucking Industry, FastCapital360’s 12 Top Trucking Technology You Need, ApprovedForwarders’ How Technology is Revolutionizing the Trucking Industry, TCITransportation’s The Latest Advances in Trucking Tech, UnitedWorldTransportation’s Most Innovative Trucking Tech That Has Us Excited, and FleetOwner’s Truck Technologies You Need and Why.

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