As a truck driver, you’re familiar with the kinds of struggles you have to face while on the road. It’s easy to get worn out on long routes, there are a number of safety concerns, and there can be lots of costs associated with travel.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at some emerging trucking technologies and how they can benefit you. In addition, we’ll address some of the common challenges associated with it.
Keep reading if you’re curious to see how this new technology could impact you.
Using Technology In Modern Trucking
The modern trucking industry is a crucial component of the global supply chain. However, the industry faces several challenges, such as fluctuating fuel costs, stringent emission regulations, driver shortages, and safety concerns.
New truck technology has emerged as a solution to these problems. They can increase efficiency, reduce fuel costs, ensure timely delivery, enhance safety, and more.
Let’s take a look at some of the latest trucking technologies and how they can fit into the modern trucking industry.
The Latest Trucking Technologies
The following technologies are the latest to emerge in truck driving. We’ll take a look at how they address some of the challenges the industry faces and how they benefit you as a driver.
Autonomous trucks, also known as self-driving trucks, allow technology to navigate and operate without human help. The systems in self-driving trucks are equipped with sensors to detect their environment, allow them to make decisions, and safely navigate the roads.
They have varying levels of autonomy from level 0, which is no automation, to level 5, which is full automation. Current autonomous trucks are at level 2, partial automation, and level 3, conditional automation.
Autonomous trucks offer a number of benefits to the trucking industry. They can enhance efficiency, solve driving shortage problems, contribute to fuel efficiency, limit driver fatigue, lead to increased productivity, and more.
Several companies, including Tesla, are investing in the development of autonomous trucks, suggesting they have a future in the industry.
Clean Energy Vehicles
In addition to autonomous trucks, there has also been a shift towards clean energy vehicles. These trucks get their power from alternative sources such as electricity, hydrogen fuel cells, or biofuels.
With this technology, you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. These vehicles produce lower emissions compared to diesel fuel. In addition, they have greater fuel efficiency, allowing you to reduce costs associated with fuel.
A clean energy vehicle typically operates more quietly than standard trucks, which can reduce noise pollution in populated areas. Also, they can reduce maintenance costs with fewer parts and no need for oil changes.
Tesla has developed the Semi, which is a fully electric truck that also has many notable safety features.
Fleet Management Systems
This software offers real-time tracking, reporting, and management of fleets. It’s an excellent tool for fleet managers as it’s a hub of all fleet information, allowing them to efficiently manage their fleets. There are several components to this technology.
One of its components is vehicle tracking. This allows trucking companies to monitor the progress of their fleets in real-time, so they can improve routing decisions and increase fuel efficiency.
This technology also helps with maintenance issues. It has a predictive maintenance tool that tracks vehicle health and schedules regular maintenance checks. With this, breakdowns can be prevented, and vehicle longevity is maintained.
Another component that can help fleet managers is driver performance monitoring. It can track variables such as speed, idling time, harsh braking, and more. This encourages driver safety as it leads to fewer accidents.
Also, this system includes blind spot monitoring, which helps with driver safety as it can alert them when a driver has entered their blind spot.
Fleet management systems also ensure regulatory compliance. It automates tasks such as tracking Hours of Service (HOS) and electronic logs.
In addition, it can be used as a tool for cargo and delivery management. It can monitor whether or not freight reaches its destination on time and in good condition.
With comprehensive reporting and analytics, this technology provides insights into the performance of fleets and will demonstrate areas with room for improvement.
Freight Management Systems
Tying into fleet management, freight management systems also optimize route planning. In addition, they offer load balancing, ensuring that capacity utilization is maximized and the number of empty runs minimized.
It can also schedule ideal times for transportation and delivery to avoid traffic and poor weather conditions. These systems contribute to safety by preventing heavy-duty trucks from tipping due to oversized loads.
GPS and Route Optimization Tools
GPS and route optimization tools track vehicles in real-time, allowing managers to monitor their fleets’ current location and progress. They allow for better routing decisions by examining factors like traffic, tolls, and distance.
These programs offer dynamic routing. Predictive analytics use data from past trips to outline more efficient routes for future trips. In addition, dynamic routing can quickly formulate alternate routes if your original route isn’t available.
That’s not all that dynamic routing can offer. It provides real-time traffic updates as well, allowing drivers to avoid congested routes and maintain schedules. With estimated arrival times, drivers and customers are provided with accurate delivery times.
To help drivers stay safe, it can dispatch their exact location in the case of an emergency or breakdown.
The Benefits of New Truck Technology
Now that you have a better understanding of the latest trucking technologies and what they have to offer, let’s look at how they can benefit you:
Enhance Your Safety Measures
Incorporating any of these technologies into the trucking industry allows driver safety to be improved. This technology offers alerts for unsafe driver behavior, blind spot monitoring, stability control, driver fatigue monitoring, collision prevention, predictive maintenance, and more.
The most important factor to consider is truck drivers’ safety. Without them, the transportation of freight wouldn’t be possible. Trucking companies should consider implementing the latest technologies to ensure the safety of their drivers.
Become More Efficient and Reduce Costs
These advanced technologies can help you optimize your routes leading to lower fuel costs. In addition, it allows trucking companies to manage their fleets with insight into driver performance. This leads to a lower cost of operations.
Predictive maintenance tools prevent breakdowns allowing for smooth transportation and less spent on costly repairs. Trucking technologies also include tools that reduce idle time and improve load management to maximize the amount of revenue per trip.
Since it automates most aspects of trucking operations, it improves efficiency and lowers labor costs.
Increase Your Sustainability
The trucking industry especially faces a lot of backlash for its harmful emissions. Trucking companies want to be environmentally conscious to improve their image.
As mentioned previously, route optimization tools can lead to greater fuel efficiency. However, switching to electric trucks can reduce emissions that harm the environment. They also harness the energy generated during braking, further lessening the environmental impact.
With the more efficient use of resources and fewer unnecessary trips, you can help eliminate your carbon footprint.
The Challenges of Trucking Technologies
Just as with any other technology, there can be a lot of challenges. Let’s take a look at some of the common challenges associated with the latest trucking tech:
High Initial Costs
In the long run, these technologies contribute to less money spent on trucking operations. However, as with any new technology, there can be a hefty price tag.
There might be some sticker shock when first looking to begin investing in the latest trucking industry technologies. However, since it can save the trucking industry so much money in the long run, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Training and Adoption
Implementing new technologies that most truck drivers are unfamiliar with requires significant training. Since it comes with a learning curve, it can slow down operations and affect productivity in the short term. In addition, the reliability of these technologies can also make training and adoption difficult.
However, don’t get frustrated because it takes drivers time to adjust. Once everything is up and running, the trucking industry will eliminate costs and improve efficiency.
As with many other advanced technologies, there can be bugs to work out. Not only that, but software systems can completely crash. This can disrupt trucking companies and compromise driver safety.
Autonomous trucks have many concerns related to the reliability of their tech. Since many are still in the testing stages, it asks how they’ll respond to unpredictable or complex driving situations.
There can also be complications with sensors. If they fail or are hampered by weather conditions, driver safety is again questioned. In addition, many technologies rely on the internet or satellite connection, which isn’t always available during transport.
As nice as electric trucks are for the environment, there are limitations with their battery life, and extended periods of time for charging can reduce efficiency.
Once these technologies move out of the testing stages and work out their bugs, they can be an invaluable resource to the trucking industry. Where technology fails, experienced drivers can always swoop in to save the day.
Legal and Regulatory Challenges
Technology brings the added risk of cybersecurity. Since it’s vulnerable to attacks, it’s important to do your best to protect truck drivers’ data. Concerns about data privacy are no joke, as states such as California have strict regulations about it.
Autonomous trucks also face a number of regulatory challenges. There are laws that govern the testing and operation that vary from state to state, which creates a complex landscape for trucking companies to navigate.
Since the trucking industry is moving towards more eco-friendly practices, there are also more strict emission standards. This might prove troublesome with older trucks and some of the trucks using newer technology. However, moving towards new sources of power and having fewer trucks with harmful admissions is possible with these emerging technologies.
Even as trucks adopt new technology that focuses on safety, there are still a number of safety regulations to adhere to. To learn more about these rules, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration‘s website.
Despite struggling to adhere to these regulations, this technology can help monitor and maintain compliance with rules such as Hours of Service.
Public Perception and Acceptance
The most challenging part for companies when implementing new technology is the public’s perception and acceptance of them. People often fear what they don’t understand and feel that technologies such as self-driving trucks may compromise road safety.
These trucks also make drivers feel uneasy. Since they don’t require a driver to operate them, many truck drivers fear that autonomous trucks may take over their jobs. There are also concerns about the failure of technology and the potential for drivers’ personal information to be leaked.
There is also the perception of a lack of inaccessibility. With these resources’ high cost and complex nature, the public may view them as something unattainable, leading them to be more resistant than accepting of them.
It’s important for trucking companies to take these concerns seriously. They’ll want to provide drivers and the public with as much information as possible.
The Future of New Truck Technology in the Trucking Industry
In today’s day in age, technology is constantly growing and improving. As a truck driver, you know that it’s essential to stay updated with advanced technologies. Tools such as dynamic routing, autonomous trucks, fleet management systems, and more can significantly improve vehicle performance. Since these tools make transportation and delivery more manageable, you can see why this technology has a future.
Each system offers a solution to many of the problems currently faced in the trucking industry. As it continues to develop and improve, so will the truck driving experience. If you want to be the best driver you can be, familiarizing yourself with this technology can help.
If you want to learn more about the future of trucking technologies, visit the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) website.