In recent years, technology has dramatically changed the transportation industry. This trend has never been more observable than in the trucking industry. Tech innovations have affected everything from vehicle design to traffic coordination in the trucking industry. And these trends will only become more prominent in the coming decade.
Truck companies and owner-operators must stay up-to-date with tech trends to actually stay competitive in the business. According to the American Journal of Transportation, “staying up-to-date on technological trends is of the utmost importance” in the trucking industry. As adaptation is rapid in the sector, tech plays a huge role in the vast transformations the industry goes through. Here are some of the latest tech innovations that will fundamentally influence how trucking is done in the years to come:
While automated cars have been a long-held dream of consumers and automakers alike, self-driving trucks are coming closer to reality. Many industry insiders speculate that it will be the “next big thing” for trucks. The German automaker, Daimler has already tested semi self-driving trucks. Some of these vehicles have official authorization to operate on highways in Nevada. Bill Busbice, who has seen how new tech affects trucking, supports innovations that will make owner-operator lives easier. Semi-autonomous trucks will be a great way to allow truckers to rest while on the road. Fully autonomous trucks, however, are a long way coming. But, we might see semi self-driving trucks sooner than expected.
Platooning refers to several trucks driving together with the support of software as a single platoon. Smart driving tech can make it possible for trucks to communicate, like bees in a hive, to form the platoon and navigate obstacles. Platooning is intended as a solution to the driver shortage problem the trucking industry currently faces. The problem is expected to swell to about 24,000 vacant positions in the next 5 years. Platooning could be a possible solution if it works as intended. Mr. Busbice believes that tech like his HWY Pro app, which eliminates many time-consuming tasks for truckers, could help recruit actual, human drivers at least until the technology becomes sophisticated enough for self-driving trucks.
Predictive Vehicle Maintenance
Truck maintenance is one of the main responsibilities of owner-operators. Truckers are recommended to have a regular maintenance schedule for routine tasks such as oil changes, tire rotations, and brake inspections. But even some experienced truckers cannot identify certain engine problems and similar issues in advance. With predictive vehicle maintenance software, the hardware of the vehicle will be connected to software that can detect problems in advance according to parameters set by the manufacturer. This is a more reliable way of maintaining a vehicle than relying on non-automaker knowledge.
Last but not least, there is more safety technology in development that provides interior cameras on trucks, lane departure warnings, and collision avoidance assistance. Most of these new advances are directed at trucks or trucking companies. In rare cases, innovations like HWY Pro address truck drivers directly, who are the crucial labor force that keeps trucking networks working efficiently.