Unlike commuter transportation, the trucking industry is more complex, involving not only truckers but also different types of loads and routes. All that is about to change with the introduction of new technologies. While not everyone is keen on adopting them, their very presence entices truckers and owners to look at what they can do for the business – improve productivity and increase overall efficiency levels to enhance profits and reduce time wastage.
The future of robotics is immense and, at present, the technology is there to load and unload irregular or difficult parcels. UPS, FedEx, and DHL have already seen how robots can help them move cargo. This not only saves time but also speeds up the loading/unloading process, maximizes space, and reduces labor costs. Shipment processing and delivery times are also enhanced, increasing overall productivity.
Telematics can help the trucking industry track fleets in real time. With advancements in technology and GPS, truckers can be monitored closely by tracking driver fatigue, location, the condition of the cargo (temperature/pressure), and vehicle situation awareness. This could also assist in sensing loads, attributing spaces, and maximizing freight. Advanced technology can help reduce crashes and road mishaps with sophisticated driver assistance systems. Apps like the HWY Pro by Bill Busbice assist drivers to streamline the movement of goods through organized dispatches and loads while saving truckers time.
Self-driving cars are already well ahead in terms of tests and prototypes. GM/Cruise, for example, is set to mass produce self-driving vehicles and commuters will see them more and more on the roads. Legislation and regulation are also being discussed. In the trucking industry, self-driving vehicles are already present, although the technology needs to be flawless. Trucks must be able to drive in crowded environments such as big cities filled with all types of traffic. Permits and regulations must also be worked out as, like with all automated vehicles, safety is of paramount importance. There is no room for failure when a computerized system breaks down. However, should self-driving trucks be on the road, there is no doubt that it has the potential to improve logistics efficiency. In the meantime, truckers and owners who are willing to integrate high technology into their system can start with self-navigating equipment that can even be perfected using the input of human drivers. Using cloud technology, truckers can share their experiences with other drivers to build the perfect automated vehicle.
The life of America’s 3.5 million truck drivers is not easy, involving long and lonely hours away from families and loved ones. However, advanced technology and automation can help to improve productivity, saving time and reducing accidents on the road.