Every industry is being affected by the advent of new technology. The trucking industry is no different.
In recent postings on the FleetOwner IdeaXchange, Jane Clark, Vice President, Member Services for NationaLease, spoke about the speed at which technology is changing the industry. It may seem overwhelming, but Jane makes the point that just because a technology is “making news,” that doesn’t mean it’s going to be in general use any time soon. It’s just that we’re all getting information much earlier in the development cycle than we used to.
Here’s the reality: autonomous trucks are fascinating, but they’re a long way from becoming a common feature. In fact, Jane points out that, during the recent FTR Virtual Conference, the estimate was that by 2025, there would only be 8,000 autonomous Level 3 and higher trucks.
Instead, she suggests focusing on issues that are either already here or on their way. Telematics, collisions avoidance and lane departure systems are already a reality. And their ability to help in both efficiency and safety seems rather obvious.
An up and coming tech that’s talked about a great deal within the industry is platooning; a situation where two trucks travel in a sort of tandem way, with one truck traveling very closely behind the one in front. To do this safely requires a wireless electronic communication system that informs the second truck when the lead truck has braked. The second truck then brakes automatically. Besides the safety factor, Jane notes that the second truck will see a 10% fuel economy gain and the lead truck may benefit by up to 4.5%.
Jane also cited a speaker at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW), who spoke about the potential of augmented reality, a technology that will provide drivers with the ability to “’see through’ cab exteriors for increased safety and help guide technicians through repair procedures.”
It’s clear that the trucking tech landscape is changing, and it’s important to keep track of those changes. But focusing on what’s on top of the funnel will help you stay ahead of the pack.