Responsible for moving 71% of all freight in America and accounting for nearly 5.8% of all the full-time jobs in the country, the trucking industry has grown to be a $700 billion sector, reports Business Insider. In fact, the industry’s revenue is higher than the GDP of over 150 nations. The current and future exponential growth of the trucking industry can easily be traced to the rapidly developing technologies that are transforming trucking as we know it.
Adaptive cruise control
Trucking fatalities recently reached their highest levels in 30 years, with deaths due to collisions involving large trucks reaching 4,678 in 2018, as suggested by Trucks. Fortunately, technologies that can enhance the safety of trucking are continuously being developed and launched. For instance, there is adaptive cruise control, which is a smart form of cruise control that slows down and speeds up automatically to keep pace with the vehicle in front. Such technology is equipped on Road Scholar Transport’s trucks.
While considerably new, this trucking technology will use cameras and sensors to make sure that trucks never get too close to other vehicles. Tech News Gadget notes that this technology is extremely important since large trucks are usually difficult to control and slow down because of the heavy freight they haul. With adaptive cruise control, the weight of the freight, along with other factors, will be taken into account when setting the truck’s speed.
With the rise Industry 4.0 and the shift towards automation and data exchange across supply chain industries, data has become the new oil. Maryville University claims that big data revenue is set to hit $203 billion this year, and by 2025 as much as 180 trillion gigabytes of data will be created annually by organizations across different industries. In the trucking industry, data analytics is used for a range of applications such as driver retention and the streamlining of operations.
Transport Topics highlights that data analytics can use multiple data points on a driver such as tenure, type of load, equipment used, and pay to predict the driver’s risk of leaving. Data analytics can also be utilized by fleet managers to see possible outcomes for each driver that can help them determine who should take which load and when. When paired with AI, data analytics can also help in predicting highly accurate outlooks for shipping volumes that will let trucking companies optimize proactively.
With improved driving systems, trucks can now set out on the road as a long line of heavy vehicles heading in the same direction hence forming a platoon. In platooning, trucks communicate and connect with each other through telematics and smart technology. By electronically coupling trucks this way, they create drafting which works to combat wind resistance and traffic congestion, while also serving as a way to reduce fuel consumption.
Forbes noted that with platooning, lead trucks can save up to 4.5% of fuel while the following trucks can save up to 10%.
Truck platooning also works as a safety feature as it helps rear trucks react almost instantaneously to the actions of the front truck, thereby, reducing the risk of collision. Some platooning tech also comes with automatic brakes, which according to the U.S. Department of Energy, have a much faster reaction than humans. This effectively improves road safety and reduces the likelihood of truck crashes.
Like in most industries, technology has been very effective in streamlining processes for greater efficiency. In the case of the trucking industry, technology goes beyond just making sure that goods are delivered on time, it is also instrumental in ensuring the safety of the drivers and in providing fleet managers with a way to keep track of drivers and connect with them. To know more about what the future of trucking will be like, check out our post ‘2020 Trucking Outlook/Expectations’.