In 1956, the Federal Aid Highway Act lays the groundwork for what we know as the Interstate Highway System. Its design and engineering was one of the largest technological breakthroughs ever made. And a lot of people would say it was the one of the last technological breakthroughs made that involved trucking.
After all, technology takes money. And the whole point of trucking is to spend as little money as possible in order to get the lowest cost-per-mile and the highest returns. That’s why the trucking industry has relied on adopting technologies from the automotive industry for decades.
But that’s all about to change.
Tech companies are now focusing on technological advancements that will make trucking so efficient that OEMs and fleet managers alike would be dumb not to adopt them. Whether it’s in navigation, safety or repair/maintenance, these new technologies are on their way.
Advanced driver-assistance systems. Small change is the first step to complete revolution. And the revolution in the trucking industry is led by advancements in driver-assistance systems. Over the last decade alone, we’ve seen great strides from both OEMs and after-market manufacturers to help drivers become safer and more efficient. And that progress isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Already, we have systems that warn drivers of lane drifting, intervene in the possibility of collisions, help with blind spots and automatically adjust cruise controls for safer, more fuel-efficient driving. And on the horizon, there’s much, much more.
Real-time analytics. It doesn’t take long for a small failure to grow into a gigantic catastrophe. How many times have you seen a truck that could have avoided a $15,000 repair if a tech had just caught a $250 problem during routine maintenance? Soon enough, real-time analytics will tell those techs which $250 part needs replacing—as soon as that part begins to fail. In fact, with remote prognostic and telematics technologies, your techs will be able to warn drivers about potential problems when they’re thousands of miles away.
Geolocation. This is more than GPS or Google maps, although those could play into the benefits. This goes beyond simple Point A to Point B. Soon enough, drivers and fleet managers will know how exactly where they can find a part, an open service bay and the best available tech for a specific problem—all based on a vehicle’s location.
Electric trucks. Not around-town delivery vehicles that need charging every 50 miles. No, we’re talking long-haul, heavy-load rigs that can compete on distance, time and cost-per-mile. Well, we’re not talking that—but Tesla is. And if there’s a company that seems like they can actually conquer the near-impossible task of an electric long-haul truck, it’s Tesla. But we’re going to need to wait and see. The Tesla Semi—which promises a reduction in cost and an increase in safety—won’t be formally announced until the end of September.