As demand for trucking continues to push the capabilities of an already stressed industry, company owners and operators are pursuing fleet solutions that can help make their businesses ever faster and more efficient. And, as one would expect, they are finding the answers in new technology. Trucking industries are picking up on technologies developed to help everyone and adapting them to their effort to keep up with the pace of business in the digital world. Some of the most important technologies in trucking today are not exclusive to fleet tech but rather embellish fleet solutions to meet operational expectations and strategies better than ever. With the help of Fleet Owner and TransWood, we have narrowed this new tech down to the 11 most significant advancements helping to keep trucking ahead of the game.
11 Technologies Keeping Drivers Safe and Business Sound
1. Self-Driving Semi-Trucks
Self-driving semi-trucks continue to gain attention in the trucking industry. The autonomous technology is already being produced and tested, and government officials are determining regulations for self-driving vehicles. The hope is that these trucks will help with demand as the industry struggles to attract and retain drivers.
2. Driver-Facing Cameras
Because vehicle video systems have realized considerable improvements in image processing and storage, low-light/nighttime usability, and high-definition image capture, fleet owners are incorporating cameras into their fleet solutions for both the safety of the driver and the health of the company. Driver-facing cameras are a great resource for drivers in potentially reducing liability in the event of an accident. Their purpose is to alert drivers whenever the drivers are distracted or tired.
3. Dash Cams
Similar to the driver-facing cameras, a dash cam monitors the actions of drivers on the road. Additionally, some dash cams are able to track speed and brake reaction to determine how safely the driver is operating. Dash cams allow fleet managers to monitor driver behavior and stay in contact with drivers at the same time.
4. Advanced Collision Mitigation
Robust fleet ACM systems offer sensing technology to monitor crash exposures and take emergency action to avoid accidents. Today’s systems are also eliminating the false positives that the old technology reported. For many companies, collision mitigation systems are becoming standard on new trucks and can be retrofitted to older trucks as well. Collision mitigation technology also serves as a way to monitor more of what’s going on around a truck as the truck’s speed and control in various conditions changes, offering the ability to take autonomous emergency action if necessary.
5. Trucker Apps
New trucker apps and other transportation industry trends are influencing operations for drivers and fleet owners so they can make drivers’ lives easier while staying as efficient as possible. New apps and updates offer navigation, driver management, payment, and access to cash. Payment partner EFS/WEX offers mobile apps to help simplify fleet management for small business, large fleets, and government fleets. Mobile devices can be used to locate road services, find the lowest priced fuel, and get directions. Keep tabs on your fleet cards and accounts and find merchants who accept them.
6. Electric 18-Wheelers
As the need for eco-friendly alternatives becomes more pressing, electric semi-trucks are becoming one of the most talked-about technologies in the industry today. These vehicles will help reduce the carbon footprint while saving the fleet money at the same time.
7. Dynamic Routing
Dynamic routing has transformed the way trucks move. Using data to inform routes based on traffic patterns, weather, and road conditions, truck drivers are now more efficient than ever. This new and ever-evolving technology allows fleet managers to modify route density and decrease distance traveled between deliveries. Real-time routing with dynamic software is maximizing drive time and optimizing profit.
Since 2017 electronic logging devices have been tracking and recording commercial truck drivers’ hours of service to ensure drivers are operating in accordance with the requirements and restrictions set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This fleet technology has been the single most successful technology contributing to the safety of truckers and the passenger vehicles around them.
9. Trailer Tracking
Trailer tracking technology makes it easier to locate and manage assets. GPS tracking combined with a system to monitor trailer activity and location can warn a fleet when those trailers are in high-theft areas and track a stolen trailer. Better visibility on these expensive assets is critical for any fleet size, from one to a hundred.
10. Temperature Tracking and Record Keeping
This is another category of fleet technology that’s become mandatory for many carriers. As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, those involved in transporting human and animal food, including shippers, carriers, and receivers, must follow best practices for sanitary transportation. This tracking tech can monitor things like properly refrigerating food, cleaning vehicles between loads to prevent contamination, and protecting food during transportation.
Telematics supports all tracking devices in the trucking industry, not the least of which is theft monitoring tech. Telematics technology is a way to monitor a vehicle using GPS and onboard diagnostics to record movements on a computerized map. It refers to any device that merges telecommunications and infomatics, including everything from GPS systems to navigation systems. It is responsible for many features in vehicles, from OnStar to hands-free mobile calling.