In a previous blog we dabbled in the history of trucking, taking us back to a simpler time. If our ancestors could see us now with the innovations and accomplishments we have made today, they’d likely be proud, and maybe a little confused. Let’s dive in to the latest tech in our industry that are becoming game changers in how we do logistics.
First up, what everyone is talking about: autonomous trucks –
Initially, the thought of 80,000-pound trucks driving themselves can be a little frightening but advances in just the past few years have shown promise.
These tractors are jam packed with technology such as various types of motion sensors, radar, and LiDAR technology. Autonomous truck companies are certain that this is the way forward when it comes to that middle mile. But there are quite a few hurdles to overcome before this becomes a staple in the transportation industry; fueling, maintenance, and roadside emergencies to name a few as well as costs associated with building up the inventory.
What does this mean for drivers? While some might see this as a threat to the job market in this industry, others choose to see it as an opportunity. This seismic change will not happen over night but will be a slow process that will come with a dramatic learning curve for the autonomous truck manufacturers. The biggest consideration being made is how this will benefit the driver shortage that seems to be a decades-long issue with no reprieve in sight. With the idea of autonomous trucks doing the long-haul piece of the routes, this will change the landscape for drivers looking to achieve a better work/life balance and likely provide out-from-behind-the-wheel opportunities. Local and regional routes driven by hand are said to be a necessity now and, in the future, even when autonomous tractors do become widely used.
Speaking of radars and motion sensor technology –
Collision avoidance technology has been in use for some time now and is on a path for continuous improvement. Lane departure warning, speed detection, collision warnings and many other features are to credit from this technology. Not only does this help maintain a safer driving environment, but also keeps those on the road accountable with motion tracking and dashcam recording.
Recent reports show that these practices have impacted the number of front-facing collisions by reducing them by 22%. This includes auto-braking and sensory alerts to the driver. With these types of safety measures becoming the standard, this has helped fleets become better equipped to handle the dangers of the road.
More than just a map: Dynamic Routing –
An essential part of trucking is planning. And an essential part of planning is planning your route. There’s the traditionally planned route where you’ve likely ran it a handful of times and then there’s dynamic routing. This is when multiple factors are taking into consideration such as weather, road work, traffic, and accidents while planning your route. This is typically done and hour or so before the trip since these circumstances are less predictable.
Thanks to a multitude of technologies working together, apps like Google Maps and many other software are used to determine the best route and possible detours needed to get to your destination in a timely, safe manner. Some more complex software are used for large fleets that incorporate more than the abbreviated list above and offer more solutions to increase efficiency on the road.
It is clear to those inside and outside the industry, technology will continue to alter how business is done and how companies run their fleet. As for our company, we have embraced new technologies to help us keep our teams safe and improve our practices such as partnering with LoadStop.
Our new enterprise trucking management system helps us stay organized and improve efficiency every day with state-of-the-art software. By reducing errors and empty miles we are able to utilize our fleet accurately and keep our customers satisfied, LoadStop keeps Meadow Lark ahead of the curve.
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