It feels like innovation in trucking knows no bounds. Autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, platooning, big data and analytics are all changing the way goods are moved around the world and making a more efficient supply chain.
According to a survey by Supply Chain Management World, 64% of executives believe that the insights being gleaned from big data can change the trucking industry forever.
Tech is helping trucking companies deliver goods faster, more safely and more cost-effectively. Here are the top five trends disrupting the trucking industry right now.
1 Autonomous vehicles (and electric too)
Now, this is properly revolutionary technology. 20 years ago, the very idea of autonomous vehicles would have sounded absurd. Yet here we are. Some of the biggest names in trucking are making inroads into driverless and electric vehicles, using the technology to boost safety and efficiency. The challenge ahead is ensuring autonomous vehicles reduce accidents and save lives. For electric vehicles, it’s all about boosting travel ranges and charging infrastructure.
2 Long lines of trucks (aka platooning)
As trucks become more advanced, so precision driving comes to the fore. Telematics technology means that trucks are able to drive in formations (aka platoons), communicating with one another and being controlled by computers. This saves the trucking industry money by reducing fuel consumptions and emissions. It’s also a way to reduce traffic congestion and increase road safety. Rather than having trucks dotted around the roads, you create a more predictable line of large vehicles.
3 Getting connected with the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) means better location tracking, better environment sensing, better fleet management, better supply/demand balance, and better eco-credentials. So, and all-round better trucking industry really. IoT effectively means vehicles, devices and appliances can all share data – monitoring everything from tyre pressure to load stability. This tech is all about real-time data that helps shippers and carriers make smart decisions and find smart solutions. It also boosts supply chain management and minimises human intervention.
4 Big data (as long as it’s good quality)
Big data has undoubtedly made for more efficient logistics – and advancements in technology will only see that increase. The possibilities are endless, but big data comes with one major caveat – the data needs to be good quality. Unfortunately, in logistics this is often not the case. Luckily, data can be cleaned when big data is paired with AI, which helps. This pairing also allows trucking companies to accurately forecast future volumes allowing them to plan for future performance, not basing predictions on previous expectations.
5 Humans play a key role too…
You’ll be pleased to hear that as well as all this talk of technology, humans continue to play an essential role in the trucking industry. Truck drivers have been vital in moving goods safely and securely, and we’ll still need humans behind the wheel for a while yet. The rise of automation and autonomous vehicles has caused many to predict a future in which truck drivers no longer exist. But that’s unlikely to be the case. Driverless vehicles still need human intervention, whether that’s someone controlling things from a central computer or human drivers getting behind the wheel to navigate more urban or industrial areas.
With so many changes within the trucking industry, many are asking whether we’ll recognise the trucking industry in a decade. What do you think the game-changers will be?