How is technology changing the trucking industry?


As technology continues to evolve in many sectors of the economy, companies are wise to consider adopting the latest and greatest innovations. The world is becoming increasingly digital, and leveraging new technologies can provide many benefits, such as improving operational efficiency and gaining a competitive advantage.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

One industry greatly benefiting from technological adoption is trucking. This sector is responsible for most of the freight transportation of material goods in the United States. The market was worth $732.3 billion in 2020 alone.

What New Tech Is Changing the Trucking Industry for the Better?

Moving goods from point A to point B as efficiently as possible is the ultimate goal for professionals in the trucking industry. However, accomplishing this doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges. Concerns regarding safety, quality control, driver retention, and labor shortages are examples of obstacles companies within the industry are trying to overcome.

Additionally, problems with truck operation, such as brake issues, electrical failures, and tire blowouts, cause more harm than good. More than 70% of products in the country are shipped from manufacturers to stores, and truckers face unique problems while on the job.

Here are some technologies transforming the trucking industry and making operations easier, more efficient, and safer for drivers. Helping this sector, in turn, strengthens the supply chain and economy.

1. Digital Automation

Multiple players within the supply chain are adopting technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate routine tasks so employees can spend more time on meaningful processes. As these technologies become more commonplace, many worry that automation will lead to worker displacement, meaning trucking jobs will disappear.

However, it’s unlikely that the industry will become fully automated anytime soon. Drivers complete more tasks than simply transporting goods. Other duties include maintenance, logging and customer service. Face-to-face interactions cannot be easily replaced with technology, so trucking companies still need to consider the human element.

2. Fleet Management Software

New fleet data management hardware and software are taking the trucking industry by storm. Analyzed metrics can provide companies with greater insight into their fleets and how they’re performing. Some aspects these advancements track include:

  • Safety incidents
  • Fuel management
  • Hours of service (HOS) violations
  • Engine hours
  • Route performance
  • Time on-site
  • Inspection results

Leveraging new hardware and software allows trucking companies to identify areas of improvement in their fleet management and see where they excel.

3. Vehicle Safety Features

How is technology changing the trucking industry?

Driver safety is a top priority for trucking companies in the industry. The latest trucks in companies’ fleets now come equipped with new safety features and technologies to protect drivers while transporting goods.

For example, blind spot mirrors, lane departure warnings, automatic emergency braking systems and truck dash cams are widely used in the industry. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), fatal injuries involving large trucks have increased between 2014 and 2019. Safety features can help reduce those numbers.

4. Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics is a phrase thrown around in many industries. However, companies in the trucking industry can harness its power to improve decision-making, prevent dangerous incidents and ensure safe transportation.

Big data can also provide valuable insights for fleets, such as identifying bottlenecks, finding optimal travel routes, detecting networks with poor infrastructure, and calculating travel delays or time estimates. Big data in the transportation industry is expected to reach $21.8 billion by 2027.

5. Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Many businesses are looking to go green due to the global climate crisis, and players in the trucking industry are no exception. More progressive trucking companies are considering leveraging low-emission trucks to reduce the size of their carbon footprint and make transportation more sustainable.

It’s widely understood that fully electric vehicles (EVs) are better for the environment and cost less to run and maintain. Electrifying trucks could help companies reduce environmental pollution, but it may take some time for them to be commonplace in the industry.

6. Trucking Apps

Smartphone applications are becoming invaluable tools for all types of professionals and the organizations they work for. Downloading and using the latest apps can make a significant difference for truckers. Here are some examples of apps the trucking industry can use:

  • Trucker Path
  • Rolling Strong
  • GoShare
  • GasBuddy
  • Trucker Tools
  • Waze
  • Google Tasks
  • The Weather Channel

Making life on the road easier is crucial for trucking companies and their drivers. Many of these apps are available on the iOS App Store or the Google Play store, which can be downloaded on iPhones and Androids.

Expect More Technological Adoption in the Trucking Industry

These seven technologies are becoming more important for truck drivers and the companies they work for. Whether used for keeping an eye on the weather during travel, improving driver safety or using fleet management software, new tech should be leveraged to improve the trucking industry. The important role of the trucking industry cannot be overstated. Transportation of goods is a key component of the supply chain, and this sector is responsible for delivering these goods efficiently and safely. As technology advances, it’ll be fascinating to see how it can be used to benefit trucking companies and their drivers.

What do you think of new trucking technology?


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