Over the last fifty years, trucking has seen vast improvements in technology. These improvements reflected the truck manufacturers’ focus on new technologies that brought increasingly superior products to fleets and owners.
At DriverSource, we have seen new features introduced that brought advanced powertrains, improved safety systems, and more comfort and convenience in truck cabs. These advances all represented a singular focus by all the OEM’s on the product (truck). It has resulted in a standardization among manufacturers on the technologies found in trucks. But, that focus is changing.
The New Focus in Trucking Is On Services
Many experts are saying trucking has entered a new era. They cite the period between 2014-2017 as the time when the industry changed its focus from products to services. We’ve seen industries make changes in their direction before to accommodate new technologies and changing consumer preferences. Take retail, for example. The last twenty years have seen that industry change its marketing focus from brick and mortar stores to online commerce. In trucking, the new focus is on services, particularly the new methods by which those services can be provided as a result of the digitization of the industry.
Digitization is the Seismic “Change Agent” in Trucking
The proliferation of ELD devices in long-haul trucks is setting the stage for a radical transformation in trucking. The connected mobility of these devices is going to provide so much more than simply HOS regulatory compliance. They have, in effect, provided a mobile internet connection portal enabling the creation of a new business model where on-demand freight mobility is now possible. Digital freight brokerage platforms can communicate with ELDs to know HOS compliance data as well as the volume capacity of the trailer. Using routing and scheduling software, that information can be leveraged to create unprecedented levels of efficiencies in truck operations. It is a digital connection that is helping fleets and owner-operators save money and make money.
This is the Age When Trucking Becomes Greener
The future of trucking promises to be cleaner as electric power train adoption becomes a reality. That translates into a lower carbon footprint. It also means lower operating costs on safer, cleaner, and more connected trucks. Lifecycle costs associated with service and maintenance costs will drop.
It’s Also an Age When Autonomous Mobility Takes Off
Led by such well-known OEMs such as Daimler, Volvo, and Tesla, autonomous mobility solutions are going to be dove-tailed with those electric trucks. Autonomous trucks are here now. Once regulatory approvals are achieved, the first autonomous trucks will likely be seen in the form of platooning, a caravan of several autonomous, computer-directed trucks traveling in close formation and led by a driver-occupied master truck.
With connected mobility, autonomous mobility, and electric mobility, a new age in trucking has arrived. Driving all these innovations is the digitization of the industry. Time will tell if, indeed, what we are witnessing is the golden age of trucking.
Bill D for DriverSource