It’s an undeniable fact — technology is influencing every aspect of individual lives and society. Technology has affected farming, education, financing, and heavy industries such as manufacturing and the trucking industry.
In the last twenty years, the trucking industry has undergone somewhat of a technological revolution. Initially, the industry was slow to adopt the technology. But in recent years, this trend has been turned around, and modern-day trucking is now heavily reliant on technology.
This article will look at some prevalent technology in the trucking industry and show how its integration, together with specialized software, has provided substantial benefits for the entire industry.
Size of the trucking industry
The global freight trucking industry is expected to reach $5 trillion by 2027. Despite the destructive effect of COVID-19 that caused trucking companies to close, the freight trucking industry was valued at approximately $1.1 trillion in 2020.
Telematics and GPS Fleet Tracking Systems
Telematics refers to joining two sciences — telecommunications (phone lines and fiber cables) and informatics (computer systems). These two fields are integrated into a single unit that receives, sends, and stores information relating to trucks from any location. Telematics devices collect and transmit vehicle use, vehicle position, maintenance requirements, and automotive servicing.
Telematics has had far-reaching benefits for the freight trucking industry. Using telematics to monitor fuel usage, trucking companies have reduced fuel costs by as much as 15%. Telematics has also helped increase truck security and reduce theft. Plus, they have enabled more accurate route planning and better assignment of jobs. Telematics produces information that enables fleet managers to more accurately determine the need for preventative maintenance. In the case of a crash, telematics can supply evidence which aids in the crash investigations.
ELD and Tracking Software Applications
In 2017, it was made mandatory for almost all trucks to have an ELD (electronic logging device). An ELD performs several essential functions. It records and tracks the driver’s record of general service and time spent physically driving. The ELD system automatically records all International Federation of Technical Analysts (IFTA) logs and all International Registration Plan (IRP) inspection logs.
The ELD and integrated software system also give real-time notifications. This means that the company is notified immediately of accidents, theft, or violations, and they can take immediate action. The management system helps track vehicles, promote good driver conduct, manage breaches, and reduce operational and fuel costs.
Technology continues to drive innovation in the trucking industry. For example, the self-driving truck was once considered a dream but is now a reality. Tesla has developed autonomous electric trucks. Motoring giant Daimler has also made and tested a semi self-driving truck.
Two other technology-based innovations are lane assistance and assisted braking. These are believed to be the advances that will lead the way to true driving autonomy. The use of technology in the trucking industry has resulted in much-improved safety and efficiency. For example, the use of advanced technology trucks makes breakdowns less common and repairs less frequent. Technology such as brake assistance and automated trucks will also result in fewer accidents, saving time, money, and lives.
Platooning is a truck driving formation made possible through the use of integrated telematics and computer technology. Truck platooning involves a line of trucks closely following one another in the form of a marching platoon. All the trucks in the platoon have smart driving technology that enables direct communication between them and keeps them safely in formation.
The platoon formation minimizes wind resistance and traffic congestion, leading to reduced fuel consumption and emissions. It is also believed that the practice of platooning will help solve the driver shortage problem.
Software for Fleet Management
Any organization that utilizes a fleet of commercial vehicles will most likely have a fleet management system. In the truck transportation business, this will typically be an integrated software program specifically designed to help users oversee and manage specific areas of the truck driving industry.
These areas include:
- Vehicles assets and equipment management
- Maintenance and repair
- Fuel and emissions
- Driver management
- Accounting and auditing
- Regulatory and legal compliance
- Parts and inventory
- Load planning
- Accident and risk management
- Workshops and scheduling
The trucking industry is huge and composed of numerous components. As a result, preparing tax declarations is often an exhausting and extremely complicated job. For this reason, tax preparation is often outsourced to companies that specialize in this area. Technology has helped with this because it allows fleet managers to monitor and record all expenses, and it helps them efficiently record all billing and invoicing.
Modern-day freight trucking has embraced technology and used it to increase efficiency throughout the entire industry. Through devices onboard the truck integrated with a central network, trucking companies have ensured regulatory compliance, kept track of each vehicle, and improved load logistics.
Through the use of specially designed software, they have organized the administrative side of the business. This has improved efficiency, improved customer service, better driver management, and overall cost reduction. Technology is also predicted to play an increasingly important role in the future, especially in automation and computer-driven trucks.