Predicting the Future of Trucking
The trucking industry did not escape the global digital revolution of the last decade. Every industry faces periodic disruptions, and trucking is no exception. Technological trends have the potential to change the way trucking companies, drivers, and fleet managers do business. A “disruptive technology” is one that significantly alters the way a company operates – for better or worse. Here are three digital disruptions that leaders in the trucking industry should prepare for sooner rather than later.
Self-Driving Commercial Trucks
Automation has been a trucking industry buzzword for years – but last year’s first self-driven truck delivery is bringing this tech trend out of the future and into the here and now. The automation start-up company Otto transported 2,000 cases of Budweiser 120 miles from Fort Collins, CO, to Colorado Springs – all without a driver behind the wheel. Otto used automation technology to successfully pull off this feat while the driver supervised from the sleeper berth.
Autonomous big rigs open the doors to numerous perks and advantages in the trucking industry, if managers know how to pioneer this technological development. This disruptive digital innovation will forever change the way trucking operates – but it doesn’t have to mean the end of thousands of trucking careers. Rather than replacing human drivers with automation, fleet managers need to use both in cohesion. Automation technology still requires a human driver to oversee operations, especially in congested city areas.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released a report called “Beyond Traffic 2045,” highlighting the technological trends and issues the transportation industry will face in the next 30 years. In this report, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx describes the emergence of biometrics for vehicle safety. Biometrics are data collected from each individual driver. In trucking, biometrics could track truck driver data, such as health, nutrition, and driving behaviors. Fleet managers can use biometrics to recommend changes and improve the safety, health, and efficiency of workers.
Biometric driver identifications could maximize carrier safety by recognizing and verifying a driver – flagging unauthorized drivers and optimizing the settings of the vehicle’s assistance systems based on the individual. Biometric IDs could, for example, place restrictions on new or training drivers. They could activate on-board accident prevention controls, or adjust vehicle systems to accommodate an individual’s unique driving style and preferences. Biometric technologies could make truck driving more comfortable, safe, and convenient, potentially reducing the industry’s high turnover rates.
Shipping Apps for Customers
One Vancouver startup, Freightera, is poised to completely disrupt the trucking industry in a way similar to Uber’s effect on the taxi sector. Freightera goes direct to customers, giving them the power to control their shipping costs for the first time in history. Using an app as a booking platform, Freightera gives customers all-inclusive freight quotes from different carriers. Leaders in the industry can prepare for this major change by making their rates more competitive.
To stay on top of evolving digital trends in the industry, trucking professionals need to become futurists – people who study the future, make predictions, and prepare now for what may come later. Start with these emergent digital disruptions and keep your sights trained on the future of trucking.