We already know that trucks are vital to the economy. Products get shipped all over the country via these massive vehicles, and without them, well, life as we know it would be very different. From the phone in your pocket to the food on your plate, it all comes via truck at some point in its journey to you.
But what happens in this journey is not just simple grinding of gears and turning of wheels. Instead, it’s a complex ballet of technology, with various systems working in harmony (or not) to get the job done.
Freezer trucks are used to keep meat and other perishables cool, while dry freight trucks are used for non-refrigerated items. Tanker trucks carry liquids like gasoline and milk, while flatbeds haul lumber and other construction materials. And each one of these trucks has its own set of specialized equipment to make sure the load is secured and safe.
Truth is, we created technology with the sole purpose of overcoming challenges. It’s exactly because of this that our trucking industry continues to evolve.And these tech advances are only getting more sophisticated and integrated as time goes on.
If we wanted faster trucks, we could make that happen.
Trucks that could drive cross-country nonstop? We could probably do that too.
But at the end of the day, it’s not about making things faster or easier. It’s about making things better. And that’s exactly what these new technologies are doing: Changing the trucking industry forever.
The Internet of Trucks
You know about the Internet of Things–a concept of connecting physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity—that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.
In other words, it’s a way to connect pretty much anything and everything to the internet. But what you may not know is that this concept is already being applied to the trucking industry in a big way.
There are already a number of IoT applications being used in the trucking industry today, from GPS tracking and fleet management to driver safety and maintenance.
But this is only the beginning.
Data is an important aspect of the trucking industry, and the IoT provides a way to collect vast amounts of data that can be used to improve efficiency and safety. For example, by tracking the location and speed of trucks, companies can optimize routes to save on fuel costs. Or by monitoring tire pressure and engine temperature, they can prevent breakdowns before they happen.
The 21st annual study from Third-Party Logistics (3PL) found that 98% of third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and 93% of shippers believed data-driven decision-making was important to the future of supply chain activities
In 2022, the 26th edition of 3PL’s study showed that shippers were now investing in Internet of Things technology to:
- Improve workforce productivity (63%),
- Improve real-time decision-making (57%),
- Create a competitive differentiator in the market (57%)
“Internet of Things technology also improves connectivity while driving digitization, mobile computing, analytics and cloud-based technology, changing how shippers and logistics providers conduct their operations,” read the document.
Some of the most frequently-cited technologies included control tower visibility, transportation management-scheduling, transportation management-planning, cloud-based solutions, and transportation sourcing.
AI and Trucking
Just as the Internet of Things is changing the way trucking companies collect and use data, artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way they make decisions.
AI is being used in a number of different ways in the trucking industry, from route planning and fleet management to driver safety and maintenance. Most of these applications are still in the early stages, but they have the potential to evolve rapidly over the next decade.
Tesla is one company that is working on using AI for trucking. The Semi, Tesla’s autonomous electric truck, features an autopilot system that is similar to the one found in Tesla’s cars. The truck also has a number of other features that are designed to make it safer and more efficient.
“Enhanced Autopilot helps avoid collisions, a centered driver position provides maximum visibility and control, and a low center of gravity offers rollover protection,” read their website.
According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the market for AI in the transportation industry would grow at a compound annual growth rate of almost 18% between 2017 and 2030, increasing in size from a measly $1.2 billion in 2017 to $10.3 billion in 2030.
What does this mean for someone who is, say, thinking about a career in trucking?
Well, for starters, it means that the job is going to be a lot more interesting. And it also means that there will be a greater need for skilled workers who can operate and maintain these complex systems.
Technology isn’t just about fancy new gadgets and gizmos. Sometimes, it’s about taking something that already exists and making it better. That’s what hybrid trucks are all about.
A hybrid truck is a truck that uses two or more different power sources to move. The most common type of hybrid truck is a diesel-electric hybrid, which uses a diesel engine to power an electric motor. Other types of hybrid trucks include gasoline-electric hybrids, fuel cell hybrids, and natural gas-electric hybrids.
Hybrid trucks are more efficient than traditional trucks because they use less fuel. They also produce fewer emissions, which is good for the environment. And because they use less fuel, hybrid trucks save money over time.
There are a few different ways that hybrid trucks can be used:
- The Series Hybrid. The most common way is to use the diesel engine to power the electric motor, which then powers the truck.
- The Parallel Hybrid. Another way is to use the electric motor to supplement the diesel engine.
- The Hybrid Electric Vehicle or HEV. The third way is to use the electric motor to power the truck and the diesel engine to recharge the batteries.
These vehicles are becoming more common as battery technology improves. In fact, many major truck manufacturers, including Volvo, Freightliner, and Kenworth, now offer this. A recent study by Fact.MR showed that the global market for HEVs is likely to spike at 14% of its compound annual growth rate by the end of the 2021-2031 forecast period.
The study attributes this to the “growing focus on reducing carbon emissions along with the stringent government regulations regarding vehicle emissions.”
How Does This Affect Jobs in Trucking?
Changes of this magnitude can sometimes be scary, but they can also present new opportunities.
Whether you’re already part of this proud profession or you’re thinking about a career in trucking, it’s important to remember this: the trucking industry is evolving, and that’s good news for everyone involved.
Here are just a few of the ways that these changes might affect jobs in trucking:
- Greater need for skilled workers who can operate and maintain these complex systems
The job is going to be a lot more interesting. You won’t just be driving; you’ll be part of a team that’s using cutting-edge technology to move the world forward.
- Trucking companies will be able to save money on fuel costs
Potentially, this could mean that they will have more money to invest in other areas, such as employee training and development.
- Less stress, more job satisfaction
Unpredictable traffic, long hours, and strict deadlines are just some of the challenges that truck drivers face on a daily basis. But as technology advances, these challenges are likely to become less and less common.
Interested In Trucking? We Can Teach You More!
The future of the industry is looking bright, and we want you to be a part of it. If you’re interested in learning more about trucking, Gennaro Transport Training offers comprehensive trucker training that can help you get your commercial driver’s license in as little as 4-6 weeks. We offer both online and in-person classes, so you can learn at a pace that’s comfortable for you.
Our vast catalog of resources also includes articles on trucking news, industry trends, and tips for new drivers.
We’ll also help you prepare for the CDL exam with our study guide and practice tests. Our certified instructors have years of experience and are passionate about teaching. They’ll answer all your questions and help you every step of the way.
If you’re ready to start your trucking career, contact us today. We can’t wait to help you achieve your trucking dreams!