TMCnet Feature
April 29, 2020

Technology Is Revolutionizing the Trucking Industry

Technology is permeating every industry across the globe  —  and the transportation industry is no different.

Fleet owners are adopting smart technology to keep their drivers and their trucks safe. Like other industries, business owners who take advantage of the tools at their fingertips are more competitive. Some of the advances available these days are what’s keeping their trucks moving through their routes like the well-oiled machines they are. 

Making sure truckers are getting to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible is even more vital in the current climate. Drivers are obviously a huge part of the equation here, but their role might be minimized sooner than we think. 

Automated trucks are coming and what that means for the men and women who deliver our goods to us remains to be seen. Putting the human impact aside, this technology is very impressive. It’s not slowing down for anything. 

Fleet Management Tech 

Driver turnover rates in the industry have been incredibly high over the last two decades. In 2005, the rate was 130% for carriers or large freight and 96% for smaller freight carriers. More than a decade later, in 2018, it had dropped but it was still over 89%. Business owners are grappling with the question: how can they attract and retain new drivers

One of the best ways, according to experts, is by upgrading fleet technology. Younger Americans love gadgets, tech advances are a large part of their life. Fleet management technology is a cool way to pique their interest.

Software like DriverI collects driver data and positively reinforces good driving habits. Some of the fleet management software programs, like the one mentioned here, even allow truckers to download an app so they can get information about their driving in real-time. 

Autonomous Trucks?

As technology advances and retention rates continue to be a problem, some are left wondering if there will even be a need for truckers in the future. Automated trucks might make the career a thing of the past. 

Automated vehicles aren't a new concept. Companies like Tesla have been testing the technology for years. However, many Americans probably never really thought the advances would take over the supply chain one day.

A new report by “60 Minutes” found companies are currently testing driverless 18-wheelers. Tech company Starsky Robotics recently put their automated big-rig to the test on the Florida Turnpike. It was the first time any company had done such a thing even though other technology companies are perfecting automation, as well. 

In March 2020, Starsky Robotics went out of business but that doesn't mean the technology is dead.

TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company in Arizona, is also on the cusp of revolutionizing the trucking industry. Chief Product Officer Chuck Price said he believes their trucks will hit the road for their first driver-out tests in 2021. 

Critics worry about the jobs that will be lost when truckers are no longer needed to haul goods across the country. Proponents argue these vehicles will make the roads safer and the accuracy of inventory will increase as well. Cost-saving is a huge factor as well. Some experts think automation operating budgets will reduce by as much as 40%. 

Technology Is Changing the World

There's no doubt, the advances tech has made in the last few decades is changing the world. Business owners who use fleet management systems are keeping their drivers safer and can, hopefully, decrease turnover rates. Not every company is going to fully automate their trucks as soon as the technology becomes available, so retaining drivers is important. 

The fact remains, automation tech is coming whether people are ready for it or not. And it is going to change the world. 

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