Keep an eye on these futuristic technologies
By: Phil Sneed
Like passenger automobiles, the fundamental goal of trucks has not changed much in the last century. Long-haul trucks are packed with a variety of items and goods to transport from the loading point to the destination.
Over time, however, various components of trucks have been altered due to technological advancements. The first semi-trailer was invented in the late 1800s by Alexander Winton. His company, The Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland also manufactured cars for citizens, but these needed a way to be delivered without adding usage to the freshly assembled vehicles. Winton's answer was the semi-trailer, which he called an automobile hauler.
Trucks have come quite a long ways since, as sleeping cabins are now built-in features. In addition, the use of global positioning services has helped drivers navigate their way across the country. Today more than ever, new pieces of tech are being integrated into the industry. Some have been expected, but others are a surprise, and could offer unique but helpful changes and possibilities for the future of the industry.
"New pieces of tech are being integrated into the industry."
Meet your assistant
Smartphone owners who use iOS, Android or Windows mobile operating systems are familiar with personal assistants. While they don't resemble the artificial intelligence seen in some movies or television shows, these intelligent features are able to help users with aspects of their everyday life, from setting alarms and creating calendar events to dictating text messages.
According to Fleet Owner, the same concept will apply for the trucking industry. One service, KeepTruckin, has become a helpful tool for more than 5,000 truckers. The application acts as an electronic logging device, meaning drivers no longer have to rely on old paper methods. It is also built to perform automatic log checks for potential Hours of Service violations and track time and distance. In addition, fleet managers have the ability to send text messages and digitally view logs.
With the expected passage of a rule requiring electronic log recording, a digital assistant will quickly become more needed than ever. It is also not out of the ordinary to expect intelligent personal assistants to become even more helpful for drivers and maybe even get a point where they resemble a real person. This interaction may help drivers become more alert on the road.
Predicting future events
Part of the responsibility of logistics management companies is to help drivers find the fastest route to their destination. Real-time traffic updates help, but even so, situations arise because of accidents and poor weather conditions that have an impact on delivery times. It is difficult to accurately predict when a certain portion of the interstate will be shut down. Potential downtime doesn't even account for the unexpected mechanical failures that can further delay shipment times.
In the near future, it may be possible to accurately predict when a truck will break down. Predictive software and algorithms work behind the scenes to analyze how trucks are operated. For instance, the number of harsh turns and braking can provide information to be used for predictive diagnostics. If truckers and fleet managers are able to have accurate information available, they can potentially save money by repairing trucks before serious situations come about.
3-D printing solutions
Universities, construction companies and other manufacturers have been utilizing 3-D printers heavily in recent years. As costs have dramatically decreased, these printers have become more accessible. 3-D printing is the process of making a solid object from a digital file, according to 3D Printing. Some companies are even exploring the possibility of building homes through 3-D printing.
"Printing technology can help manufacture truck parts."
With such lofty goals, Fleet Owner stated vehicle parts may eventually be constructed through this method. This printing technology can manufacture truck parts that are lighter, stronger and have better fuel economy. Any broken parts can be replaced in a matter of hours, not days, because 3-D printers can quickly create a new part.
Every industry of the economy will experience an impact from the rapid evolvement of technology.
From personal assistants to 3-D printing, these areas of tech can help further increase the efficiency of trucking.