Trucking News - Daily Car Blog
New Technology Trends in Trucking

The trucking industry is in the midst of quite a bit of change because of various factors. For example, many trucking companies have difficulty keeping up with the transport demands started by the pandemic that don’t seem to be waning. They’re also struggling to find employees right now.

That could lead to more of a push for technology-based transformations in the industry.

For example, it was recently announced that a self-driving semi completed a 950-mile delivery 10 hours quicker than a human behind the wheel could, meaning that the industry could be radically shifted because of self-driving features.

The following are some of the critical things to know about technology trends in trucking, and especially where we’re at with self-driving technology.

Self-Driving Updates

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Driving trucks is a difficult job. If you’ve ever worked in the industry, you know that it requires long hours, and massive distances have to be covered. It’s hard to fill these jobs, even when offering good pay and signing bonuses.

These factors make it an industry that’s well-suited to automation, thus the push for self-driving semis.

These trucks will be equipped with technology that will allow them to go faster and further without the required breaks a human driver must take for safety and regulatory purposes.

Several companies are simultaneously working toward introducing viable self-driving automated technology into trucking right now.

TuSimple is one of those companies.

They recently tested out their technology in a cross-country watermelon delivery.

The delivery originated in Arizona and went to Oklahoma. The route used the TruSimple self-driving truck technology, completing the route in just over 14 minutes.

If a human driver were behind the wheel the entire time, the route would have taken an estimated 24 hours.

The self-driving technology took control of the truck for around 80% of the complete drive. It went from Tucson, Arizona to Dallas, Texas on fully automated tech, about 960 miles total. According to the company, the TuSimple system is optimized for highway driving.

During this test run, the drives in areas that weren’t on the highway were handled by a human, who stayed on board for the entire trip.

There are many benefits this automation might potentially bring to trucking, along with the shorter travel time.

For example, since the items can be delivered more quickly, there can be positive implications when delivering things like food that need to be fresh when they arrive at their destination. There’s less waste when fresher items show up.

It’s not all wonderful, though. There are still a lot of technical issues that will need to be addressed and questions that will have to be answered. For example, since as it stands now a human has to be in the truck for the whole trip, will there be maximum shift limits like there are when they’re driving?

Even outside the fully automated scenario, trucks are increasingly equipped with advanced safety features, making it better for drivers and the people they share the road with. For example, there are assisted braking features and lane-assist, which are ultimately paving the way for more autonomous technology.

Other Companies Working Toward Self-Driving Technology

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It’s not just TuSimple moving full-steam award with new trucking technology. Uber did leave the field after recently announcing they would be discontinuing their automated truck program, even though they made history as the first automated truck delivery in 2016.

Companies that are still going forward include Daimler and Waymo. Daimler is the parent company of Freightliner Trucks and Mercedes-Benz. They have been testing automated technology since 2014. The Daimler company plans to open an automated truck research center in Portland.

Waymo is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. They’ve been testing their trucks for some time in Arizona and California. Each of the Waymo trucks has a radar system for navigation and a human driver if the truck encounters an emergency.

Electric Vehicles

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It’s not only automated technology that’s affecting trucking and vehicles in general. There’s also an impact from electric vehicles.

Tesla is working to achieve both—electric, fully autonomous trucks, although they aren’t there yet.

For electric trucks, in particular, the issue as it stands right now is building an infrastructure for charging.

Finally, along with the trucks themselves being equipped with new technology, data analytics is also becoming more relevant in the industry. Owner/operators can use analytics to know more about their routes and cargo, save time and improve their performance while driving more safely.

Trucking News - Daily Car Blog
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