We are living at a technological crossroads in the transportation world. The movement of goods is going to change. Nothing ever remains the same, but the future of transportation will take us to another level that was unthinkable a century ago. The first truck lines depended on fearless men willing to control a machine and its load through hills and snow. There was no power steering, power brakes, not even a windshield to protect these men from the weather. Today trucks are a marvel of engineering, and their drivers can pilot 80,000 lbs without a sweat. In a few years, the trucks will have more technology than the rover circulating on planet Mars.
Telematics is just the beginning of the transformation. Digital tachographs (digital recording of powertrain functionality, driver efficiency, transport management) are about to go into the next level where that “live” data will be part of a digital center that shares all the information of all running trucks in the country at the same time. Today the system is telling you when your next maintenance is due. Soon it will move to automatically control the temperature inside the trailer while adjusting the vehicle speed to arrive at an exact time at the warehouse door.
Telematics data, according to Eurostat, show that out of 1 billion miles driven by heavy-duty trucks in Europe within a year, more than 20 percent are “empty” miles. That is a lot of wasted fuel and an opportunity to improve the logistics. Software systems will continue to grow and integrate into trucks and dispatch. Trucking will be an integrated industry connected through blockchain technology that will be transparent and operate in “real-time.”
The business model is moving away from a “trucking” company service to an integrated movement of goods. Intelligent Cargo Space is what we will be selling soon. Next-level telematics will maximize capacity utilization at all times.
Trucks will become technology management devices that will offer just-in-time delivery. Artificial Intelligence will control freight exchange platforms for the company to ensure loaded trucks are running at all times. Technology will have an impact on smaller companies and freight forwarders first. In a few years, freight requests and billing will be automatic straight from the click of a button from the buyer of the commodity. All these intelligent data integrations in the new digital world will change logistics like never before.
It is time to start getting ready to sell Tech. The days of “virgin rubber” and “RTLO” are over. Tech is easier to sell than pulling your calculator to show your customer the advantages of a 3:73 rear end. High Tech is about algorithms, codes, and the magic “cloud .”But you don’t need to learn that. Technical innovation is about providing solutions and efficiency that are fast, accurate, and cost a fraction of their human equivalent. Forget the acronyms and technical terms. Focus on the results that a connected truck can bring to the customer. The specifics, documentation, and validation are for your reference. Make the features visible and understandable to all by using analogies. Never forget the trust customer put in you. As the song from Cinderella says, “The more things change, The more they stay the same.” The human relationship will continue to be an essential factor in your life regardless of your Tech level. That “connection” is much more important than the truck connectivity.