3 Trucking Industry Innovations You Need to Know About
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
The trucking industry is essentially the backbone of the United States economy. What do we mean by that? More than 70 percent of goods moved in the U.S. are delivered by trucks, and 10.5 tons of freight are carried by trucks per year. So, it makes sense that there have been recent innovations to improve the way the trucking industry operates. Below we will explore three innovations that will positively impact trucking over the next few years.
According to Trucks.com, truck platooning is defined as digitally tethered lines of commercial vehicles driving in a formation to reduce following distance and save fuel. “We’re sending information directly from the front truck to the rear truck, information like engine torque, vehicle speed, brake application,” said Josh Switkes, founder of Peloton, a company leading the way for automated vehicles. “Whatever the front truck is doing, the rear truck is doing it instantly, automatically, very reliably” (Washington Post). Since the digital information is determining a fixed distance between the trucks platooning, it is expected to make truck driving safer. While platooning technology has not reached the market just yet, it is expected to change the trucking industry within the next two years. BI Intelligence did a test involving platooning trucks and reported the decreased wind resistance improved fuel efficiency of the lead truck by 4.5 percent, while the rear truck saw an improved rate of 10 percent. The cost of fuel is, not surprisingly, one of the most expensive components in trucking and this innovation has the industry feeling optimistic.
Flexible Sleeper Pilot Program
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is conducting a study called the Flexible Sleeper Berth Pilot Program that could change the way drivers rest. The program is a field operational test that allows drivers flexibility in their allotted hours-of-service (HOS) per day (FMCSA). The goal of this pilot study is to improve drivers’ quality of sleep and increase efficiency and productivity.
Under the current regulations, when a driver goes on duty, he or she has 14 hours that cannot be extended, paused, or interrupted in any way. Therefore, drivers are not allowed to participate in split-sleep. For example, if a driver has been on the road for 12 hours with two hours left until the destination, he or she would not be able to stop and nap before continuing. With current HOS regulations, the driver would then exceed the 14-hour clock, making the drive illegal (FreightWaves).
The Flexible Sleeper Berth Pilot Program will evaluate the feasibility of splitting drivers’ sleep time. Under the program, the FMCSA will monitor sleep and fatigue levels by using electronic logging devices (ELD), onboard video monitoring systems, and wrist-mounted sleep activity monitors. “It’s a game-changer to say the least, and of paramount importance for the long-haul sector of the industry,” said David Heller, vice president of government affairs at the Truckload Carriers Association. “It’s a great step in the right direction” (FreightWaves).
Virtual Reality Training
UPS will soon use virtual reality (VR) as part of their driver training. According to Trucks.com, VR can capture user data which can lead to companies being able to track how effective this new training method is compared to previous ones. VR training resembles a video game and can make the job more enticing to younger generations. “They’ll engage more, and that will make them a better driver and make us a safer organization,” said Damian Toledo, an on-road supervisor and driver trainer at UPS (Trucks.com). We can expect to see many other transportation companies following UPS and using virtual reality.
These are just the few innovations that will transform the trucking industry to work more efficiently. Here at Capstone, we use innovative platforms, scalable integrations, and real-time geo-tracking to ensure working with us is simple and stress free. Connect with a representative today to learn more.