Advances in automated vehicular technology may change the heavy haul trucking industry sooner than you think. The beginning of the year is giving way to the introduction of newer, more efficient means of trucking that could increase driver satisfaction and save fuel. Namely, new technologies in platooning—combined with the impending debut of automated trucks are expected to make cargo transport more economically viable.
Platooning is the act of travelling behind another large freight in order to save fuel. New technology was recently introduced that would allow packs of 2 to 5 tightly contained, digitally connected heavy haul trucks to drive in formation with one another. Using automated trucks in combination with platooning would essentially save fuel by decreasing wind resistance. Braking and acceleration would be linked between the first and last fleets via synced communication systems between the vehicles. Because fuel is the largest cost of operation for most fleets, this method can result in positive projections for a trucking company’s bottom line. Even better, this new technology is expected to become available by the end of the year, making the accessibility of these benefits invaluable.
Advanced driver assistive systems (ADAS) are also projected to increase the autonomy of heavy haul trucking. While it is still questionable whether this will look like a self-driving fleet, the Society of Automotive Engineers has a system in place that categorizes vehicle autonomy into six different levels. There are ADAS vehicles controlled by radar that allow for “feet off” cruise control and “hands off” use. This method can lift some of the stress and burden off long-haul drivers, who are often on the road for ten hours at a time. The industry’s notorious shortage of drivers—due in part to the long, stressful hours of the job—may improve from automation because it could make the job more appealing.
Contrary to popular belief, ADAS can also offer heavy haul truckers safety benefits. Many feel hesitant about having automated technology in control of something as dangerous as a semi-truck. However, a report by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute states that “if all semi-trucks were fitted with forward collision avoidance or automatic braking,” fatalities would drop by 44 percent and injuries would decrease by 47 percent. Automation, along with artificial intelligence, could reinvent the trucking industry to help it become more efficient, technologically innovative, and fiscally lucrative.
At LTA Logistics, our adept team of transport specialists is always looking for more efficient means of heavy haul trucking. If you have needs pertaining to the transport of heavy cargo, don’t hesitate to contact us at (888) 502-0582 for more information.