Living in the technology age has impacted the lifestyle of everyday Americans in large and small ways. From the constant connectivity we enjoy — or rue — to smart technologies and even the friendly Alexa, who plays our favorite music, sets morning alarms, and answers our every question, we are fully immersed in technology. To say that technology influences every aspect of our lives would be something of an understatement. Next-generation advancements have also made their way into the trucking industry.
Millennials who have grown up using the latest electronic devices and are considering a career as a trucker will be pleased to know that the industry utilizes cutting-edge trucking technology. In fact, during the first half of 2019, more than $2 billion was invested in firms focused on technology for semi trucks. For job-seekers who enjoy the latest gadgets and conveniences, we are pleased to tell you that truck system technology has caught up to the times. Today’s manufacturers are outfitting vehicles with trucking technology drivers may never have anticipated.
Convenient Lifestyle Technology for Semi Trucks
Much like the car, SUV, and pickup truck industry, semi-truck manufacturers have made electronic pleasantries standard trucking technology items in the latest models. Many of the recent models are outfitted with Bluetooth capabilities, integrated GPS systems, SIRIUS radio options, the latest climate control systems, and many others.
This trend only makes good common sense given that truck drivers spend more time on the road than people in just about any other occupation. Truck makers have also gone a step further by readying semis for upgrades and personal options. Many of the late-year models can seamlessly be accessorized with these and other helpful gadgets.
- Mini Refrigerators
- Video Screens for Downtime
- WiFi Boosters
- Echo Dot (Alexa)
Basically, any electronic gadget that a car, SUV, or pickup truck can utilize, today’s semis can handle in spades. Hard-working Americans need not surrender their lifestyle while delivering America’s goods and materials. And like the car manufacturing industry, heavy load trucks have never been easier to handle.
Automatic Transmissions Trending in Truck System Technology
The age of steering wheels that required significant upper-body strength to handle has gone the way of the dinosaur. Many of the other hyper-physical aspects of working as a trucker are extinct as well. Late-model semi-trucks utilize the same next-generation technologies as even high-end automobiles. Enhanced power steering, advanced braking systems are standard in new models.
What may surprise people considering a high-paying career as a professional trucker is that more and more semi-trucks are coming off assembly lines with automatic transmissions. Yes, people who were once worried about their ability to manage a heavy truck’s shifting in critical situations can put that apprehension behind them. The fundamental thinking behind this trend is that automatics can improve driver safety in the following ways.
- Reduced shifting allows truck drivers to improve focus on the road.
- Removing unnecessary shifting helps reduce driver fatigue.
- Reduced shifting improves a driver’s ability to take defensive action in critical situations.
- Automatic transmissions enhance vehicle performance.
Truckers won’t miss a beat as automatics emerge as the new normal because automatics don’t miss a gear.
Trucking Technology Supports Green Initiatives
People who work in the trucking industry are aware that curbing CO2 emissions is in all of our best interest. Fossil fuel reductions in personal vehicles have become highly popular. And although the challenge of developing a semi-truck that runs without diesel may have seemed impossible, electric heavy commercial trucks are expected in the coming years.
Tesla, Toyota, and other manufacturers have begun developing hydrogen fuel-cell trucks with 300- to 600-mile capabilities. While this remains impractical for long-haul drivers, semi-trucks with 1,000-mile abilities are the long-term goal. These are expected soon as manufacturers appear to be waiting on improved fueling infrastructure. As infrastructure commitments swell, trucking companies have already begun pre-ordering electric trucks.
Improved Safety and Convenience in Truck System Technology
As fleets swell their ranks with the latest, technologically advanced semi-trucks, decision-makers will have a wealth of add-ons to consider. Trucking technology experts have taken a long look at the operations side and created options that can improve safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. These are optional technologies that many trucking companies are finding beneficial.
This offshoot of truck tracking allows fleet managers to review the time and efficiency of deliveries as the truck moves from stop to stop. Hand-selected or traditional routes can be re-examined for inherent time deficiencies that may arise from traffic, road construction or other impediments. Known as “dynamic routing,” emerging technologies allow for rerouting or rethinking pickups and deliveries using hard data. Shaving time off routes can prove valuable.
If you have watched a police show on television, it’s abundantly clear these devices provide fact-based information. Fleet operations are finding that the advanced technologies in dashcam video add-ons can save them money by lowering the risk of potential collisions and fraudulent insurance claims. When a crash occurs at no fault of the trucker, the dashcam video provides evidence.
Truck Driver Scoreboards
This technology reviews driver habits and identifies areas that may require improvement or further training. Driver “score-carding” has proven beneficial for upstart drivers who may have habits such as hard braking, excessive acceleration, and other areas that put people at unnecessary risk. While carriers enjoy the cost benefits of improved fuel efficiency and lower the risk of accidents, it can be a useful tech mentoring tool for beginner drivers.
Emerging collision mitigation systems are re-inventing the tools truckers have at their disposal to avoid crashes. It’s well-known that personal vehicle drivers are not always aware of the necessary safe distance required for a fully loaded truck to effect a complete stop. Newer semi-trucks are being equipped with improved sensor technologies that monitor crashes ahead and assist drivers in taking defensive actions. Some of the new sensor systems are being retrofitted into older vehicles and those with outdated technologies.
Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are part of the technology fabric of today’s trucking industry. As the now-outdated automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) are phased out, truckers will no longer need to worry that their logbooks are not quite in order during roadside inspections. Hours of service and other report-driven penalties will soon be a thing of the past. Cutting edge technologies such as this are making truck driving jobs easier and more stress-free.
From lifestyle conveniences to tracking the temperature in a refrigerator box, trucking technology continues to positively impact the industry and daily duties of truck drivers everywhere. There has never been a better time to embark on a career in trucking. The lucrative and secure opportunities found on reputable trucking jobs boards make that fact clear.