Before now, the trucking industry has not really experienced the influence of technology. At least, trucking tech has never drastically changed the direction of the industry as it will be. Yes, we have seen legislation for cleaner emissions, and we have implemented GPS and are even using various apps to stay on top of road and vehicle conditions. But now we are faced with trucking tech that could overhaul the way we do business at large. ELDs, electric trucks, self-driving vehicles, and more are right around the corner, and many in the trucking industry are resisting change, or not making preparations for change to occur.
Preparing For Upcoming Trucking Tech
For a good two years, the trucking industry has known that ELDs were going to become mandatory. With ELDs monitoring the hours drivers put in on the road, a number of questions were raised. Will electronic monitoring devices result in decreased pay? Will shipments have to be reconfigured to ensure they arrive at their destinations on time while staying with the federal guidelines? Will lobbying groups for the trucking industry pull out a last-minute stay on mandated ELDs? Tomorrow is December, and in a poll of 2,300 fleets last month, roughly 45 percent were ready for ELD legislation to take effect. ELDs are not exactly new trucking tech, but with a two-year grace period to get on the same page and such a low percentage of conversion, how is the industry going to handle the bigger changes?
Trucking Tech And Big Changes
Trucking tech does not stop at federal mandates. Ultimately, trucking tech appeals to the wallets of those who make the financial decisions for fleets, large carriers, and even independent operators. Wal-Mart and others will be launching fleets comprised of Tesla’s electric trucks by 2019. That is only a little over a year away. The reasoning is that the cost of running electric trucks is a little over 20 percent cheaper than regular diesel-powered class 8 vehicles. This goes a long way with accounting departments, business owners, and marketers. The public wants to see companies who are making the move to “go green,” and transporting goods throughout the country with electric vehicles is a great way to get them to open their wallets instead of going to the competition. Additionally, we have self-driving trucks rolling out in 2020. Advancements of trucking tech are even allowing for platooning between self-driving vehicles.
What To Do About Change?
For those who have spent years In the trucking industry, or who possible work in a trucking family going back a few generations, and even those who are thinking about new careers in trucking and seeing the big changes on the horizon, we have to ask ourselves what we are going to do. Resisting change is not the answer. Rolling over for change when the trucking industry is not being educated on emerging trucking tech, or being offered alternative to co-exist with technology is also not a viable solution. We need to find a medium to preserve the people that make the trucking industry great, while also allowing for the innovation that makes jobs safer and more efficient.