Connected Truck, ‘Disruptive’ Truck


Efforts to electronically link all the disparate components on trucks with each other as well as the outside world will disrupt the industry, according to experts at the Technology & Maintenance (TMC) annual meeting.

As reported by Fleet Owner:

Troy Clarke, president and CEO of Navistar, explained that boosting truck utilization via various technological systems offers a “tremendous alignment” of interests for fleets, shippers, and anyone else involved in the freight industry, as more connected trucks not only makes fleets more efficient but improves distribution networks for shippers while potentially helping reduce “congestion pressures” by decreasing the number of trucks required for freight service.

“The connected truck is that platform, the access point for all the data,” Clarke stressed.

Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) – the parent organization for TMC – expressed similar thoughts regarding how technology will change trucking, especially in terms of autonomous systems.

Though the adoption of truly self-driving trucks remains a long way off – some 20 to 25 years in ATA’s view – Spear’s believes they offer a more serious “business case” for motor carriers compared to everyday motorists.

Chris Villavarayan, president of the Americas for Meritor, explained to Fleet Owner that going forward suppliers and OEMs alike are focused on three major design elements when it comes to commercial vehicles: efficiency, safety and driver comfort – with all three affected by the growing use of technology.

“When we talk safety, for example, we’re talking about radar; we’re talking about ADAS [advanced driver assistance systems]; and we’re talking about automatic emergency braking,” he explained to Fleet Owner.

When it comes to driver comfort, Villavarayan said it is about using items such as electronic logging devices … which relieve (drivers) of the “burdens” associated with operating a commercial vehicle.

David Pardue, vice president of connected vehicle and uptime services at Mack Trucks, explained to Fleet Owner that motor carriers themselves, large and small alike, are quickly “maturing” where discussions of such technologies are concerned.

“The types of questions we are fielding today are light years from where we were just three years ago,” he said. “It’s not just about being compliant with the ELD mandate anymore; it’s about how do I leverage that technology to handle fuel tax reporting, provide tracking and tracing, and many other services.

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