This has been one helluva year for the trucking industry. Between talks of autonomous trucks and Elon Musk and others announcing that electric trucks are the greatest thing since slice bread, trucking has gotten its share of attention from the general public.
There are so many new ideas swirling around the industry not just about trucks but also 3D printing of parts, blockchain to optimize the supply chain, etc.
I am excited about all of these developments even if only half of them pan out and even if they happen years later than originally predicted. What I am excited about is all this thought being directed at our industry from both within the industry and by some folks from outside the industry.
Much of this interest is focused on making the industry more efficient in some way or another either by directly impacting fuel economy or just improving the overall efficiency of freight movement.
We had confirmation of this trend earlier this year when seven fleets demonstrated their commitment to sharing best practices with others in the industry. Our Run on Less, cross-country roadshow, demonstrated that with a combination of technology and driver behavior it is possible to get to 10.1 miles per gallon in the real world today. The response to the event was overwhelming and we’ve had lots of conversations with fleets, manufacturers, suppliers and other industry stakeholders about how to take lessons learned from the Run and help them get more widespread adoption by a cross section of fleets.
We also veered from our “normal” path of studying commercially available technologies and released Confidence Reports in two-truck platooning and variable engine-driven accessories. We plan to do more of that in the coming year to help sift through all the information about some of these new exciting technologies so that you get “the sausage” and not just “the sizzle.” While we are excited about the new developments, we want to make sure we focus on the reality of what these technologies can and cannot do and not get caught up in the hype and glamour.
This got us to thinking about how NACFE can help you with the potentially revolutionary change of highly automated or even fully electric trucks. We will soon announce a series of Guidance Reports in some of these areas.
This year we saw the beginning of what will likely be some significant changes to our industry. Can’t wait to see what 2018 brings. Happy New Year.