Keep an eye on these disruptive technologies

The trucking industry is being bombarded with a host of technologies that could prove to be disruptive. At the recent NationaLease Annual Meeting, Matt Clark, COO of Corcentric, shared his thoughts on the Top 10 disruptive technologies. In order to be successful, you need to be aware of these technologies and stay informed of new developments.

Here’s a look at Matt’s Top 10.

  1. Additive manufacturing — Also known as 3-D printing, additive manufacturing “prints” solid objects in layers. In trucking, additive manufacturing can be used for replacement parts especially for older vehicles where it does not make economic sense to continue to manufacturer parts on a large-scale basis. The technology allows for on-demand manufacturing.
  1. Advanced robotics — Think of this as tools with enhanced senses. They can be used for tasks that once were considered too delicate or not economical enough to automate. Robotics can replace a lot of human labor in the manufacturing process.
  1. Artificial Intelligence — This is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines including learning, reasoning and self-correction. When you think AI, think autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants and “smart” advisors.
  1. Blockchain — This technology could transform inventory management in multi-party supply chains by fostering complete transparency and trust.
  1. Drones — These unmanned aerial vehicles can either be remote controlled or move autonomously. They are being deployed for package delivery, construction, agriculture and weather monitoring.
  1. Internet of Things — IoT is about equipping objects or beings with sensors and connectivity to collect, evaluate and transfer data without human intervention. It can be used to monitor machinery and the structural integrity of bridges among other things.
  1. Machine learning — This technology allows computers to learn without being explicitly programmed to do so. It is focused on the development of programs that can evolve when exposed to new information. For trucking the most obvious application is improving the way autonomous vehicles recognize objects and topography of the road.
  1. Software robotics — “Bots” can automate a series of tasks that a person would normally do. This includes analyzing entries in an email stream and writing responses. It is already being used in customer support applications.
  1. Virtual and augmented reality — VR creates complete digital “worlds,” and AR augments images of reality. It has been used in manufacturing and has seen success in training.
  2. Wearables — This includes devices ranging from wristbands and necklaces to chips embedded in clothing.

In future blogs, I plan to continue to share new developments in these 10 areas and any other technology that has the possibility of disrupting the trucking industry.

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