The trucking industry is facing a host of challenges, according to Michael Dearden, president of Dearden & Associates Inc. The ongoing ramifications of the pandemic, governmental regulations, climate change, and technology are some of the challenges he mentioned when speaking at a recent NationaLease meeting. From that list, technology will present the biggest challenge to all aspects of the trucking industry.
“New technologies are driving some of the greatest changes we’ve seen in trucking in quite some time,” Dearden said. He added that these changes are not just new hardware and software being brought to the old business model, but rather represent significant changes to the vehicles themselves and how they will be sold and serviced.
Today’s trucks have more chips, sensors, and circuits than the first spaceship that went to the moon, he reminded us.
“Smart trucks will disrupt our industry in ways far beyond previous equipment upgrades,” he added. Everyone from manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, and leasing companies, need to be aware of the capabilities of these smart trucks so they can help fleets, drivers and technicians take advantage of the efficiencies they will provide.
There is no clear answer about who will build, own, operate, and maintain the trucks of the future, nor about who will control the data they generate. However, all that will be worked out as the technologies unfold.
See also: The future of vehicle connectivity
Dearden said we are seeing the emergence of new businesses based on the capabilities of these smart trucks. He believes that smart trucks reduce the need for human involvement. Consider this: They can process 1,200 scenarios a second. They also will be able to access information from the environment and share it in real time. He said that today there already is software available that can independently match a truck to its next nearest load without the need for a broker or human intervention. Who knows what is next?
We do know that in the future, the trucking industry will look very different. The winners will be those who stay informed about the upcoming changes and put in place a strategy to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the changes. One thing is certain, continuing along the path of business as usual will not win the day.
Jane Clark focuses on managing the member services operation at NationaLease as vice president of member services. She works to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups.