The marvels of technology

May 30, 2017
Technology is pushing our industry forward in ways we never dreamed of before.

I was there and saw it with my own eyes. It was amazing and inspiring.

As some of you know I have spent the month of May in the Indianapolis area which is why I was lucky enough to see Sam Schmidt and Mario Andretti race across the finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week.

While two race cars crossing the finish line is not usually cause for awe, this was a special moment as one of the cars, a Corvette Z206, was being driven by Schmidt, who is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a 2000 crash at Orlando’s Walt Disney World Speedway.

What made it possible for Schmidt to get back into a racecar was technology developed by Arrow Electronics. He steered the company’s semi-autonomous racecar by turning his head left and right and Sam controlled the braking and accelerating by blowing and sucking on a straw.  And while Andretti crossed the finish line first, I believe all of us won that day. For one thing Arrow’s efforts give hope for improved mobility for those with disabilities. Arrow also says it is not patenting any of the technology which will allow other folks to fine tune and improve it.

The whole thing got me thinking about how technology can be a game changer in trucking too. From electric and fuel cell trucks, platooning to autonomous trucks to safety enhancements and even fuel efficiency improvements, technology is pushing our industry forward in ways we never dreamed of before.

What I think is really exciting is all the great minds we have in the trucking industry. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for us in the future. Of course, I am most interested in the developments surrounding improved fuel efficiency, but I as an engineer I am excited to see where these great minds take us in other areas of trucking as well.

The possibilities are endless.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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