As the transportation industry faces more pressure to increase profitability, maintain a reliable workforce, and meet stricter regulations, will technology help solve these challenges?
While the focus is on commercial transportation and logistics, the projections and insights are also relevant for other sectors like government, education, energy, and construction that run commercial fleets. Across the board, there is an apparent and growing need to automate processes and optimize operations through connected technology:
Commercial vehicles: a move from remote to predictive diagnostics
Many commercial trucks are manufactured with connected diagnostics that remotely diagnose issues and error codes. Through remote diagnostics, companies are able to react quickly to problems and schedule necessary repairs and maintenance. However, there is also the potential to take a more proactive approach through the integration of connected sensors that identify issues before they even arise. A move from remote to predictive diagnostics will help companies reduce unnecessary maintenance and costs.
Commercial drivers: transitioning from manual processes to automated solutions
Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are mandatory in the United States, and Canada’s rules are expected to be finalized and phased in over the next year. These connected devices replace manual log keeping with automated hour tracking, but the potential is to incorporate additional functionality into the devices to further decrease time spent on administration. Digitizing workflows and integrating collaboration systems like instant messaging will help increase driver efficiency and productivity.
Looking ahead to autonomous vehicles
With 80% of collisions caused by distracted driving, there is a pressing need to keep drivers focused on the road. Driver Assistance Systems have come a long way and some companies are even rolling out distraction-tracking systems that use advanced sensor technologies to monitor everything from heart rate and eye movements, to head and arm positioning. Many companies still have their sights on the driverless trucks of the future that will make distraction and other bad habits a moot point (if the technology can prove safe enough).
Operations and freight: from intelligent routing to intelligent loading and alerting
The transportation industry uses GPS technology for wayfinding purposes, and has for quite some time. Currently, many companies also make use of cloud-based applications for intelligent routing that helps utilize drive time. The next goal will take intelligent routing further by utilizing freight capacity to avoid trips with partial loads.
Cold chain monitoring is also projected to become smarter as regulations become more stringent. In order to keep cargo safe, logistics companies will need to look beyond the standard in-vehicle thermometers to the adoption of connected sensors that send alerts to drivers when there is an issue so they can act to save perishable cargo.
Now is an exciting time to adopt connected transportation solutions
Of course, it’s not just transportation companies that will benefit from connected IoT solutions. Governments, education, public services and many private businesses rely on fleets for day-to-day operations and could also improve their operational efficiency, safety, and budgets by adopting connected technologies.