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Trying to keep up with all of the new technology coming to market every day can sometimes feel overwhelming. As the great Bob Dylan said, “you’d better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changin’.” So start kicking your feet and flailing your arms as we swim through the newest trucking industry technology to watch for in 2020.


Self-driving trucks


Self-driving cars are still not widely accepted on public roads, so a self-driving 80,000 lb. death machine is much, much further in the distance. But the advancements that self-driving semi trucks are making is sure to pick up more steam in 2020. As of right now, the most advanced self-driving trucks rest at level 2, meaning that they can reliably drive themselves after the driver has exited the yard and entered a highway. They cannot reliably enter or exit highways themselves. In 2020, we should all be on the lookout for level 3 automation. Level 3 is defined by the vehicle performing most basic maneuvers themselves, from turning onto new roads and changing lanes. 


No matter the advanced degree of automation, all trucks will continue to require a human present for the foreseeable future. Even as Tesla’s civilian vehicles become almost completely autonomous, a human is still required to be in the driver’s seat to monitor everything. Truly human-less semi trucks aren’t feasible until technology reaches a level 5, which is a far cry from where we are today. 


Driver-facing cameras


You can’t walk down any small town Main Street or residential neighborhood today without your face being picked up on at least one camera. Though it feels terribly intrusive, it does have its benefits. In 2020, we’re sure to see an increase in the adoption of driver-facing cameras. Such cameras are often paired with dashcams and record the driver’s face as he or she is operating the vehicle. Many companies, such as Exeros Technology, are introducing what they call “driver fatigue management” systems. Fancy way of saying a camera mounted on the dashboard that detects prolonged blinking and drivers looking away from the road. This technology claims to help drivers stay focused and safe while operating their vehicle. We’re betting that more fleets will begin introducing this software to protect their drivers and equipment, but we’ll have to wait and see. 


Internet Of Things 


For the less ‘techy’ among us, the IoT just sounds like, well… the internet. It’s much more than that, though. The IoT is an aggregate of countless values, strewn together to produce information or an action that you desire. The IoT has been around for years, but is just recently becoming much more familiar in the trucking industry. 


Let’s look at an example of the power of the IoT and how it helps trucking companies improve efficiency. ABC Trucking is moving a load for Pacific Seafood from Seattle to Denver. The IoT can connect the various different tracking, mapping, monitoring, and communications platforms that ABC Trucking and Pacific Seafood use in their logistics process. In real-time, Pacific Seafood can see that John Doe from ABC Trucking signed the Bill of Lading at 06:15 and is currently on I-84 outside of Boise traveling at 68 MPH. On the same platform, Pacific Seafood can see that John Doe will likely hit 14 hours right around Twin Falls. During his rest period, sensors on the truck can tell Pacific Seafood that their load has maintained their desired temperature, all of the tires are properly inflated, and none of their freight has shifted during the drive. Today, most companies have to consult a few different platforms to see all of this information. With the IoT, all of that data can be connected and placed into one platform, with AI giving educated insight into each individual trip. It can tell ABC Trucking where the best place to fill the truck up will be, where they’re likely to hit traffic, how well the driver is staying between the lines, and which tires are at risk of underinflation. 


In 2020, keep your eye out for companies to leverage the IoT to provide better tracking and fleet management to both large and small carriers. 


Dashcams? Why limit to just the dashboard?


Dashcams on semi trucks are certainly nothing new. It seems that a new video circulates on social media of a car crash recorded from a truck’s dashcam. But recently, carriers have started to ask why those cameras are only on the dashboard. After all, they’re inexpensive, useful for office staff to monitor, and provide direct evidence in the event of an accident. Many companies are installing various cameras and monitors inside the cab for the driver’s convenience. These cameras are also useful for office staff to view in real-time. Side and rear cameras can inform companies’ of the environment surrounding the truck while cargo cameras keep an eye on the freight. 


Oh the times, they are a changin’. Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable. The industry is constantly finding new ways to keep drivers safer, improve efficiency, and keep shippers more informed. Regardless of the changing landscape, trailers will always need to be moved. Whether to be repositioned or delivered to new owners, there are thousands of load-out and tow-away trailers needing moved every day in every region of North America. For 18 years, Onewaytrailers has been connecting these trailers to trucks that are moving in that same direction. Hundreds of carriers use Onewaytrailers to cut out bobtailing, utilize empty trailers, and earn extra income. Get started today by signing up for free at Onewaytrailers.com.