Commentary: Get Ready for Trucking’s Future

19 May by Vitaliy Dadalyan

Commentary: Get Ready for Trucking’s Future

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Jack Roberts

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Jack Roberts

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A century ago, the fledgling U.S. trucking industry helped transform an agrarian nation into an industrial one. And as the industry gained strength, it played a major role in transforming that newly industrialized country into the world’s first superpower. Today, it seems, trucking is preparing to transform the globe — with technology leading the way.

Historically, our industry has never been much of a technology leader. For one thing, trucking took most of its technology cues from the passenger car side of the automotive industry. For another thing, technology costs money. And trucking has always been (and always will be) about efficiently moving freight at the lowest possible cost. Historically, most fleets weren’t willing to pay for new tech unless there was a proven cost benefit. And let’s face it — for most of the past century, it was possible to largely ignore new technology and still remain competitive. Simply run older equipment and let somebody else work all the bugs out of the new stuff, the thinking went.

Those days, however, are gone.

For one thing, government regulations are forcing fleets to adopt new technology, whether it’s electronic logging devices or emissions reduction equipment.

And then there are the original equipment manufacturers. Once, vehicle makers designed trucks for specific counties and regions, with North America arguably the most important market on the planet. Today, OEMs are global companies with vehicle platforms and powertrains that must perform well anywhere on the planet and meet a host of emissions and safety regulations. It’s never been cheap to design a truck and put it into production, and today it’s more expensive than ever. So, increasingly, American trucks are being built with advanced technologies sourced from all over. So if truck fleets in China or Europe want platooning and autonomous and automated technologies, it …Read the rest of this story


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