The freight industry is constantly evolving and adapting to cater to current needs in the most efficient and price-effective manner possible. Electric Trucks, Artificial Intelligence and crowdsourcing freight are just some of these new trends. Have a look below:
- Electric Efficiency
Looking at how electric cars have changed the motoring landscape – from brands like Tesla leading the curve, to more affordable brands like Nissan and Chevrolet joining the fray, it won’t be long till large diesel guzzling semis will be a relic of the past.
While Tesla has made the biggest splash in the market with its all-electric Tesla Semi, other big brands like Daimler, Scania, Isuzu, and MAN aren’t far behind. Daimler, owner of high- profile companies like Mercedes, Smart, and Detroit Diesel has set up the E-Mobility group and has launched two fully electric freighters: The FUSO eCanter and the Mercedes-Benz eActros. While there are plans of bringing these vehicles to India soon, some Indians are taking matters in their own hands: CroyanceAutomotiv, a Gujarat based startup, has planned to launch two small Intermediary Commercial Vehicles (ICVs) – the Electro 1.tonne and Electro 2.tonne, and have already begun production at the beginning of this year.
With upcoming electric trucks boasting features like Turbo Charging and battery-powered range of a few hundred miles, while also offering incredibly high torque figures, while almost nullifying environmental impact, adoption rates are going to skyrocket.
- Highway Autonomy
Leading the self-driving curve in cars, Tesla shows up here again, with their autopilot feature, which will allow their trucks to be driven semi-autonomously, allowing the driver to relax at the wheel while controls like acceleration and braking are taken care of on simple roads and highways, with the driver still occasionally nudging the steering wheel as needed on more complex roads.
A nifty feature that Tesla aims to integrate is Platooning, which will allow their trucks to take up a formation and travel in a “Platoon” or a convoy, which results in reduced emissions, as trucks can travel in a slipstream of reduced drag, requiring lesser throttle input to maintain the same speed. It improves safety too, as acceleration and braking can be synchronized. Traffic jams will also see a decline, as more efficient use of the available roadways will be made possible.
Another company in the news is Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google, which also has its sights set on the self-driven trucking industry, with ongoing trials in Arizona and a goal of moving towards completely driverless trucks. Currently, their trucks are being used to deliver goods to Google data centers in Atlanta.
- Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things
Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are no longer just buzzwords that create confusion in the minds of anyone who isn’t an expert. It has already shown its worth in many industries, and trucking is the next on the list
Companies like XPO Logistics already use AI to make sure that shipments are moved in the most efficient manner for transport and delivery, cutting costs and time at every step, without cutting corners.
AI is also being used to analyze Dashcam footage to boost road safety. Companies like Nexar are making use of Computer Vision AI and Inter-Vehicle networking to fulfill their mission of making a world without road accidents, by creating sophisticated tools to detect and warn drivers against potential road hazards and record them to improve their algorithms.
Another advancement in this field is the use of the Internet of Things to track the condition of vehicles and ensure road safety. Large commercial trucks broken down are a common sight on most highways and are more than likely there because of poor maintenance. Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of accidents due to poorly maintained trucks, and thousands of people lose their lives. Accidents like brake failure, tire blowouts, and steering inoperability are just the tip of the iceberg.
IoT is now beginning to be used to keep a track of vehicle status, with sensors in all operational vehicle components reporting back their statistics over time, and alerts set up to warn drivers if any value is over a safe threshold. Many systems allow this data to be accessed directly via a smartphone, which makes accessibility a breeze, and also opens windows towards predictive maintenance, reducing costs and time spent on remedial maintenance.
- Book it like an Uber
Software-based freight forwarding services are beginning to make booking a truck a piece of cake. Services like Convoy, launched in 2015, are now getting popular, as customers turn online for help with their shipping needs. Convoy claims to use AI to match freight loads withtrucks, with nearly 100% automation, allowing for quicker bookings with fewer phone calls, while reducing costs.
Another big player in this space, Flexport, a company raking 24thon this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list, uses cloud-based software and data analytics to customize their service to their clients’ needs, prioritizing shipments and providing true transit times using Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)
Not far behind, Uber launched its Uber Freight service in 2017. Uber Freight is helping improve driver satisfaction by assured payments and facility ratings, and ensuring that no truck goes empty, by helping match the right load with the right driver and bolstering revenue.
Software-based freight forwarding is most definitely the way forward for small scale truckers find shippers and vice versa, keeping a steady inflow of work, a commission rate low enough to keep both parties satisfied, while also maintaining a standard set of regulations to keep things in check.
- Conquer the Last Mile
Last-mile delivery, like it says, is the last stage of delivery of an item to its destination. It is also the most tedious. Last-mile delivery is a key component to the success of E-Commerce, and is the reason for the popularity of services like Amazon Prime Now, and involves the use of smaller carriers to deliver products.
Every day, online retailers sell goods to millions of people, and often, goods leaving from the same warehouse at the same time, being shipped to the same area, reach at different times through different routes. Such is the inefficiency of the current last-mile supply chain. This is expected to change drastically over the next few years, with trucking services collaborating with smaller vendors to provide an all-inclusive shipping experience.
Designated routes for trucks are being mapped out, and AI is being used to find the best ways to run these routes faster, while spending lesser money and fuel and carrying out deliveries at precise timings, allowing real-time E-Commerce services to grow, and paving a whole new path of logistical challenges to overcome.
If you are a part of the transportation industry, or are simply a truck enthusiast, all you require is regular updates on what is happening in this sphere around the globe. With BabaTrucks, you can rest assured that all important updates and exciting news will come your way. BabaTrucks can be your one-stop shop to know everything about commercial vehicles, and can be your partner in efficient trucking!