According to a report from the Department of Transportation’s National Transportation Systems Center, emerging technologies may have a significant impact on U.S. and global transportation systems in three to five years. Read on to learn about the top three emerging trucking technologies.
1. Internet Of Things
The internet of things is defined as a network of interconnected devices embedded in physical objects, animals or people. The internet of things is already being used in many industries, but it is expected to expand into the trucking industry within the next few years. Devices could be embedded in roads to communicate road conditions and road maintenance issues with drivers in real time. The devices could also be worn by drivers to monitor alertness and physiological conditions while they are driving to help detect fatigue. These technology devices give the trucking industry the ability to collect real-time data from a variety of sources to help with process improvement.
2. Self-Driving Trucks
Autonomous driving technology is already being tested in commercial trucks. Self-driving trucks would allow drivers to turn over the controls to an automated driver. There are different levels of automation being developed. For example, one level allows the driver to hand over control for a limited time during certain conditions. Fully automated trucks are still an uncertainty, but they aren’t out of the question.
3. 3-D Printing
3-D printing technologies have been around for several years, but as 3-D printers become more accessible, the technology has more of an impact on the trucking industry. 3-D printers are already used for vehicle prototyping to develop more efficient trucks and to create replacement truck parts. For freight, the printers mean more localized production, which equals less of a need for long-distance transportation of parts. The increase in use of 3-D printers would increase short-distance local deliveries. 3-D printers could also add to a shift in overseas production back to the U.S.
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