Ready to Buy Used Computers, Memory Cards, and Radar Systems?
One thing I am sure about is that we are not going back to what we called “normal”. Not long ago the dates 2025 and 2030 were considered as the “future” . But now we are just a few years away, and things are changing very fast. Cryptocurrency, electronic on board computers that make the truck stop by itself, driver physiology monitoring, these are already here. And if we look at Nirvana’s sales success, the trucks are going to sell themselves. What are we going to do ?
On the truck side, the preventive maintenance cycles are going to be extended (as the sparkplugs on cars today) to the point where maybe it needs a handful of PM’s for the life of the powertrain. Driver Assistance systems will equal what we see on cars today. These include lane assist, auto braking, smart cruise, pre-collision radar, pedestrian detector, night vision, voice commands, and more. Add to the changes an influx on non-proven Hydrogen, Electric, and Gas trucks. All of them with huge incentives that companies will jump to get. The learning curve to be versatile in all of these is big, but to remain in the trade you have to go through it.
On the Owner Operator side the integral computers and EOBR’s will monitor everything they do while in the truck. Truck speed, sudden maneuvers, hours of service, fatigue, and concentration aids. The EOBR will also generate their tax filings. The 24-7 data collection will automatically give to the dispatcher the company driver and truck metrics with warning flags to minimize any liabilities. This system will have to work and we will have to explain them to the users, somehow limiting our liability.
On the Used Truck side, if we thought a plugged DPF was an issue, wait until the data gets corrupted on one of these systems and we need to do an update. Whom and where is going to be the key, and add a premium to that service.
I am not saying all of these things are negative. These are things we need to start thinking about and getting ready for because the change is going to be fast. I see the “new” normal in trucking being based on making sure the cost of operation is the key of the operation by means of integrated technology. I see more drop-and-hook type operations that will require less driver involvement with the load itself.
All these advances will be followed by new regulations and that may benefit companies over owner operators.
The “last mile” delivery is also going through a revolution. It used to be that youngsters got a job at the market packing grocery bags. Today they are delivering the groceries to the customer. Amazon, UPS, Postmates, DoorDash, Ubereats, Grubhub, are just the start. And many of these deliveries don’t use a truck anymore. Regulation is delaying drone delivery but for how long? Last mile delivery is already robotized in Europe and arriving here in a year or two. And all of this will happen in less than five years.
Trucking will remain as the most effective way to move product to market. And “trucks” will still be the vehicle to do trucking. But let’s stay on top of technological advancements because I believe that is what we are going to be selling. Technology on wheels.