For heavy-duty trucking, one annual event stands out as the ultimate showcase of the big rigs, businesses, and breakthroughs that are moving the whole world forward. Called the “three biggest days in trucking,” the Mid-America Trucking Show took over Louisville, KY in a big-time event that drew in nearly 75,000 attendees from all 50 states and 67 countries.
PRECO was there to soak it all in, and we wanted to give you a quick run-down of the new trucking technology buzzing around the expo center.The tech factor in trucking is rapidly gaining ground, but what’s actually making its way to the streets? More to the point, how will it impact you—and even improve the way you move?
Did you know 80 percent of truck accidents are caused by passenger car drivers? Thankfully, technology is here to save the day, and save you from costly damages—usually averaging in $100,000 to $200,000 for property damage, and $1 million for fatalities.
Several critical safety technologies have either already hit the road, or are in the final stages in development: antilock breaking systems, collision avoidance systems, stability control, lane departure and blind spot warning devices, interior cameras, rear view cameras, and side monitor cameras and sensors.
How do they play out in real life? Forward-facing video cameras can help capture evidence on fault following an accident, for example. The use of cameras might even eliminate the need for mirrors, and save on fuel costs by taking out the drag mirrors create.
Everything from platooning to aerodynamic design to powertrain improvements could help save on fuel costs. The rear truck in a two-person platoon, for example, could save up to 10 percent in overall costs, with the truck in front saving 4.5 percent.
Aerodynamic design also offers more than sleek eye-appeal. A 25 percent reduction in drag could generate between a 5 to 15 percent savings. “Wheel covers alone can generate savings of $500 to $800 per truck per year,” said Derek Kaufman, managing partner of Schwartz Advisors and the president of C3 Network, LLC.
In powertrain technology, the big trends are in downsized or downsped engines, alternative fuels, and automated manual transmissions. With battery technology now allowing for smaller sizes and more power, electric vehicles could be coming down the road more quickly than we imagined too.
Telematics have dramatically changed the way fleets communicate with trucks and drivers—and the way vehicles talk to each other. With new developments, the costs of implementing a telematics system are only coming down, and a ton of apps are now hitting the market.
Embedded software could also change the way we approach the repair and mechanical servicing trucks, by automatically signaling when a part has gone awry.
Technology will always be on the move, but this spring PRECO is hitting the major tradeshows around the nation and beyond to stay on the cutting edge of what’s happening in our industry. We’ll keep you posted on what’s happening all around the world in the realm of heavy-duty trucking.