Trucking is a vital pillar of Canada’s economy. In 2017, 90% of all shipments were hauled by a truck, as they transport essential goods across the country and into the U.S. In Canada, trucking companies produced just shy of 40 billion dollars in shipments in 2018. There’s no doubt without this industry, a lot of our privileges and necessities would disappear in a flash.
For such an important industry, more trucking companies are looking to think ahead. A few notable players are doing just that with some interesting, new trucking tactics to watch out for. Embracing innovative trucking technology can result in fuel cost savings, and increase both productivity and driver wellbeing while reducing collisions.
Peloton Technology Digital Truck Platooning
Josh Swiktes, the founder of Peloton Technology, is implementing a digital fix to save on fuel costs. A platoon, often seen in the military, is when a group travels closely together. When cars or trucks follow each other this way, it creates a vortex or tunnel in which follower vehicles travel with reduced wind resistance. Peloton is doing this digitally with Vehicle to Vehicle communications (V2V) to ensure information is sent to all vehicles including engine torque, vehicle speed and brake application timing. For trucking companies, this technology is still being tested and hasn’t reached the market yet, but it’s expected to in a couple of years.
Tests have shown some promising cost savings in fuel due to less energy needed for follower trucks. The leading truck saved about 4.5% in fuel costs, whereas the rear truck had a 10% increase in fuel efficiency. Fuel is one of the most costly expenses for trucking companies. Any technology that boasts and proves fuel savings is something to observe for the future of trucking.
FMCSA Flex Sleep Pilot Program
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the United States is trying a new program which may influence Canada. The program allows drivers to have more flexible sleeping hours than before in their allotted hours of service for the day. Similar to Canada, trucking companies cannot make truckers be on duty for more than 14 hours a day. This time cannot be extended from being off-duty.
As an example, let’s suppose a truck driver needed to drive through Vancouver during peak rush hour time (4-6 pm). Let’s say that this same driver is fatigued and has been on duty since 7 am. Instead of being able to nap for a few hours to avoid the traffic, the truck driver has to drive through the rush hour traffic, giving them a higher risk to get into a collision and also operating the vehicle much longer.
The sleep pilot project would allow drivers to rest when they’re actually sleepy. The FMCSA is looking at the feasibility of splitting up the drivers’ sleep time in their working hours to boost productivity and efficiency. Under the watch and guidance of the program, the drivers are being monitored with an array of devices. They include an electronic logging device to track sleep and fatigue, wrist sleep monitors, and onboard video systems. This industry-changing tactic can be simple to implement, and it simultaneously focuses on the driver's health and safety.
UPS Virtual Reality Training For Trucking Companies
Virtual reality is being executed today for business purposes, not just solely for entertainment. Commonly thought for just video games, virtual reality is being used for more accurate, modern driving simulations. United Postal Service (UPS) is a trucking company using VR to train student drivers. This tool for training is essential for practicing driving skills and identifying hazards on the road in a consequence-free environment. According to UPS, their students are challenged with road hazards like stray pedestrians, parked cars and traffic, which helps them achieve their vision of maximum company safety for everyone.
Thankfully, the simulation can easily be tracked for success. Virtual reality systems can capture user data to track VR’s effectiveness in training and information retention. For younger drivers, trucking companies predict VR will be a big driver of success. Since VR resembles a video game, it may make trucking positions more enticing for those generations.