Innovation is a cornerstone of any industry that wants to remain competitive in the wider market, and trucking is no exception. Over the last ten years there have been a wide range of new technologies and practices that have seen trucks and heavy haulage trailers become more capable and less costly. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the most memorable ones that have occurred over the last decade and see what they mean for us in the future.
An increase in demand
There’s more trucks and trailers being built every year than ever before. There are many reasons behind this phenomenon, primarily the increase in demands on shipping. More and more people are selling and buying items to and from far-away locations, and they need to be moved quickly. Global truck production was measured at just over four million units in 2017, which in turn was up 10% from 2015 figures.
More trucks means there will be an increased demand for more drivers, engineers, repair technicians and support staff, changing the employment landscape for some time to come.
Automation on the rise
Autonomous vehicles are a technology ecosystem that has become more widespread in mainstream usage far faster than initial predictions made out. Every major trucking company has embarked on their own research into the area, and companies like Tesla, Uber and Alphabet are offering their own autonomous heavy haulage solutions to the market.
The advantages of autonomous vehicles include obvious decreases in driver fatigue and error, the ability to get deliveries made faster and reduce fuel consumption. Through a technique called Truck Platooning, autonomous vehicles can position themselves close together on long stretches of road. This reduces wind resistance for every vehicle behind the pilot, which in turn reduces emissions by up to 16%. This kind of technique would be extremely hazardous with human drivers.
The global straggler – the electric vehicle
As emission limits become ever-more stringent, there is a rising need to not just beat those targets but change the game completely. This is where the new generation of electric vehicles come into play, and this technology is expected to become present in 10-15% of newly made trucks within the space of five years.
Electric vehicles are advancing to the level where they can offer the same performance as combustion engines, and the only challenge now is for them to hit the market at a comparable price. Some of the biggest reasons stopping Australians going electric is the absence of government incentives, lack of charging stations and our unique geography that values range above running costs.
The loss of Australian vehicle making
The demise of the Australian car manufacturing industry was another massive blow for the local market, and the recent news that General Motors is retiring the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand is the final nail in the coffin for passenger vehicles. Thankfully the market for locally designed and manufactured trailers is thriving, thanks to many customers around the country who take pride in the equipment they rely on every day to get the job done.
One of the biggest news stories of recent years is the Dieselgate scandal that rocked Volkswagen. It was revealed that their vehicles were equipped with technology that detected when it was being tested for emission standards, and would subsequently change the way the engine behaved when under the microscope to pass regulation requirements. Heads rolled in the company when the scandal was made public, with significant fines issued by the authorities and a PR nightmare that would linger over the brand for years
The next ten years promise to be every part as dynamic and changing as the ones before it, and the team at The Drake Group will be there every step of the way. Contact The Drake Group today to find out how we can get your business moving in the future.