Truck tech transforming the industry: Panel

by Truck News

John G. Smith of Newcom Media moderates the session. The other panelists, from left, are Elias Demangos, John Bowen, Matt Richardson and Sanchia Duran.

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – New onboard technologies, from telematics and ELDs to collision mitigation systems and asset-tracking solutions, are revolutionizing the business of trucking for those who embrace them.

A panel discussion during the annual meeting of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada on Thursday described benefits that could be realized by embracing the tech.

“Adding new technology gives us more data to make better decisions,” BlackBerry’s Sanchia Duran said, referring to Transport Canada’s announcement earlier in the day that it will mandate electronic logging devices (ELDs).

She cited the example of Blackberry Radar asset tracking solution, which monitors trailers, chassis, containers and equipment, offering details that can be used to improve productivity or tackle thefts.

John Bowen of Volvo Trucks Canada spoke about how the OEM was focusing its attention on the concept of a “connected vehicle”, both monitoring equipment condition for diagnostic work, and updating electronic control units through Over the Air updates.

He said such data exchanges were reshaping maintenance processes.

The speakers, however, agreed that there are hiccups in adopting new technologies because there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

“Each customer is different. It’s hard to really blanket across,” said Elias Demangos of Fortigo Freight Services, which ultimately developed its own fleet management software after off-the-shelf versions weren’t found to be flexible enough.

The tools offer the data that can also encourage drivers to improve their actions through gamification.

Teaching new drivers how to prepare for the widespread technologies can be a challenge, said Matt Richardson of KRTS Transportation Specialists. No training school can afford to have an example of every potential tool.

Looking to the future, he said there could be a role for simulators to expose trainees to situations that would otherwise be too dangerous.

The panelists were also asked what they thought was the most exciting emerging technology in the industry. Most agreed autonomous vehicles was the thing to watch, while Demangos thought machine learning will attract his attention most.

Bowen said he is optimistic about self-driving vehicles as they are already being deployed in the mining sector.



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