Technology has revolutionized the transportation industry over the past two decades. New technologies like wireless communication and vehicle tracking systems have improved fuel efficiency, promoted safety, and identified available cargo loads and routes for truckers. These technologies also serve as a powerful risk management tool, supplementing the protections afforded by flatbed truck insurance and other forms of liability insurance. The benefits of adopting truck connectivity solutions are many; in this guide, we will explore five of the biggest benefits for the transportation sector.
What is Truck Connectivity?
Systems that provide tracking information to trucking operations are not entirely new; so-called telematics systems have been in use by the transportation sector for the better part of 20 years. Advances in connectivity, however, have created significant value for trucking companies, with the end goal of developing semi- or fully-autonomous vehicles that promote increased efficiency and safety.
In simple terms, truck connectivity is the implementation of wireless communication and navigation systems in commercial vehicles. Just like flatbed truck insurance, these technologies help to reduce common risks like traffic crashes, delivery delays, and wasted fuel resources. Truck connectivity systems may be comprised of components like:
- Fuel usage monitoring
- Driver coaching programs
- Real-time weather and mapping systems
- Predictive maintenance sensors
- Data transmission systems
- Driver assistive technologies such as lane-keep assist, dynamic braking, and safety alert sensors
Research into Connected Vehicles
In 2015, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) created a joint research program with several subagencies to investigate connected vehicles. Agencies like the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Federal Transit Authority partnered under guidance from the DOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITSJPO). Four research programs were born under this partnership:
- Dynamic Mobility Applications
- Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis
- Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) Safety
- Road-Weather Management
In the joint research, these four programs were responsible for the development of dozens of safety applications, including those that reduced traffic crashes and injuries/fatalities, reduced emissions and fuel consumption, and helped to decrease both travel times and total mileage of test fleets.
The Connected Truck: Five Primary Benefits
For transportation company owners, reducing expenses while protecting personnel, vehicles, and cargo has long been a part of a successful operational formula. New truck connectivity solutions offer significant benefits for the commercial transportation sector. The primary benefits are centered on fleet diagnostics and maintenance, or costs that tend to skyrocket if regular service intervals are not performed. Connected technologies that monitor vehicle systems are the key to these benefits. Four primary benefits of the connected truck environment include:
Predictive diagnostics – sensors collect data from vehicle systems and share that data with manufacturers and fleet management teams. Using artificial intelligence, this data is being analyzed to predict equipment failures or to spot reliability trends. Ultimately, this saves in maintenance costs and avoids costly breakdowns.
Assisting with maintenance/vehicle grounding decisions – with remote diagnostic sensors deployed in fleets, managers can assess problems and gather data on vehicle operations. Being able to diagnose remotely reduces the need for returns to the shop or to “ground” vehicles for repairs. In other words, these systems give managers the information they need to make accurate decisions that keep trucks on the road whenever possible.
Managing Vehicle Service Intervals – maintenance is one of the largest overhead costs faced by the trucking industry. Truck connectivity helps to streamline maintenance processes by monitoring vehicle systems in real time. Rather than having a truck visit a service shop for diagnostics, technicians have access to remote monitoring systems and can call in vehicles for maintenance only when needed.
Facilitating Vehicle Technology Updates – remote connected systems can be updated over the air or when vehicles are in range of WiFi networks. Before the advent of this truck connectivity, truckers had to visit repair centers to get navigation and communication systems updates. Now, truckers can perform their own software updates from the safety of their own cabs, wherever they may be.
The fifth benefit of truck connectivity is in communications itself. Connected trucks can be operated in a safer and more efficient manner. By sharing on-the-road data with stakeholders like end-users, dealers, vendors, and repair facilities, trucking companies can reduce operating expenses. Connected trucks can be fed with navigation and route data, reducing fuel costs. These systems can even put cargo shippers into contact with available haulers, reducing the need for “deadheading”, or sending empty trucks back to shipping facilities between loads. Obviously, this improves efficiency and reduces fuel consumption, helping keep overheat expenses in check. Flatbed truck insurance is the foundation of risk management for the commercial cargo sector. Technology also plays an important risk management role. As new truck connectivity systems continue to be adopted, their benefits in reducing risks and expenses more than pay for themselves.
About Gain Insurance Agency
Gain Insurance Agency protects trucking businesses against liabilities and claims in the industry. We combine products provided by respected insurance providers with our expertise and custom packages to meet customers’ individual needs. Our goal is to give you the coverage that you need at the lowest possible price. To learn more about our products and services, contact us today at (877) 424-3344.