Autonomous Trucking 2018

How big data is cutting costs, improving driver safety, and driver retention

It’s been half a year since Tesla announced that it was entering the autonomous trucking space. There hasn’t been a week since, without an announcement by a logistics company that they were also making moves in that direction. Behind the scenes, the trucking industry is scrambling to prepare for this disruptive technology.

Autonomous trucks are already an exciting topic for those of us in logistics, but with a company like Tesla and its celebrity CEO Elon Musk in the picture, the industry has suddenly found itself pushed to the forefront of the story. But there’s so much more to unpack here, and the transformation is impacting every part of the business. There’s new security technology, online freight booking, increased visibility, fleet planning software, and much more.

On April 10-11, we’ll be joining other innovative logistics companies to drill down on the most significant developments in autonomous trucking at the 2nd Annual VDI Conference, in Dusseldorf, Germany. Make sure to check out the agenda, because our CEO Tamas Domonkos will be speaking on the “Autonomous Trucks & the Future of Logistics” panel, along with other industry leaders.

We’re expecting a dynamic debate over the future of trucking in Dusseldorf, and the topic of conversation is likely to turn to big data, a technological development that is already shaking up the industry. To prepare you for what’s coming next, let’s examine some areas where big data is making waves.

Big What?

First, we need to define “big data.” Think of big data in terms of large volumes of data that would normally overwhelm a business on a day-to-day basis. Every operation and interaction could be considered a “data point”. However, for our purposes, it’s not the volume of data that’s important. It’s how companies use the data that matters. In a sense, big data’s potential lies in how it’s manipulated and sorted, and now, we have the tools to efficiently collect and process this ocean of information in ways we couldn’t do a half a decade ago.

Big data can help make critical business decisions and, ultimately, provide insight and efficiency.

For most managers in the trucking industry, it’s enough of a challenge keeping drivers in seats and meeting demand for capacity. If you’re nodding your head as you read this, the last thing you are worrying about abstract trends and sifting through paperwork. But what if understanding those same trends could dramatically improve your operations? What if you let computers do more of the heavy lifting, and concentrated on what you do best – running the business?

Below are a few areas where big data shows the most promise, and as you read, you might find yourself reconsidering what big data can do for you, and your business.

Keeping Driver’s in the Driver’s Seat

One of the biggest headaches facing fleet owners today is keeping drivers in seats. Predictive modeling of big data is now able to analyze thousands of data points and determine when a driver might be on the verge of quitting. Big data can even parse out thy that driver is eying the door, picking up on frustrations with management, a skills gap, family conflicts, or financial problems.

With the high costs of bringing new hired on board, this can offset thousands of Euros per driver. Now that they have detailed data on the problem, managers can address their drivers’ grievances in the most effective way.

Crash Prediction – Truck Driver Safety First

Using big data, trucking companies can scan thousands of severe accidents based on their drivers’ data sets and reverse engineer a severity model that allowed them to identify predictive data points in a driver’s tachograph. That’s the best indicator of an impending wreck, and a chance to head it off.

Big data has gotten so good at this function that analysts can predict the likelihood of a severe accident down to the hour and day.

Environmental Effect of Trucking

In Germany alone, empty trucks drive 6 billion kilometers each year, and the number is increasing. If you combine the figures of the European Union and the U.S., that number jumps to 120 billion kilometers every year. Big data is now providing a platform for shippers and carriers to utilize unused capacity, which means lower carbon emissions per freight tonne.

Thanks to new, technological developments, users can visualize anticipated empty trucks on the map. This future visibility map provides users with the tool and all the relevant information necessary to book the truck which will be closest to their pick-up location at any given time and get the load moving. It is now possible to connect shipments with trucks “in the future,” anywhere in the world.

This newly launched tool is based on existing data from the independent parties (such as shippers, freight forwarders, and carriers) of a trusted network, which are making that data transparent and easy to use.

What’s Next?

It’s one thing to be aware of the changes afoot, but it’s much harder to know what to do. Where should you start researching? What sort of investments are required to get your carrier to the point where you can begin to leverage big data?

Take The Opportunity to Exchange Technical Expertise

Trucking and logistics are at the heart of what we do at TrucksOnTheMap, and that’s why we will be at the 2nd Annual VDI Conference, April 10-11 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Now in its second year, this event has established itself as the premier venue to learn about new technology and network with the most forward-thinking companies in trucking.

We’re excited to have our CEO Tamas Domonkos as a speaker on the “Autonomous Trucks & the Future of Logistics” panel. If you’d like to network, bounce your ideas off of us, or ask for professionals advice, you can book an appointment with Mr. Domonkos by clicking on this link: — See you there!

Comments 3

  1. Amazing article Zoltán. Automation can completely transform the trucking industry. Automated trucking can help reduce expenses by a significant margin, since fuel consumption is estimated to be 10% lower. Also, it can sort out the driver shortage problem, a growing issue in the US.

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