What are new over the road truck drivers’ going to be like? All industries in America are rapidly changing. Technology is taking over just about every industry in the world. We have computers to run everything. Robots are building new cars, and artificial intelligence is telling them how to do it. We have Google Maps telling us which way to turn, and you can get weather alerts on your phone to let you know, almost instantly when the weather is going to change.
Yes, it is a new world out there, one that is leaving a lot of us behind if we don’t stay abreast of the new technology. One can only imagine how this is going to end up, or what it is going to lead to. One thing is for sure, we are losing about all of our privacy, and everyone knows everything about everybody. The new over the road truck drivers’ need to be more tech-savvy more educated, and tolerate than they are now. If this is good or bad remains to be seen.
Trucking Industry Data
Trucking industry data is what will be running a truck drivers’ life. It has started in many respects, and soon it will be the way things will be done. Good things can come of all this new technology, and it should make a drivers’ life a lot easier, as long as a driver can learn how to operate it. Technology may leave the older drivers’ behind somewhat, or it will take a little longer for them to catch up. It is going to be a continuous learning process for everyone because things change so fast.
Some excellent products that have come along these past few years are things that many of us take for granted now, such as a cell phone and then Bluetooth technology. Now we have Google maps to tell us which way to go and how long it should take to get there. On some of these Apps, a person can get an updated traffic report in real time. We now have GPS tracking where your dispatcher can watch you go down the road. All a driver has to do is get the latest weather App on their phone and get an up-to-the-minute weather forecast.
What about some of the new technologies they are talking about. Most engines have sensors now that tell you everything about how your engine is running, and some already can transmit all this data back to the home office. Maintenance personnel can get up-to-the-minute reports on how a particular engine is performing. Tire pressure sensors so a driver can see their tire pressure and this data will be transmitted to the home office.
Qualcomm and the ELD now track the time when a truck enters the shipper or receiver location and how long the tractor is there. Soon it will be possible to keep track of time at truck stops, and the information on how much fuel was bought will be transmitted back to the main offices. Cameras and sensors on the sides of tractors and trailers may be a good idea, in the case of an accident, but cameras inside the cabs is a hot-button issue.
I am old enough to remember when the Qualcomm came out and how all older drivers’ were bringing up privacy issues. Most said they would never put one on their truck. We also are developing brake sensors to track braking on the vehicles. Braking information will be kept on file to monitor brake wear and for information in the case of an accident.
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Data Gathering Plan
Data gathering has been going on in other industries for some time, and now it is used more and more in the trucking industry. The Japanese and Chinese have created robots for many menial jobs, as have the Americans. I do not think we need to worry about that. It has come to the point that computers are making people robots.
All of this data is great if people know how to use it, but I think there is too much room for error in all this. It still comes down to people have to have an understanding of what it is like on the road. If you have a college educated young person in the office trying to read all this new data and has no understanding of what driving a truck across Wyoming in the winter is like, then it could get things a little jammed up.
Another way to look at this is all this technology is that it is going to be great as long as it does not break down. If the oil pressure sensor is faulty and gives a reading of low oil pressure, then shuts the truck down, what is a driver to do? A college-educated dispatcher may think the driver needs some more training on operating a tractor with low oil pressure. We now have sensors for just about everything on a truck and trailer, transmitting data to the home office. If one of those sensors quits working correctly, all it will do is get everybody excited when there is nothing wrong in the first place.
All the educated people in the industry think this technology is going to reduce the number of drivers’ needed, thus saving companies a ton of cash. The driver shortage now has sent all these engineers on a non-stop mission to design autonomous trucks. Yes, this may eliminate the driver, but trucking companies are going to have to hire computergeeks.com and pay a bundle of money to keep all these computers and sensors functioning correctly.
So what will the over the road driver look like in 2024? The Over-the-Road truck driver salary will improve, that is for sure, but drivers’ will be plugged into their tractors continually, wirelessly or with a wire. The new truck drivers’ will be in contact with their dispatchers as if they were in the same office. Sitting across from each other in one of those cubicles. Drivers of the future will have no privacy, as the primary office will know where they are at and what they are doing 24 hours a day.
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All these new technologies will make the trucking industry more productive, but will also take away the appeal to the industry that was once there. Driving a truck is one of the last jobs available where a person could go to work and not have someone standing over them telling them everything to do or how to do the job. Truckers will no longer be the self-governing masterminds they once were. All of this will succeed in making the trucking industry like any other factory job in America.
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