Trucking is evolving right in front of our eyes. If you’ve not kept up with this exciting industry, here are some of the most exciting innovations and advances that promise to improve safety and efficiency.
Self-Driving Trucks On The Horizon
According to this truck accident lawyer, large trucks like 18-wheelers were responsible for more than 1,000 crashes in West Virginia in 2007, leading to 45 fatalities and 495 injuries. But a new innovation from Freightliner and Daimler might change all that.
The manufacturers are revealing the industry’s first self-driving commercial truck this year. It allows for autonomous driving on highways so that truck drivers can attend to other matters during long stretches of roads.
Drivers set the cruise control, and the “Inspiration” truck does the rest. The vehicle’s smart navigation system can maintain lane position and safe following distances. A human being is still required to monitor the truck, however, and are necessary for negotiating unusual turns, driving in certain inclement weather conditions, and for docking and loading.
The self-driving vehicle isn’t taking away jobs (yet), but it is making truck drivers’ lives easier by reducing the effect of distractions on the road. Truckers spend a lot of time trucking, and they are being asked to complete more and more work in the cab – some of which is better suited to an office than a truck. By implementing autonomous driving, truckers can get more work done, and do it with undivided attention.
And, that’s a major step forward in safety.
Samsung has announced a new built-in wireless camera on the front grille and a giant four-panel display for the rear to show other drivers (not the truck driver) what’s in front of the truck. The purpose of recording oncoming traffic and displaying it on the back is to make all drivers on the road more aware of what lies ahead.
Large trucks traditionally are a massive visual impairment on the road, since they take up so much space. Some consider them inherently unsafe. However, these displays should make all other drivers safer by giving them a preview of what’s ahead. This allows drivers to assess whether it’s safe to pass the truck and to keep a distance when necessary to avoid unexpected braking and a rear-end collision.
Advanced Camera Systems
Advanced camera systems promise to capture theft, monitor cargo, and keep an eye on the gas tank. Some of these camera systems provide visual data in the event of an accident so that police and insurance companies can better assess claims information and make appropriate legal and insurance decisions after the fact.
Some cameras further improve driver visibility, including backup cameras and in-cab screens which replace traditional side-view mirrors.
New GPS monitoring and location devices help to fill in the gaps in navigation systems. As it stands, most truck drivers must provide their own GPS systems or rely on traditional paper maps. But, in-cab navigation systems are growing in popularity and will help improve driver satisfaction.
On top of that, it may allow trucking companies to save on fuel and improve shipping efficiencies by rerouting drivers around busy roads and avoiding heavy traffic areas and construction zones.
BarberaMcMillion works in traffic safety and likes to share her insights online. She has posted her thoughts across a range of driving and lifestyle blogs.