Despite the current global economic downturn, around 15.05 billion deliveries were completed in 2020, with 66% of customers preferring home delivery to any other type of service. The industry is fast returning to its original course, with the recent Freight and Logistics Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2020-2025) indicating that it is predicted to enjoy a 5% CAGR over the next five years. The healthy demand has been accompanied by innovations in commercial vehicle technology. The following are just a few developments that are contributing to improved road safety, efficiency, and/or shipping costs.
Driver Fatigue Monitoring Systems
The National Sleep Foundation reports that between 40% and 60% of drivers admit to drowsy driving. Driver fatigue systems use a number of different technologies – including pupil identification technology – to provide early warning for driver fatigue. These systems are suitable for a wide range of trucks and other commercial vehicles, and are one of the most sought after systems. These systems are currently being developed by companies such as Toyota and Chevrolet, amongst others. They are available for small and mid-sized trucks, as well as large haul vehicles (including articulated commercial vehicles). Pupil movement isn’t the only response being checked: so too are pulse and breathing rate – both of which determine if the driver is alert enough to stay behind the wheel.
Smart headlights rely on a plethora of cameras, sensors, and dedicated software to enable commercial vehicles to direct their vehicle’s high beams away from oncoming vehicles, while also reducing glare. They essentially keep the road illuminated, but shut off some parts of the lights so that other vehicles are not bothered. Commercial vehicle manufacturers are also working on enhanced night vision systems, which use infrared-imaging technology to spot obstacles on the road before the driver does, thus giving them time to brake and avoid a collision.
New Energy Technology
New energy technologies are being developed to reduce the carbon footprint of commercial vehicles. These include liquefied natural gas, hydrogen fuel cell (which produces zero emissions), and battery-powered electric vehicles. The latter, reports BCG, are perfect for short distance driving, and their cost is expected to drop beneath that for vehicles running on fuel engines by the year 2025.
Driver fatigue monitoring systems, smart headlights, and new energies are just three technological innovations driving the commercial vehicle industry. These technologies promote safety and/or enable commercial fleets to lower their carbon footprint. Just a few additional technologies to watch out for include lane mitigation systems, wearable tech to alert drivers to fatigue, and telematics packages – which provide a plethora of telematics solutions (including diagnostics and driver support) to improve fuel efficiency, safety, and data measurement.