We know it’s not easy to keep up with everything that happens in the world of trucking. So here are the biggest stories from April focused on the latest truck trends, all in one place.
5. Focus on the future: remote piloting and automated trucks
“The initial automated trucks we see on the road will likely be Level 3 or 4—which are mostly autonomous but still require driver intervention. (For a refresher on the various levels of autonomy, take a look at the graph below). Yet, to hear Mark Botticelli, PeopleNet’s executive vice president of technology, tell it, truck driving in the future might be a process more like piloting a drone than anything else.”
Automated trucks are coming–the question is more about what they will look like and how soon it will be than if it will happen. Senior Editor Alex Crissey talked with PeopleNet on what driving in the future might look like, and how the concept of remote piloting could mitigate the ongoing driver shortage. In addition, this month’s Future Focus videos took a look at automated trucks; watch Parts 1 and 2 below, and keep an eye out for Parts 3 and 4 in May.
4. As remote diagnostics become more prevalent, providers are focusing on providing meaningful information
With thousands of possible fault codes that can be triggered and a remote diagnostic system that is capable of sending an email notification for each one, how do you make sure you’re providing valuable service information and not just spamming fleet manager inboxes with automated alerts? Editor Jason Morgan poses that question and several others to Volvo in this column.
3. Air ride suspensions
“Suspensions have a job that is both difficult and crucial. Think of them like the spine of the vehicle, supporting both the handling and the ride quality, keeping cargo in good shape while making sure the driver is shielded from the harshest bumps on the road. The importance of this component cannot be overlooked.”
There are two types of suspensions: air ride and leaf spring. There are many differences between the two, and as air ride suspensions grow in popularity, Alex Crissey runs through the facts on air ride suspensions.
2. OEMs are investing in their dealer networks
In the past several years, OEMs have invested in their dealer networks, launching premium dealer designations, triage truck lanes to address smaller fixes and improving overall service. Seth Skydel takes a look at what each truck company brings to the service table.
1. Over-the-air updates: What they are and how they work
“The majority of heavy-duty engine manufacturers, namely Cummins, Detroit, International and Volvo Trucks, have rolled out over-the-air (OTA) engine reprogramming this year, giving you the power to update your 2017 model year and newer engines wherever your trucks are on the road (provided there is cellular coverage). What that means for you is that you will no longer have to schedule downtime to update engine software at a service location.”
If you’re not up on the details of this growing trend in engine repairs, Editor Jason Morgan has the details here.