Technology: Inside a self-driving truck with Torc Robotics
How do you measure the value of driver comfort? It isn’t easy, because there’s no direct chain of ROI. If you ask truck manufacturers, it starts by listening to your drivers and measuring the impact of your choices on recruitment efforts and retention success.
Here is a transcript of the video:
If you want to get quantitative, the way to measure the impact of comfort and convenience items is through metrics like driver retention, driver health and recruiting efforts. But comfort and convenience means different things to different people, so qualitatively, you should also listen to feedback at the individual level about which comfort features matter the most to them and how they improve their overall experience.
By paying attention to driver satisfaction with their equipment specs, fleets can measure the impact of comfort items by reviewing their driver turnover rate. For example, many fleets prioritize storage in cabs and sleepers, or you can focus on refrigerators and microwave prep options so drivers can bring their own food to cook hot meals.
What’s trending right now? Seats with more adjustability and heating and cooling features. Since drivers spend so much time in the seat, these upgrades can have a big impact. And don’t overlook easily-adjustable steering columns and automatic climate controls – drivers spend A LOT of time in that seat. Also consider comfortable sleeping arrangements, like reclining bunks.
Fleets are also spec’ing amenities that will make life on the road easier for drivers during downtime. Popular driver-centric options include customizable living spaces with more storage options and factory-installed CPAP machine prep kits. Ambient aircraft-inspired LED lighting and dimmer switches help drivers personalize light levels, and there are even in-cab training systems designed to be used for a convenient exercise program.
Don’t overlook ideas like cab heaters and parked HVAC systems for comfort, and digital dashboards that are customizable based on driver preferences – systems like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto can make a lot easier on the road.
Understanding the vehicle application is key for you to determine what comfort items might have the largest impact. You should gather input from drivers to ensure you have a deep understanding of their priorities and challenges – this collaborative process is critical to expanding the comfort of the cab.
Focusing on the driver’s experience and using their input is essential for ensuring you’re creating an environment that will resonate with them, as well as help your fleet with your retention and recruitment goals.