Transportation Evolution Will Rely Heavily On Technology

Posted by Land Link Traffic Systems on Dec 16, 2021 8:52:37 AM

To enlighten those less informed about the Transportation industry I routinely remind them that everything around their home, work and recreation areas spent some time on a truck at one time. The sheer size of the United States requires a reliable distribution infrastructure. Just consider what the railroad did for the opening up of the west and feeding the rest in the 1800’s. The need for transportation is much greater today. We built the national infrastructure. Now we must continuously support it; literally, every day.

The logistics business has always been an asset heavy industry. A single truck, trailer, driver and insurance can cost over $100,000 per year. A medium size trucking company has a hundred trucks. The big boys have thousands. Today, logistics providers are still tasked to provide massive investment in more equipment and putting more hands-on deck. But we’re running out of hands and capital is expensive to come by. With the industry already nearly 75,000 drivers short going into the pandemic, and with the ATA predicting the dearth to nearly triple by 2028, the sector is turning to technology for help.

Driverless Cars and Trucks

Today the primary efficiency focus of logistics providers leans heavily, for the lack of an alternative strategy, upon technology applications in transportation, distribution, and warehouse operations. It’s simply the only viable option to fill the labor shortage and manage the demand efficiently. Technology has come a long way to address the safety concerns of transportation providers, their insurers and the general public.

Autonomous vehicles also promise to make our roads safer using artificial intelligence, telematics, and robotic technology. This technology is advancing rapidly and is just a few regulatory steps away from becoming mainstream. Tesla, Audi, Uber, and Volkswagen’s driverless technologies are already making headlines, both good and bad, on the roads.

Driverless trucks are a controversial, and slow to adopt technology in the freight industry today. The US trucking industry accounts for more than 5% of all full-time jobs in the U.S. Walmart alone employs more than 8,600 truck drivers. The deficit of qualified drivers will unavoidable continue to increase in the future.

Because autonomous trucks could replace human drivers with robotic technology it has been met with resistance from labor unions and social protection groups. However, many experts don’t think autonomous trucks will be in any measurable widespread use initially due to concerns over insurance and liability. After all, who is at fault if a driverless truck crashes? Is it the company’s insurance, or is it the truck manufacturer? Many of these issues still need to be hammered out before driverless freight becomes mainstream. Still, young professional entering the logistics business would be well advised to pursue studies in the technologies applicable to logistics.

Smart Roads

Cars, trucks, and trains aren’t the only thing getting smarter; so are our roadways. Smart roads hope to improve the safety of road travel by using highways studded with sensors to alert drivers of a crash nearby. It would also communicate weather occurrences and delays in real time. Rather than using asphalt to pave roads, solar powered roadways use panels of tempered glass containing photovoltaic cells, LEDs and microprocessors. As a result, cars and trucks would experience benefits like snow-melting heating devices, charging capabilities and safer stopping ability.

Smart roads could improve the safety of drivers and cargo, as more than 70% of all goods are transported via trucks in the U.S. They could also help optimize transportation routes as roads relay information to vehicles about congestion, delays, and accidents. This will help speed up deliveries and cut transportation costs. The future of freight transportation looks both promising and precarious. Such are the societal and emotional byproducts of progress.

Rail Transportation Will Undergo a Metamorphosis

Hyperloop and Maglev are two similar concepts to revolutionize train travel. Both operate on a magnetic theory of gravity and weightless and non-resistant propulsion atmosphere. Both are fast and efficient. And both are very expensive to build.

The main difference, though, is that where Hyperloop will require massive underground tunnels that Elon Musk's Boring Company might want to hollow out, Magway's maglev (magnetic levitation) pods will only need a small tube to move through. The concept is designed for both cargo and personnel carriage but can be built above ground unlike the hyperloop concept.

Ingenious concepts are emerging utilizing technology like AI (Artificial intelligence) and IOT (The Internet of Things). These concepts will indeed move forward merely by necessity. Present logistics technology is simply unsustainable in its current design.

Contact us today to setup your complimentary review of your logistics operations. We would also like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy holiday season. 



Topics: Supply Chain Management, Third Party Logistics, Freight Bill Auditing, Intermodal Freight, Transportation News, Reducing Freight Rates, Logistics Business, Maximizing Routing Efficiencies, Freight Bill Audit, 3D Printing, Shipping News, Logistics News, Industry Trends, Technology, dimensional pricing