The delivery of goods via truck is still in rude health, with trucks transporting 80% of cargo – yes, all cargo in the US. And, despite what you may have heard about self-driving trucks, 6.1% of the U.S. working population are employed as truckers.
With that in mind, the need for innovation is still very much alive and kicking. Truckers work on average a 70 hour week before taking a rest, and so automation can only help with the need to focus their eyes on the road.
Smart Apps For Smart Drivers
Apps have become synonymous with 21st century life and it’s no different for truckers. In fact, many of the technologies we use for personal purposes are perfectly applied for trucking.
Probably the first port of call for any trucker are reliable communication systems. Important firstly for business aspects – instant messaging and voice applications can be ideal for ironing out small complications between the driver and the delivery spot – modern communication systems like the ubiquitous Skype can have a crucial impact on drivers by allowing them to keep in contact with family.
With the proliferation of creative communications apps, the opportunities to feel more personal are out there, too, enabling drivers on the road – which can often be a lonely place – to feel closer to their loved ones.
The trucking industry has been notoriously slow to innovate, relying on truck driver experience, with a complex network of phones, computers and paper linking drivers and/or companies to dispatch and beyond. Recent years have seen the proliferation of all-in-one trucker apps being developed; that is, handy apps that can complete all of the processes in one go, like those popular taxi apps you might see bandied about.
These range from proprietary software, for the use of the company and its drivers only. However, there are 350,000 totally independent drivers in the country – owner-operator businesses. Investors like Bill Busbice have opined that this is a big blind spot in the trucking app industry, especially given the niche needs of independent drivers without administrative assistance. By integrating modern telematics, too, the latest tranche of apps are becoming must-have all-in-one trucker aids.
Secure Behind The Scenes
Possibly a niche technology when it comes to the driver itself, but one that cannot be overlooked, is blockchain. In a nutshell, blockchain is an ultra-secure, safe by design method of completing your transactions, made famous (or should that be infamous?) by bitcoin.
Whilst obviously not the first thing on a driver’s mind, tech startups are suggesting that drivers can benefit their reliability by adapting blockchain configured apps in their day-to-day operations, providing cautious delivery partners with a guarantee of data security.
Trucking has been notoriously slow to change, but technologists and innovators everywhere are starting to take notice. From mundane apps to custom-built, bespoke tools, the future is bright and there’s plenty of life left for drivers in an industry that is, like many, threatened by automation.