Exciting developments in technology promise a smarter, sleeker future for the UK haulage industry. Read on to find out more.
In our increasingly connected world, large and small scale haulage fleets can find ways to work smarter rather than harder. Now, with the advent of 'connected vehicle technology', the UK haulage industry is set to become even safer, speedier, and more efficient.
What is Connected Vehicle Technology?
Connected vehicle technology is a wireless-based technology that enables vehicles to communicate with each other and with traffic control. Vehicles with this technology installed communicate through on-board devices that can receive warning messages about, for example, road closures, traffic accidents, inclement weather, and other hazards.
In fact, connected vehicle technology has been around for a few years. There are many cars on the market that come equipped with Internet access, providing crash notifications, safety alerts, and navigation services. Likewise, the UK haulage industry has already begun to dabble in connected fleets.
In a connected fleet, vehicles can send data back to the office or depot. A connected vehicle might have a GPS tracking device that lets the dispatcher know where the vehicle it is and how fast is travelling. Data collected from the vehicles' systems may even be able to tell the dispatcher the temperature of a refrigerated load, or whether the trailer door is locked. Some fleets are already working with this kind of innovative technology and their capabilities are ever-increasing.
However, connected vehicle technology for haulage fleets is about more than just checking in with individual drivers and keeping an eye on the delivery process. Developing connected vehicle technology even further has enormous potential to transform the UK haulage in areas such as safety and mobility.
With advanced technology drivers can not only get alerts about i.e. an accident ahead, but it can also help prevent further accidents from happening. A lorry driver has the ability to get notifications of a vehicle or cyclist in his blind spot, or traffic about to merge. With vehicle-to-vehicle technology (V2V), drivers in close proximity will be able to connect automatically, enabling the sharing of speed-, position-, and direction data preventing potential accidents happening. V2V technology has not yet arrived on the vehicle market at large, but it is clearly visible on the horizon.
Connected vehicle technology can help drivers make better route choices and cut down on travelling time. For drivers in the UK haulage industry, this means less waiting time, traffic and fewer delayed deliveries. There is also the potential for connected vehicles to communicate with roadside infrastructure, such as traffic lights. Traffic light assistance technologies can use local data to predict when traffic lights will change, enabling drivers to adjust their speed to pass through the light without stopping. While this might sound like a small benefit, this kind of technology could help to prevent drivers from running red lights and significantly improve fuel efficiency by reducing time spent idling.
While some of these technological developments are not yet widely available, they offer an exciting glimpse into the future of vehicle technology. Connected vehicle technology has huge benefits for all drivers on the road and, for the UK haulage industry. These advancements will certainly mean more streamlined and smarter operations.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for UK haulage contracts in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.