The future of trucking is a much-discussed topic among companies and drivers alike. What will the semi-trucks of the future look like? Will future truck drivers of America even have jobs to go to as self-driving trucks loom on the horizon?
Today’s trends are already shaping the future of the trucking industry, and they are having an impact on the way drivers work. Here’s what you need to know about what’s happening today and the future of truck driving to prepare your company for what’s to come.
Trucking Future Outlook: 4 Trends Transforming the Truck Driving Industry
The savvy carrier is wise to consider what’s happening in the industry currently, as these patterns can be a key indicator of future logistics & CDL training trends. The following are trends impacting the industry right now that could have implications for the future.
1. Carrier Bankruptcy
It should come as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the number of carrier bankruptcies.
While some may argue this spells bad news for the future of trucking, this is far from the case. The future of truck driving remains bright and the long-running pandemic has created an even higher demand in items ordered online for companies still operating. Transportation will be an essential industry as long as people need goods, and with American consumers more dependent than ever on online shopping, carriers that are poised to evolve with changing times will find themselves essential to the economy.
2. Changing Production Locations
For the first time, bigger trucking companies are looking to move their operations to take advantage of more favorable business environments that offer greater savings and a greater pool of talent.
Some of the new hotbeds for trucking companies include Illinois, Ohio, and Texas.
3. Rising Fuel Costs
The cost of fuel has always been unpredictable, but long gone are the early-2020 days of rock-bottom oil prices. Everything from looming taxes and global events have affected the availability of oil and sent costs soaring.
The trucking industry will need to compensate for rising prices by putting a greater focus on driver training related to more efficient driving practices. Teaching drivers to avoid speeding and other practices that burn more fuel will help keep fuel costs down and increase profits per load.
According to most experts, the future of truck driving will be one where fuel makes up a greater proportion of expenditure, at least until electric trucks come around.
4. Need for Greater Efficiencies
There will continue to be increased demand among both drivers and carriers for greater efficiency in every aspect of truck driving. Accurate information will be crucial in enabling carriers to see better margins and drivers to maximize their take-home pay, so expect a boom in software and tools that touch every aspect of the business.
Drivers will likely see their lives improved by programs that can create more optimized travel routes and allow them to better estimate loading and unloading times once they reach shippers. Carriers will realize better cost margins through tools that help them monitor and run trucks more efficiently and haul more freight overall.
What Does the Future of Trucking Look Like?
Emerging technologies are driving the transportation industry forward and defining what the future of trucking will look like. Let’s look at what people can expect from trucking in the long term.
Future semi-trucks are expected to be all-electric. The gas-guzzling behemoths everyone is used to will become a thing of the past as environmental concerns take hold.
The trucking industry is responsible for a huge proportion of the carbon emissions caused by transport across the world. As electric vehicles become the norm, the truck of the future will be running on electricity, not gas.
Full automation will be responsible for managing everything from optimal routes to a truck’s destination to fleet management. Even now, the industry is looking to automate as much of the process as possible to maximize efficiency and, subsequently, profits.
Some companies are already using automation in incredible ways. For example, containers may no longer require human intervention to load and unload. Instead, automated rails can move containers around facilities and onto trucks.
Experts have predicted that the trucks of the future will be fully autonomous.
While self-driving cars have been tested countless times, these are not yet available to the public as a result of safety concerns. Since trucks are much larger than the standard car, expect self-driving trucks to take longer to reach roads – as long as several years to a decade or more.
Once self-driving trucks are on the road, they’ll also likely be supervised by a human. Expect self-driving trucks to reach a hybrid model where the truck drives itself, but a human operator remains available in the cab to take manual control if necessary.
The Effects of Self-Driving Trucks
Automation of all kinds is undoubtedly the primary driving force behind the future of the trucking industry, but what will this mean in both the short-term and the long-term as it relates to self-driving trucks?
The Short-Term Effects of Self-Driving Trucks
- Employment will continue to rise as drivers are still needed in cabs to oversee self-driving software
- High demand, low availability
- Rising prices as equipment costs continue to rise
The Long-Term Effects of Self-Driving Trucks
- Drop in the number of active truck drivers as trucks become fully autonomous
- More administrative roles within the industry
- Remotely controlled trucks
The Future of Trucking: Embracing New Solutions
What is clear about the future of trucking is that every day brings us one step closer to most of the nation’s 3.5 million truck drivers having their jobs either altered or replaced by technology.
Automation goes beyond simply changing equipment and trucks, however. Although the future of the trucking industry is still uncertain, it’s clear that technology will be a crucial driving force behind the changes yet to come.
Software solutions like Tenstreet’s fleet management tools are crucial in streamlining a carrier’s operations to make them more able to adapt to unexpected changes. Recruiting, onboarding, marketing, safety, compliance, and employment verification tools can cut costs and save companies time to ensure they have all the resources necessary to follow where the market is going.
Ensure your trucking future outlook is bright by talking to Tenstreet about your company’s biggest problems and how we can help today.