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Tesla’s Electric Truck Debut Shows Rapid Evolution of Technology in the Trucking Industry

Last week, Tesla debuted an electric semi-truck and showed how quickly technology is changing in the trucking industry. If you look at innovation that’s entered trucking in just the past couple of years, the advances in mobility are significant, including: Android platforms, WiFi in the cab, connected trucks, driver apps.

Trucking mobility has taken major strides to align closer with consumer trends in technology. Take, for example, your first cell phone. If it didn’t include a heavy battery pack, it at least likely included an extendable antenna and monochrome display. It also did nothing more than place and receive calls. How about your first computer or television? Regardless of the technology, your personal electronics tell a story of how quickly devices can evolve and improve. The trucking industry is beginning to catch up with this evolution.

While it is normal to get used to, even comfortable, with the hardware and software you use on a daily basis, the evolution of technology is something that you can use to your fleet’s advantage. Continuing to upgrade your devices can help you in a number of important ways, ensuring that you are getting the most out of technology to drive increased levels of safety, worker efficiency and return on investment (ROI), including:


Realized Access to a Wide Range of Benefits:

Getting back to the cell phone analogy, there was likely a time where you thought: “What more do I need a phone to do beyond placing and receiving calls?” As we continue to upgrade to newer and more powerful smartphones, it is hard to imagine a world without taking photos, text messaging, web browsing, emailing and posting to social media on your phone–all things you probably never thought you needed.

Trimble’s set of solutions have evolved in a similar way. By limiting yourself to just basic functionality, you are missing out on realizing the full benefits of having fleet mobility technology in the first place. Why stop with just messaging? If you have onboard technology in place, why not use it to its full advantage, addressing a wider scope of operational goals?

As the Trimble platform evolves, so, too, does the depth and breadth of solutions that are available, including Video Intelligence, fault code monitoring intelligence, improved routing and navigation, just to name a few.


Continued Device Support and Network Speed:

Another important consideration when deciding to upgrade your devices is about not getting left behind. In many instances, manufacturers cease supporting and issuing updates to older devices. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average smartphone life expectancy is 4.7 years, and many manufacturers are phasing in new models every 18-24 months. As more fleets consider implementing consumer-grade devices, this can cause issues with device availability, reliability and access to simple fixes should issues arise.

It is not just devices but the entire telecommunications landscape that is changing. Many older devices were built for the time they were manufactured. As carriers continue to switch to 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE), older networks such as CDMA are being sunsetted and shut down. This can create challenges even if the device itself is working fine.

At Trimble, we work hard to ensure our newest devices are “future-proof” when it comes to network evolution. Earlier this year, our Trimble Mobile Gateway (PMG) was upgraded to work on 4G LTE networks. Likewise, we recently debuted the Trimble Connected Gateway (PCG), a streamlined device that also leverages 4G LTE connectivity. Upgrading to these new platforms can ensure that you can reliably communicate across your entire fleet, both today and in the future.


Ensured Compliance with Regulations:

As fleet mobility technology has improved, governmental agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have begun to mandate its use for certain things like tracking Hours of Service (HOS).

Starting next month, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate will go into effect. While paper-based fleets need ELDs by December 18, fleets with Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDs) are grandfathered in and have an additional two years to implement ELDs.

For some, this means a software update but for fleets with older AOBRDs, they will have to upgrade their devices and displays to meet all of the mandate’s requirements. In this instance, upgrading technology is not just about improved efficiencies or access to the latest functionality–it is a question of being compliant with the law and preventing your fleet from getting fined or forced out of service.

Adjusting to new technology can be difficult, regardless of whether it is at home, at work or in your truck. While the learning curve can sometimes seem steep, the benefits that come along with the investment in time and capital make upgrading worth it.

Curious to hear about how new technology could benefit you? Contact us today to find out how we can help you drive new levels of safety and efficiency in your fleet.