OK, get ready to blow your mind. The Internet of things, IoT, is a real thing that is going to have a real impact. Yes, the Internet of things. Haven’t heard of it? According to Forbes you aren’t alone; while the IoT is a foreign acronym to 80-plus percent of the population, it’s been around since the first ATMs hit the streets. In a nutshell, the Internet of things is a term that describes objects that are connected over the Internet. So everything from your smartphone to your electronic logging device, as well as yourself as the person using these things, are part of the Internet of things. In trying to wrap your mind around the IoT, here are just a few of the ways that the trucking industry is connected to the Internet of things.
Almost every truck driver on the road today has some sort of GPS system. This might be a dashboard mounted GPS for trucks that you have purchased on your own. If you are a company driver chances are your trucking employer has pre-installed GPS tracking software in all trucks in order to monitor your location, fuel use and speed at all times. Truckers on a budget are able to buy a GPS-esque program via a smartphone app for a few bucks. Or if you are really on a budget, use the Internet service of Google Maps to find your way around town. All of these services connect truck drivers via the Internet of things, whether for better or worse.
Computerized Truck Systems
The newer model vehicles hitting the roads are becoming more and more reliant on computerization to operate. For example, mechanics are stuck using computers to diagnose problems with vehicles before making any repairs on their own. As trucks become more efficient for fuel use and long term operation, computers are going to be utilized in a greater capacity as a way to keep these trucks in check.
Electronic Logging Devices
The most notable addition to the Internet of things will be the overall requirement for truck drivers to use electronic logging devices. At the present time as a trucker you have the option of going ahead and installing an electronic logging device. By December 2017, however, you will have to have that ELD in place or be subject to a shut down. The main reason for this device is to electronically track and monitor commercial truckers in terms of hours of service and regulatory measures. Everything a trucker does will be reported to the DOT via the Internet thanks to these electronic logging devices.
Fitness Wearables and Tracking Devices
If you have a Fitbit or Apple Watch, those are part of the Internet of things. Tracking your steps and monitoring your fitness, while relaying everything to you on an app on your smartphone or tablet, these wearables require the Internet for full functionality. While Google Glass isn’t exactly hip and trendy among truckers, this is another example of wearables that will eventually make headway in the tech world.
The Future of the Internet of Things for Truckers
In the near future we are looking at using self-driving trucks, aka autonomous vehicles, to take on regional trucking jobs and local delivery services. This will have a major impact on people in that these automobiles are going to revolutionize a part of the trucking industry. Trucking jobs will be limited to over the road cdl jobs, as local jobs are handled autonomously. That’s a lot of dependability on the Internet. For instance, if the Internet system controlling a city’s local delivery system for Amazon were to get hacked or go haywire, imagine what kind of outcome that would have on the general public. Scenarios ranging from car accidents to deliveries to the wrong addresses come to mind.
Why should you care? The Internet of things is a system that is becoming more advanced and interconnected every single day. For truckers the Internet is increasingly a part of your daily trucking jobs. Be aware of the impact that the Internet of things is having on your trucking lifestyle. After all, if the Internet were to break down, as with the case in that popular sci-fi book titled “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell, how would you be able to do your job as a trucker?
From the use of the Internet for electronic logging devices, to the eventual use of self-driving delivery vehicles, truck drivers are increasingly dependent on the web. While you don’t have to get all prepper-survivalist here, you do want to be conscious of how the Internet of things relates to the truck driving industry. Rather than looking at it with a pessimistic lens, move toward trying to find new possibilities for making your trucking job easier through the use of the Internet… of things.