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Trucking Industry To Be Reshaped By Technology

Fleet Owner -- The trucking industry is expected to undergo significant and continued “transformation” due to ongoing incorporation of more active safety technologies, such as collision mitigation, and factory-installed telematics systems, according to a panel discussion at the 2015 Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference last week in Dallas, Texas.

Stephen Hampson, president and GM of Meritor WABCO, and Chris Hines, executive VP for Zonar Systems, both argued that various technologies will not only continue to make the industry safer – reducing crashes and helping identify bad driving habits – but also help boost fleet profitability as well, particularly via increased vehicle uptime.

“We’re witnessing an evolution of safety systems that integrate multiple technologies such as lane departure warning (LDW), electronic stability control (ESC), telematics and data/video capture devices,” Hampson said.

“We’re also now starting to share data through vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology as well,” he added. “All of that will help improve vehicle and driver performance, not only to reduce crashes but to pave the way for semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles as well.”

Reducing the severity of crashes – if not eliminating them altogether – is what will help fleets achieve payback from their safety system investments, Hampson stressed.

For example, he pointed to the projected benefits from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) impending ESC mandate for tractor-trailers.

Assuming that all existing 5-axle tractor-trailers operating on U.S. roads get fitted with ESC, the expected annual safety benefit is 4,659 fewer crashes, 126 fewer fatalities, and 5,909 fewer injuries, all while saving $1.5 billion a year in crash-related expenses.

Hampson also noted that the rapid changes occurring to newer safety technologies, such as Meritor WABCO’s OnGuard collision mitigation system, should further reduce accidents.

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