Transport industry coming under the spell of technological advances

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Hit the road: technology is impacting freight transport more and more.

We live in an increasingly connected world where digital communication and the technology driving it are rapidly changing the way we live our lives.

The road freight and transport industry is no different.

From fleets to manufacturers, to owner drivers, everyone is exploring new ways of sharpening efficiency.

Telematics is one of the most popular technological advancements on offer in the truck industry.

Isuzu’s telematics offerings, Isuzu Connect and Isuzu Connect Plus, have been delivering tangible benefits, from increased safety to reduced fuel consumption, and that’s only expected to increase.

Improving safety and fuel efficiency are two of the key objectives of both offerings, with Isuzu Connect featuring driver observation components, mechanical checks and feedback concerning acceleration and braking. Meanwhile, Isuzu Connect Plus provides in-depth monitoring and management of engine and truck mechanical efficiency.

There are three modes of communication coming under the umbrella of Intelligent Transport Technologies or ITS.

These are: (V2V) vehicle-to-vehicle, (V2I) vehicle-to-infrastructure, and (V2X) vehicle to ‘other.’

While V2I keeps drivers alert to their environment, V2V paves the way for drivers and operators to freely communicate and share information with each other.

Isuzu’s new Driver ID and Electronic Work Diary (EWD) system will soon provide a two way messaging system, through its industry-first telematics technology.

This communication capability enables vehicles within a set proximity to exchange personal warning messages regarding location, speed and direction of travel.

These are features which are expected to not only improve traffic congestion, but also help to reduce the number of traffic accidents on our roads, and mitigate any accidents that do occur.

EWDs on the other hand are essentially an electronic device or system to observe and record work and rest times of a transport driver.

While provision for EWDs exists in Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), a definitive EWD specification is yet to be finalised in Australia. That said, EWDs will, by their very nature, work to shape and influence the commercial application of telematics technology more broadly.

Although currently under development and testing, Isuzu expects its own EWD system will achieve genuine safety improvements that complement compliance, enforcement and safety regulatory objectives.

Some landmark benefits include:

EWDs allow the driver and transport operator to review past work and rest records to ensure compliance with fatigue law.
On-road enforcement could come via remote access mechanisms such as a laptop, smartphone or other electronic equipment.
EWDs automatically populate default information, negating the need for drivers to manually record work and rest information.
Increased accuracy in access to data.
Reduced interruption for drivers and transport operators during an intercept.
Reduction in the number of written work diaries being lost or stolen.
Among the list of benefits are of course the significant cost savings.

Trials show it’s considerably cheaper to operate an EWD system as opposed to the traditional hand-written alternative. These savings are spread across industries, from transport operators to roadside enforcement.

Looking ahead in the V2V space, research suggests that it will eventually be possible for vehicles to exchange information within a localised ad-hoc area of approximately 1,000 metres from another vehicle via a wireless LAN (local area network).

However, this won’t happen overnight. Not only would this development require collaborative technologies that comply to a specific radio frequency range, vehicle manufacturers would also need to work together, which has yet to show signs of happening.

Taken to its experimental extreme, researchers in Europe have predicted autonomous heavy vehicles that would automatically monitor the precise distance from the vehicle ahead, and adjust speeds automatically.

As we approach the 22nd century, trains of driverless trucks could become a reality, but this would also require highly specific road networks.


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