Just as the arrival of the connected car is already changing how carmakers will operate in the future, the advent of the digital truck will completely transform how freight is transported on the world’s highways.
Thanks to a combination of new technologies, trucks will move down the road guided by a wealth of information from transportation infrastructure and other vehicles, improving utilization through remote maintenance, increasing efficiency, and boosting safety.
Eventually, these trucks will drive themselves, freeing up drivers to take on administrative tasks, and eventually doing away with them altogether.
These advances will have an equally profound effect on the entire logistics system.
Trucks will become even more tightly integrated into the entire logistics chain, with the arrival of shipments to factories, warehouses, and end customers timed precisely, as all the players across the supply chain gain full transparency into the whereabouts of their goods.
And ultimately, trucks will be able to communicate their contents and destination with other trucks and with technology platforms that will automatically match shipments with trucks with available space, rerouting them as necessary.
As these digitally enabled, cloud-based solutions come on line, they will rearrange how the logistics business operates, rendering obsolete old business models and enabling new ones.
Some players, such as the truck makers, will look to offer increasingly sophisticated shipping solutions, taking over much of the territory now controlled by shipping companies and other logistics providers, as will many large end customers.
Technology companies will try to enter the market as well, offering their own trucking and logistics platforms - and even, perhaps, their own trucks.
The Era of Digitized Trucking
The radical transformation coming to the trucking and logistics industries over the next 10 or 15 years presents many risks but also opportunities for all the players in the business.
For some, the risks will be so great that they will likely not survive.
For others, success will depend on their ability to understand the opportunities available to them, and to build or buy the capabilities needed to aggressively pursue them.
The real risk lies in failing to move forward.