Why Truckers Are Saying Dont Tech My Truck
Technology is not only heating up the auto manufacturing industry but it is also changing Class 8 tractor production.
Last week we looked at how consumer enthusiasm over new technology in transportation is influencing production and how that demand from drivers is increasing range, affordability, and the environmental impact of consumer cars.
Trucks are driven by the combined interests of the commercial truck manufacturers and Congress. Transport stakeholders are constantly testing all options that could improve tractor efficiency and ease of use.
Truck drivers have a different view on technological improvements and additions to their main tool. We have the truckers' view on transport technology and how they feel these advancements are affecting drivers.
All Electronics Offered
Truckers believe that the older the trucker's rig, the better. One driver said that a truck should have "fewer electronics" than others.
Move Car's Fleet Safety and Compliance Manager said, "I knew of a trucker who wanted a 2002 Peterbilt379 with a Cat engine." "He was one of 45 people who had it before him." She also showed me a collection of trucks for sale from 1997 to the early 2000s. She said, "That's what truckers consider reliable gear."
Truck drivers say that trucks often fail to function when electronic devices click on. Modern truck features like collision avoidance and reactive braking aren't necessary if they don't solve the problem.
Truckers must stop when the "Check Engine” light illuminates. Truckers say that the engine light on modern trucks with technological features will turn on more often because of a non-essential electronic problem and not because there is an issue with the engine.
Truckers are often forced to find the cause of false alarms, particularly when they have to fix them repeatedly. This can hinder their ability to perform their job. Truckers know that time is money.
The electronic extras can't be linked to truck functions in order to make technology work for truckers instead of hindering them.
Truckers are very familiar with their trucks, not only because it is their daily livelihood, but also because they spend so much time in and around them. Move Car maintains strong and close relationships with all of its car shipping partner companies.
It was easier to identify problems with older trucks. Truckers could take care of many maintenance issues on their own. Trucks can also be serviced at any truck stop on any interstate. Today, this is not true.
New technology trucks require specialized equipment to diagnose and repair. Dealers are often unable to fix them. Many repair shops do not have the equipment necessary to fix these new models.
One driver stated that "so many new trucks are in shops every day with sensor and def issues, the nation is flooded with them."
Truckers also prefer to drive older vehicles that are more common, as they don't need special parts or trips to fix every little problem.
One former truck owner said that the cost was too high. This is their money-maker. They can't afford to let it go down, and they don't have the money to fix it right away.
Too Fast Technology
Truckers feel that new technological innovations aren't being tested thoroughly enough before they become an integral part of their truck's functionality. The technology changes from month to month. This is quite accurate.
Overdrive reports that "many major OEs either just wrapped up a project, or are currently testing one." These designs and data are quickly incorporated into the next generation of Class 8 tractors.
Freightliner, for example, used its Revolution concept truck as a test vehicle to evaluate features that would later be integrated into the Cascadia Evolution.
"The next generation of truckers isn't yet on the road." Move Car, the Fleet Safety and Compliance Manager suggested that manufacturers should reach out to today’s truckers. She said that most experienced drivers are not looking to change their routines or complicate how they work.
Bet on Tech-for-Tomorrow
Although truckers don't object to technology in general, they do want it to be simple and easy to use. Truckers also insist that technology of today needs to be evaluated from a wider range of perspectives and in a more detailed manner before being used on the roads.
The futuristic features phase of the debate will eventually end. Drivers are resisting new technology and this will lead to practicality. We'll see trucks that are more suited for the drivers they're designed for.