Four Automotive Trends Making Their Way to Trucking

Consumer Automotive Trends Make Their Way to Trucking

As automotive technology advancements change how passengers move about the world, the trucking industry is simultaneously advancing how it can most efficiently move goods.

What an automobile is capable of has changed dramatically. Far more than simply a way to transport people and goods from Point A to Point B, today’s vehicles are supercomputers capable of running without an engine, communicating over the air, and, in some cases, even driving without a human behind the wheel.

When consumer vehicles see a leap in technology, the trucking world isn’t typically far behind.

That said, here are four trends to keep your eye on.


Autonomous vehicles may sound futuristic, but they’re already here. Tesla’s cars come standard with Level 2 autopilot features, and ride-hailing company, Lyft, is currently piloting autonomous robotaxis on the Las Vegas strip. Level 2 automation includes automated features like acceleration and steering, but the driver must remain engaged with the driving task and monitor the environment at all times.

While there will always be a place for drivers in the freight industry, machine learning, automation, and artificial intelligence are all intriguing options for fleets to develop more efficient routes, save fuel, and better navigate driver shortage strains.

While most fleets aren’t running fully autonomous equipment today, the building blocks are there. In warehouses across the country, for example, trucks can use a smart trailer telematics system to send data including cargo status and GPS location to autonomous robots, which can then retrieve packages or load pallets without a human being involved in the process.

Read more about how trailer telematics are the crucial link to an autonomous future.


Connected technology will play one of the largest roles in the future of trucking. Having a connection to the world around the truck is immensely important in the advancement of other industry technologies, like autonomy. Those autonomous Lyft robotaxis, for example, depend on connective technology to receive signals from other vehicles and from sensors built into the surrounding infrastructure, such as on traffic signal poles.

“Predictive vehicle technology will find its way more and more into logistics due to the need for real-time usable data, maintenance notifications, and asset utilization,” says Great Dane Executive Director of Strategy Dan Bentz. “This may include embedding smart technology—even mobile device voice commands—into operational aspects of a logistics vehicle.”


Ten years ago, there wasn’t a mass-produced all-electric truck on the market. Today, influenced by early electrified consumer advancements from companies like Tesla and Nissan, every major OEM has its version of an all-electric truck running routes.

Although electrification isn’t yet viable for every application, advancements in battery technology are constantly expanding the possibilities. In fact, Great Dane Electrification Product Manager, Colby White, says he believes it will likely be only a few years before technology allows for an engineless TRU for both last-mile delivery and long-haul trucking.

Read more about the role of electric trailers in trucking’s more sustainable future.

Shared Vehicles

Shared mobility has already found success in the consumer space with companies like Uber and Lyft picking up thousands of passengers a day, or apps like Turo allowing customers to essentially rent a stranger’s car.

The trucking industry is also diving into the potential benefits of shared vehicle use. Tech startup Flock Freight, for example, helps fleets identify freight pooling opportunities to consolidate goods into trucks where space is available. Ryder System is also experimenting with short-term rentals of its idle equipment.

As automotive technology advancements change how passengers move about the world, the trucking industry is simultaneously advancing how it can most efficiently move goods.

Read more articles like this one on ETT Online.