How are start-ups shaping truck fleets?

Start-ups are bringing innovative new takes to old challenges, and many fleets are keen to become early adopters. By Freddie Holmes

Most large truck fleets have now adopted a range of technologies as standard, from trailer-tracking systems and embedded vehicle telematics to predictive cruise control and wireless in-cab communication. However, the boom in artificial intelligence (AI), vehicle automation and on-demand business models has reshaped how truck fleets are run.

Special report: What do fleets want from the future of trucking?

Various start-ups have come forward with solutions that aim to make fleets safer, more efficient and ultimately more profitable. Increasing truck utilisation and limiting downtime can be influenced significantly by AI, which can complete processes that would normally be carried out by a team of human workers, and catch problems before they occur. Much of the hardware being used for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in the passenger car space is also beginning to find a place in Class 8 tractors, and while driver monitoring remains a divisive subject, various start-ups believe in-cab cameras are the future.

Around the world, large fleet operators with the scale and financial clout to introduce these technologies are beginning to reap the rewards. Much of the innovation may not have materialised without the influence of the start-up community. "New entrants are emerging in the trucking and fleet industry to address the massive changes already underway in the broader mobility space," said Daniel Davenport, Senior Director, Automotive North America at Capgemini. "The four industry trends of connected, autonomous, shared and electric also apply to trucking and startups are working with industry leaders to advance adoption."

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