Modern Transportation due to DIGITAL REVOLUTION

Today, digital has invested all sectors of activity and touches all the functions of the company. Its penetration is nonetheless heterogeneous, the marketing or customer-oriented functions being more advanced in terms of reflections and experiments.

Road freight transport is no exception. After the introduction of embedded computing in trucks in the 90s, or more recently mobile applications, a digital revolution begins. Major players are announcing innovative applications for this sector such as EYERIDE which is providing a service for real time video streaming from the fleet. Through this service, you can watch the fleet safety and driver behavior. What is it really? What are the potential and concrete uses? What are the digital perspectives for road freight transport?

Answers to the issues of carriers

Transport has long been considered – wrongly – as a cost and low value added item. Yet, several factors show its contribution to the overall performance of the supply chain.

Transport stakeholders face many challenges – security, traceability, costs, quality and time. In addition, they compete fiercely, maintaining a permanent pressure on rates. In order to cope, they seek to continuously improve their productivity and service to customers.

Transport also occurs at various stages of the supply chain, upstream – supply of raw materials, as downstream – inter / continental distribution, national, regional, and the last mile of finished products. It is also subject to constraints, sometimes regulatory, related to the nature of the products transported, such as luxury goods, drugs, or hazardous materials. These must be taken into account in the organization, processes, tools and physical means used.

The arrival of new technologies in the truck

The onboard computer was one of the levers to meet the challenges and issues faced by industry players. First niche solution for some carriers, it has become, over the years, as a standard for road transport. The main reason is the strengthening of customer requirements for tracking their orders.

Its principle is simple: rely on a central computer tool and a computer on board the truck, in order to provide a central operating unit with a wealth of data on the activity of the driver and the truck.

Among the features commonly encountered are: geolocation, geofencing (zones definition) and corridoring (idem for a traffic corridor), generating alerts (non-compliance with predefined routes, zones or corridors, intrusion, stalling of trailers …), assignment of missions and communication driver, assistance to navigation and driving (evaluation of driving style …), monitoring the progress of deliveries and customer information (hazards, delays …), social management (monitoring of driving time), or technical monitoring of the fleet for maintenance.

Feedback and associated tracking is usually referred to as “real time”. It should be noted however that the standard offer of solution providers is often calculated on the basis of a positioning every 2 to 5 minutes and every change of direction, even if the practice shows that a rise of position all the 10 minutes is already sufficient for most follow-ups. However, the price difference, which is based on the transmission frequency and the data volume, can be noticeable! For that, the technical choices are multiple: GPRS (most used), Wifi (for specific applications with short radius of action), satellite (global coverage, but for a higher cost), even 4G (price more in more affordable).

From embedded computing to mobile tools

The scope of these tools has greatly expanded since their introduction. The first generation followed the motor vehicle, the second was extended to means of transport, such as trailers. Soon, the next generation will track containers, even the goods themselves.

Of mobility tools like smartphone and tablet were also implemented as an extension of the onboard computer. They allow the driver to enter information or have the electronic delivery slip signed by the recipient directly on his mobile tool, which is then synchronized with his fixed terminal.

It now appears that embedded computing must not operate in isolation, and instead integrate with other carrier systems (maintenance, transport management), to be fully exploited.


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