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The road to safety: How IoT is changing the trucking game

Highlights
  • The Internet of Things is revolutionising the transport and logistics sector
  • Innovation is focused on the three key pillars of speed, fatigue and mass management
  • Technology enables diverse businesses to work together to co-ordinate trucking space
  • Black boxes, cameras, sensors and apps accelerate efficiency and productivity

There’s a new wave of technology that’s driving the transport industry into a safer, more efficient and more sustainable era.

With more than 650,000 trucks on Australian roads carrying freight on a daily basis, the challenges around safety and efficiency are numerous and proliferating. But thanks to the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), innovators are uncovering new opportunities to meet these challenges with leading edge technology.

The road to safety: How IoT is changing the trucking game

Innovation in transport and logistics is focused on the three key pillars of speed, fatigue and mass management, says the executive director of manufacturing, transport and logistics at Telstra, Charlie Macdonald.

Driving safety forward

IoT is revolutionising the transport and logistics sector, Macdonald says, resulting in smarter motorways, smarter systems, and even the connection of heavy vehicles to traffic lights.

“If heavy vehicles can communicate their location with upcoming traffic lights, the lights will be green at the right moment to allow the vehicle to move through the system without slowing down,” Macdonald explains. Small changes such as this will have a profound impact on infrastructure, emissions and fuel consumption.

The added bonus is accident prevention. “We’re going to use advanced communications between vehicles to make sure we don’t have any collisions,” says Macdonald. “We’re going to put in technologies to allow for higher levels of productivity and efficiency.”

We’re going to use advanced communications between vehicles to make sure that we don’t have any collisions. And we’re going to put in technologies to allow for higher levels of productivity and efficiency.

– Charlie Macdonald, executive director, Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics, Telstra

Technology for increased efficiency

“The freight industry is really exciting from a technology perspective,” says Cate Hull, CEO of FreightExchange. “Trucks now have black boxes, there are cameras on the roads, there are sensors in the roads, and you’ve got all sorts of amazing technology which traditional companies can now use to really drive efficiency.”

Hull saw big opportunities for technology to underpin much-needed transformation in the sector. As many as one in four trucks on the road empty, she says. “We saw a big opportunity in freight to really drive sustainability and better efficiencies in the industry.”

FreightExchange is now a national success story, using data insights from IoT technology to match empty trucks with goods for distribution – saving time and money and increasing productivity.

Change is in our hands

The growth of apps and mobile devices is also increasing safety and efficiency on our roads. Tools such as the CheckALoad app, which takes the national Load Restraint Guide and turns it interactive, are making it easier for heavy-vehicle drivers to check load safety and compliance.

These mobile tools also allow drivers, consignors and compliance officers to maintain records, by providing instant, real-time access to previous transactions at the touch of a button.

“We used to run our businesses using our rear-view mirrors, always looking behind us, analysing data on the results of our sales performance and the production of previous months,” Macdonald says. “In our new world, we’re looking through the windscreen, looking forward and predicting what’s about to happen based on real-time data and new insights.”

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