While the trucking industry is still understanding the impact that technology like telematics, edge computing, and AI can have operations, that hasn’t stopped the push to develop even more advanced options for fleet management.
One such emerging technology is smart trailers.
This article will help you understand what smart trailers will have to offer your business in the near future and prepare your team for the next evolution of fleet management.
What Makes a Trailer “Smart”?
Smart trailer technology marks a massive step forward for fleet management.
While telematics, sensors, and tech like edge computing are already standard integration for trucks, trailers are only now transforming with the power of these digital technologies.
But how does it all work?
Much like truck technology, smart trailers rely heavily on the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This game-changing tech allows for increased visibility, efficiency, and safety.
It’s also paved the way for the emergence of smart trailers.
Here are a few more key features of smart trailers:
- Sensors—smart trailers, like trucks, will be outfitted with a multitude of sensors to monitor various aspects of the trailer’s state, like temperature, load capacity, and much more.
- GPS and telematics—telematics systems combine GPS with onboard diagnostics to record data like idle time and driver behavior to provide a complete view of a trailer’s operation.
- Autonomous capabilities—from smart axles to advanced braking systems, smart trailers can help detect and react to obstacles and even offer autonomous docking capabilities.
- Connectivity and communication—smart trailers can stay connected and offer real-time data transmission to fleet managers and drivers.
Other key technologies fueling smart trailer adoption are artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These technologies can provide some amazing insights.
For instance, ML algorithms can help predict maintenance needs based on historical data, enabling predicate maintenance efforts that can reduce overall downtime.
All these technologies combine to create a new approach to fleet management where the trailer offers just as much data and insight as the truck and driver.
Benefits of Smart Trailers
Smart trailer technology offers some key benefits to fleet management leaders:
- Enhanced safety and accident prevention
- Improved fuel efficiency
- Real-time tracking and fleet management
- Predictive maintenance capabilities
- Better cargo security
- Optimized cargo capacity and load balancing
Smart Trailers and Sustainability
When it comes to eco-friendly trucking efforts, smart trailers offer improved fuel efficiency through route optimization, reducing unnecessary mileage.
They also can help minimize waste and emissions by offering fleet managers insight into predictive maintenance — ensuring that a trailer’s components are always functioning properly.
Combine this with advanced real-time decision-making from telematics systems, and trucking leaders can start reducing the carbon footprint of each journey. Overall, smart trailers represent a huge step forward in creating a more sustainable future for the trucking industry.
Challenges and Solutions
Of course, smart trailer adoption is not without its challenges.
The first of which is standardization.
Tools like RP1226, a 14-pin standardized connector that allows third-party access to in-vehicle data, provide somewhat of a solution here but still comes with standardization struggles.
Moreover, since vehicle and trailer data are owned by the OEM, it can create roadblocks for streamlined integration.
Even so, industry leaders like Morey are at the table with OEM trailer providers and regulatory bodies to try and discover solutions to these data control issues before this technology becomes standard.
Some other challenges facing the smart trailer adoption include:
- Front-end investment costs
- Security and privacy concerns
- Regulatory difficulties
- Technical and infrastructure questions
The Future of Smart Trailers
Smart trailers are an emerging technology.
While smart trucks equipped with telematics, GPS, sensors, and other technologies are becoming standard for the industry, for smart trailers, we’re still looking forward to understanding how to master the adoption of this tech.
Even so, there’s no denying the impact smart trailers will have on several key areas:
- Autonomous driving—smart trailers will provide crucial information for self-driving systems alongside other features like powered eAxles.
- IoT and 5G advancements—as IoT and 5G evolve, expect to see an increase in the number of sensors used in trailers, offering improvements in data analysis and communication between trailers and trucks.
- Predictive analytics—with more information coming from trailers, AI systems can better predict potential issues before they arise. This could be patterns in engine data, tire pressure performance, and even cargo-specific insights.
Innovation on the Horizon: The Promising Future of Smart Trailers
Smart trailers represent the next step in the evolution of smart fleet management practices.
With more sensors creating more data, fleet leaders can make even better decisions built on data-driven insights.
But it’s more than supporting existing efforts; it’s about creating new opportunities.
Whether this comes from eAxle and autonomous vehicle technology or from applications we have yet to realize, there is no mistaking the impact smart trailer technology will have on the industry.
Here at Morey, we’re at the forefront of this push toward a more intelligent trucking industry.
While we are at the cutting edge of smart trailer advances and adoption, our goal is to help trucking leaders connect assets and integrate technologies like IoT, AI, telematics, and edge computing into their businesses.
If you want to learn about how your team can prepare and stay informed on smart trailer advancements, be sure to connect with our business development team. We can walk you through your current options and schedule a demo so you can see everything in action.
The best way to prepare for the future of smart trailers is to integrate the latest fleet management technology into your business today. Get in touch to request a quote from the Morey team.