Trucking isn’t immune to the digital revolution. In fact, a day may come soon where tech tools like the Uber app become essential heavy duty truck parts.
Probably the most controversial piece of heavy duty truck equipment right now is one the government has mandated. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is now requiring truckers to carry Electronic Logging Devices to ensure drivers don’t stay on the road too long at one stretch, replacing the paper logs that had been part of the industry since the 1930s.
Many truckers are unhappy with the changes. They have complained about the intrusiveness of the devices, but also their vulnerability to hackers.
“They can shutdown the entire rig,” said Scott Jordan of Peculiar, Missouri. “They can control the braking system, the engine, everything.”
But ELDs aren’t the only high-tech heavy duty truck parts becoming part of the industry. So are apps, like Uber’s new trucking service.
Uber launched its Uber Freight App in May, and recently added new features to it, according to the Verge:
One, called Post My Truck, allows truckers to tell the app where and when they will be available with an empty truck. They can also specify what kind of job they’re looking for (short, medium, long haul, etc), and will then get notifications when they’re matched with cargo loads that fit their preferences. In spirit, it’s similar to the way Uber cab drivers mark themselves “available” so that they show up on the riders’ map, though the company says the two features work in different ways technologically.
The other new feature is called “Reloads,” which takes a different approach to helping truckers find their next jobs. Instead of the driver flagging that they will be available at a certain time and place, the Reloads feature shows up on the page that describes a job they’re considering, or one they’ve already taken. There, Uber Freight app will show other loads at or near the destination that job will take them to. This means truckers won’t have to start totally new search of the jobs available in the city they might be headed to, nor will they have to wait until they get there to find a new gig.