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Breaker! Breaker! Smarter trucks not far down the road

Posting in Sustainability

Survey: Telematics, embedded navigation, efficiency diagnostics and whether or not the fuel system is a hybrid one are rising to the top as the deciding factors in truck fleet procurement.

Well this was refreshing to discover: Slowly but surely, companies that rely heavily on fuel-guzzling truck delivery fleets are shifting their purchasing decisions to emphasize environmental considerations. This is according to a new global IBM study called "Truck 2020: Transcending Turbulence," which covers the opinions of 91 executives in 13 different countries. (Not exactly a huge universe, but a clear signal of progress.)

Considering the sponsor of this study, you won't surprised to hear that technology features increasingly are rising to the top as the deciding factor in truck procurement. Technology is seen as a way of simultaneously increasing fleet efficiency and also improving the sustainability profile of assets that are often perceived as environmentally problematic. That includes telematics that help reduce service times, embedded navigation systems, efficiency diagnostics, and (last but not least) whether or not the fuel system is a hybrid one.

According to the IBM survey, various technologies along truck routes (such as those that are embedded right within the road and in traffic signals) are also an increasingly important consideration. Sensors will be able to communicate directly with in-vehicle counterparts, providing drivers with up-to-the minute traffic information or other data that could improve fuel efficiency.

Of course, it will takes years for truck fleets to turn over, but the smarter the new additions are when it comes to the bottom line, the less likely it is that businesses will continue throwing good money after bad for maintenance.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure