One of the biggest stories to come out of 2017 was, of course, the autonomous truck. While it’s clear that this is the direction the industry is headed, what’s unclear is exactly what it means for everyone involved – especially CDL drivers. But there is one big thing that is FOR CERTAIN. While these trucks may be able to drive themselves, they won’t be able to fix themselves. This is actually a great opportunity for technicians.
Better Maintenance Plans
The prediction is that maintenance plans will actually be more “scheduled” since you will have a computer essentially telling you what needs to be done and when. Maintenance needs will likely also be more severe as these trucks may not know how to respond or work around something that is not functioning properly the way a human would. The result is going to be a need for a better PLAN of action which many Fleet Managers currently lack. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a learning process for everyone involved.
Training Technicians & Improving Skills
While all of the same type of routine maintenance and issues that we see today will continue to exist – tires, brakes, fluids, etc, there may actually be the need for more preventative maintenance. This autonomous technology and everything that comes on board with it will certainly require technicians to begin to adopt a new set of skills. Some of the things that will become more important will be built-in technology such as radar, GPS, full-blown navigation computers, fly-by-wire systems, servos and various types of linear actuators. This is just to name a few. It’s going to be imperative that companies being to train their technicians on this new technology and the race to figure it out first will most certainly be on very soon.
Dickinson Fleet’s Commitment
At Dickinson Fleet Services, our commitment has always been to stay on top of new technology. We embrace change and recommend new technology to our customers only when we feel it will improve uptime, minimize downtime and improve the bottom line. In other words, before we adopt any new technology we want to make sure it works FOR our customers, not AGAINST them regardless of what the “trend” might be.
Our approach to self-driving, autonomous vehicles will be very much the same. We will most certainly work to stay ahead of the curve so that we can educate our customers on how the industry is changing, what type of patterns we are seeing and how it might impact their fleet. Our technicians will be encouraged and empowered to be at the forefront of this new technology as it continues to catch on and we will evolve to implement the best practices within our company. The technology we are dealing with now is much different than it was during our 1st year in business, 20 years ago, and we certainly anticipate it to be MUCH MUCH different over the next 20.
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Dickinson Fleet is the nation’s leader in mobile truck maintenance and repair. We currently have 230 mobile trucks equipped with state of the art technology visiting our customers nightly in nearly every major city in the country.