It seems that every day we hear or read something new about how technology is changing our world or shaping our industry – all in the name of efficiency and ease. Some have the potential for sweeping changes like automation and blockchain technology, but others are as simple as consumer gadgets and gear to improve our daily lives.
Here’s a look at just a few tech advances designed to make life over-the-road a better experience for the professional truck owner-operator.
High Tech Eyes & Ears
Do you have one dash cam, two or maybe even four? Dash cams or dashboard mounted cameras have become commonplace among professional drivers who like to record everything that happens while driving. The tiny technology is cost effective and independent owner-operators say it offers peace of mind during an unexpected event on the road.
Do your research and compare different brands before purchasing – some of the newer dash cams feature voice recognition technology and can make time-lapse videos that can be shared on social media via a smartphone app.
“With a dash cam system, if there is an incident of any nature, I have proof through the recordings of what actually happened. Having a dash camera protects my customer’s freight in transit and gives my business an additional level of security.” - Landstar BCO Christopher Grimshaw
Bluetooth headsets have soared in popularity over the last few years because they allow professional truck drivers to exchange data and information with wireless mobile devices while keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. Because Bluetooth wireless technology is 20 years old in 2020, tech writers anticipate some serious upgrades including multi-streaming audio and better sounding audio.
"The safety aspect is the biggest benefit and the advancements with technology allow us to drive hands-free while clearly communicating with our customers and independent Landstar agents while we drive." - Landstar BCO Lisa Ringelstetter
Technology Picks for Winter Weather
Consider weathering the winter months with heated windshield wiper blades and heated LED lights. The technology behind heated windshield wiper blades works with the vehicle’s defrost system and includes heating elements sealed inside the windshield wipers to melt snow and ice. This hot technology is touted by makers to improve visibility and decrease driving dangers related to snow and ice buildup on wipers and windshields.
Heated LED headlights and taillights are the newest technology on the market to melt away snow and slush. When snow sticks during transit, other drivers may not see the truck’s lights creating a safety hazard. Instead of worrying about clearing lights every few miles, owner-operators can opt for heated LED headlights designed to heat up when the temperature goes down.
Do your research, as heated LED headlights are only available for newer model trucks and trailers. Be sure to check with your local dealer to confirm whether heated LED light technology is available for your truck.
“I have used heated wiper blades on my trucks for the last seven years. I love them. They are a very simple technology and easy to install with the proper tools. When we operate in snow, sleet and ice, the wiper arms freeze, but the wipers themselves are nice and dry and free of any snow or ice buildup. They are a very simple, affordable technology that makes a big difference in our safety as we travel during the winter months.” - Landstar BCO Nick Marcu
Tech to Track Furry Friends
If you have a four-legged friend in your truck, chances are they are a very important part of your family. Pet cameras are now available to help professional truck drivers keep watch over their pets when they have to be left in the cab. Equipped with high definition cameras, night vision, a two-way radio and, in some cases, a treat dispenser, these technologies allow pet owners to easily interact with their pet from virtually anywhere.
GPS tracking collars serve as a safety net for owner-operators who travel with their pets. The high tech collars have GPS so you can track your dog or cat if they ever get lost. Most GPS collars are available in various sizes, are waterproof and have a battery that will hold a charge for approximately three months.
“We use a home camera security system that also runs through an app on our iPad. With the app, we can see our property when we are away from home. When we are on the road, and we have to be out of the truck we just turn the iPad camera on our dog, Murphy, and look in on him through the app on our cell phones. It allows me to hear sound and even talk to him if need be. It also has motion settings and we are able to zoom in on the thermometer. It gives me peace of mind that, at any time, I can see the temperature in the truck and know Murphy is comfortable.” - Landstar BCO Jennifer Marcu
The Landstar Contractor Purchasing Program (LCAPP) offers independent Landstar business capacity owners (BCOs) discounts on a variety of tractor and trailer technologies like Bluetooth headsets and dash cam systems featured in this article.
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