The year is 2021, and for many of us, it feels like we are living in the future. We walk around with powerful computers in our pocket. We can talk to people halfway across the world in real time. We can manage our banking without ever going into a bank. And we can watch almost anything we want online, at any time.
When you live in the present, it’s easy to forget how much some inventions have changed our lives. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and reflect on what’s new, what’s improved, and how things used to be.
For truck drivers, a few inventions have helped to significantly improve the driving experience. Some of them are already in use, others are still being developed or adopted now. But if you work in the industry, you will probably come across them sometime soon. Let’s take a look at just what those inventions are.
EETS is a gamechanger for European truck drivers. Put simply, EETS is a system that allows drivers to use just one service to pay for tolls in multiple countries across Europe. Prior to EETS, drivers would need to use different toll systems for every country. That meant multiple toll boxes stuck to the windshield, multiple invoices, and lots of paperwork.
With EETS, drivers just need one device to manage all their toll payments. This simplifies toll payments, cleans up the driver windshield, and decreases the number of devices a driver needs to use.
On-board units (OBUs) are the devices truck drivers use to manage toll payments from their trucks. They are typically a small black box with a small screen and a few buttons, with limited capabilities. Recently, companies like Eurowag have released new, modern OBUs that have full-color displays and more capabilities. One example is Eurowag’s EVA, an OBU that also includes protection against fuel card fraud and fleet management tools.
For drivers, these modern OBUs can provide a simpler way to communicate with dispatchers, reduce paperwork, and increase safety. They are a big improvement over the old OBUs, and we can expect even more improvement in the future.
Telematics combines software (a fleet management application) with hardware (some device installed in a truck) to give companies a better way to manage their fleets. Fleet owners love telematics because it gives them complete control over their business. Drivers, on the other hand, might be a little nervous about telematics – it can sound like a tracking software, and no one likes that.
But drivers that have experience with good telematics systems know it is actually a good thing. Telematics software can drastically improve communication between drivers and dispatchers, reducing the time needed to get and share information. It also makes it easy for drivers to stay within their legal driving time limits, without having to manually record their time. And dispatchers can help plan better routes for drivers, with better rest areas, thanks to everything that telematics can do.
Our last invention is not only related to trucking – almost everyone these days has a smart phone. But this invention is a very important one for truckers. Smart phones give drivers an easy way to stay in touch with their friends and family, no matter where they are. They can provide entertainment at rest areas, information from dispatchers, and help in emergencies.
Smart phones are likely to become even more important to drivers in the future. Fuel stations are now beginning to accept payments from mobile phones, which means drivers may soon not need to worry about physical fuel cards. Other innovations are definitely on their way as well.
These four inventions are changing the way drivers work, but there are certainly more we didn’t mention. Which inventions are you most grateful for, or excited about? Come let us know in our Truck Stars Facebook page, we’d love to hear from you!