With it only being a matter of time and sufficient testing before automation incorporates itself more heavily into the heavy equipment scene, let’s take a look at the current technology that has come about over the years and whether it has been an advantage or simply a distraction to the operator. Now all of these gadgets have had the intention of improving the driving experience for those behind the wheels of the massive equipment but sometimes it seems that the best thing a driver can do is to be well trained with their equipment and properly prepared for the task at hand so they can keep their focus.
There’s no denying the usefulness of this device as some can receive real-time updates concerning road and traffic conditions as well as potential route changes before the driver loses time. They have however, made drivers quite dependent where few choose to investigate their designated route and obtain a good baseline of where they are headed before heading out. Failing to do this can result in abrupt “recalculating” messages from the device and therefore lead drives down the wrong path and result in potentially missing deadlines. Overall, we would say that this has been beneficial to the industry but that drivers have become too dependent on it.
Hands Free Devices
This is where the debate really heats up. Their intention is to allow the operator to keep both hands directed towards operating the vehicle while still allowing them to interact with whatever the devices designated purpose is. While this sounds like a good idea, we can all probably recall an instance where we used such a device but suddenly found ourselves making a quick steering adjustment or jab of the brake pedal because we had become more focused on the conversation or whatever it may have been involving the hands free device than we were on the road. With laws having come into place with texting while driving and now some that prohibit any use of cell phones in construction areas, it’s clear that hands free devices have not be a perfect solution to distracted driving.
Finally we’ve come to automation, which is one of the biggest technological advances in the motoring industry for quite some time. It brings about possibilities such as shorter delivery times due to nonstop transportation. Budweiser has already made a successful delivery using a fully automated tractor-trailer. The only catch at this point is that someone has to stay in the vehicle should human interaction be required in case of emergency. If that condition remains when automation is more widespread, will it lead to a larger number of inattentive drivers behind the wheel? Will it provide more safety on the road or make it more hazardous with the driver not providing the inputs required to operate the equipment? This is a topic is one that will be closely monitored by all over the coming years. What are your thoughts on it? Do you think it will provide a safer environment for both the operators and those in its direct area?