Among all transportation segments, trucks and buses are the leaders in terms of technological advances and investments by suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). According to OICA publications and Markets and Markets analysis, global truck production reached 4.02 million units in 2017 from 3.60 million in 2015. On the other hand, global truck production Buses increased to 429,838 units in 2018 from 390,466 units in 2015. The increase in truck and bus production is indicative of the increase in demand for freight and passenger transport.
It is also estimated that there will be an increase in maritime transport activity, which will stimulate the demand for trucking. This would eventually translate into increased revenue for fleet operators. However, the increase in revenue will be accompanied by an expected shortage of drivers and rising wages and fuel prices. Fluctuating fuel prices, driver shortages, increasing trucking rates and a possible shortage of trucking capacity will be some of the significant challenges facing the trucking industry in the coming years.
Going forward, some of the most influential trends in the transportation industry will be closely tied to these key challenges. According to the analysis, key transportation industry trends in 2018 include growing demand for truck bed, electric trucks, autonomous driving, electric/hybrid buses and smart transportation solutions.
Truck decking is the act of linking two or more trucks in a group using connectivity technologies, autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and support systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. path. Trucks in a platoon automatically keep a set close distance. The truck at the front of the pack acts as the leader, and the vehicles behind adapt and react to changes in its motion, requiring little or no driver intervention.
According to the ITS4CV study, decking can improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 16% for rear vehicles and up to 8% for the front vehicle. Factors such as stringent emission standards, increased fuel efficiency standards, increasing traffic congestion and traffic accidents, and advancements in AI technologies will drive the truck derailment market. Dislodging trucks can be an effective solution to driver shortages and high wages.
According to the US Department of Energy (US-DOE), the average vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) for Class 8 trucks in the United States was close to 68,115 Km in 2016. With the increase in truck production and freight transport, VMT is expected to grow in the coming years. This will eventually increase CO2 emissions from the trucking industry.
To comply with emission limits, it is necessary to have advanced engine technologies or after-treatment devices. Either of these factors will cause the price of trucks to rise. According to an EIA study, after the implementation of fuel consumption standards in the United States, prices for Class 8 trucks increased by 6.2% between 2014 and 2017. Considering European and American targets in terms of CO2 emissions and rising truck prices, the truck industry is expected to shift to electrification over the next 7-8 years.
As a result, key players and new players are investing in electric truck R&D. Market and market analysis predicts that the global electric truck market will account for 10-15% of truck sales in various regions by 2025.
With increasing urbanization around the world, the demand for public transport is increasing. The majority of city buses and coaches are diesel-powered, which increases a country's CO2 emissions. Many countries in the European region, the United States and other countries have set CO2 emission targets to be achieved by 2020-2025.
Given these two factors, battery electric buses (BEBs) and alternative fuel buses (hybrid buses) will be required. However, the initial cost of the BEB would be the main obstacle to this transition, as BEBs cost around 100% more than diesel-powered buses. Alternatively, the introduction of hybrid buses, either diesel-electric, CNG (converted from diesel to CNG), or powered by biofuel, would be much easier as they are not as expensive as BEB.
The unification of private and public funders can be a key solution to the problem of costs. Currently, BEBs and hybrid buses operate primarily in the United States, Europe, and China. Brazil and India have also started with electric and hybrid public transport. Even though the global bus market is dominated by diesel-powered buses, followed by hybrid-electric and alternative fuel buses, with technological advancements (such as integrated electronic axle, wireless charging and recovery), the demand for BEB is expected to grow at a faster rate in the coming years.
An ideal public transportation system can be a one-stop solution to issues such as rising fuel prices, traffic congestion, and increased GHG emissions. Governments, OEMs and technology providers are now focusing on integrated mobility solutions. With this system, the problem of the first and the last mile will be solved by a mobility solution in the station, and the intracity and intercity transport will be managed by buses, high-speed trains and metros.
The platform used for an integrated mobility solution will include everything from finding a trip and finding a mode of transport, to checking the schedule, reservations, routing and payment.. In smart transit, transit systems would include CCTV cameras, GPS devices, digital displays, automatic stop announcements, and Wi-Fi devices. These systems will have applications such as traveler information system, electronic payment system, smart ticketing system and automated passenger counting system. Upcoming metro and high-speed rail projects and government initiatives for electric/hybrid buses will encourage smart players in public transport.
A few years ago, self-driving trucks and buses were not expected to be commercialized until 2025. Some studies also predict that they will not be commercialized until 2030. Driver shortages, high salaries and accidents during long journeys are a few factors that can accelerate the development of self-driving utility vehicles.
These are the companies that are working towards an autonomous shuttle service. The government has announced plans to introduce driverless buses on the roads from 2022. The University of Technology is already using driverless shuttles on its campus. Considering all these developments and investments in the development of driverless commercial vehicles, it is expected that the technology will be able to be commercialized before the expected date.