“Think of trucks not as trucks, but as sensors and beacons of data relaying information,” he said, as autonomous vehicles make inroads into the current trucking method in as little as 10 years. That was just one of the changes that will be driven by technology-related advancements in cargo-location information.
“Driverless trucks will be safer,” he said, since there won’t be drivers who drink too much or fall asleep.
At the same time, he acknowledged, “In the here and now, there is a real shortage of drivers. Over the long term, technology will reduce that shortage.”
Jacobs also said technology is the key to unwinding 2014 disruptions.
“The inefficiencies in the supply chain are all about technology,” he said. “We don’t have the knowledge, the data or the information” to make optimal decisions about moving freight. “We are still in the Stone Age of tracking and tracing in the transportation industry.”
XPO is differentiating itself by creating proprietary carrier selection, pricing and predictive analytics, fueled by a $115 million annual investment in technology, said Jacobs, who previously built companies such as United Rentals through an acquisition-driven strategy.
Jacobs also envisioned extensive changes resulting from 3D printing, which will make it more efficient to manufacture products much closer to the end consumer and will “drastically reduce the need for planes, trains and trucks.”
Source: Transport Topics