To say 2020 has been unpredictable is more than an understatement, with a pandemic cutting across the world, how are our industries tracking? Every sector, including the transport sector, started the year with predictions that have since been thrown to the bin. Let’s take a look at three that have held true… so far.
Charging Electric Vehicles With Clean Energy
- Trend Causes: Growing number of electric vehicle chargers
- Trend Effects: Cheaper electric vehicle charging, less carbon emissions due to charging
As big companies such as Amazon, Rivian, UPS, FedEx and DHL set the standard by announcing the implementation of large electric freight truck fleets, the electric vehicle charging business is booming. Adding to this, EVgo, BMW and Straus Organic Dairy Farm are ensuring the electricity that fuels these fleets come from renewables instead of fossil fuels, and it’s now taking off in Australia.
At the end of 2019 the Australian Government began funding Chargefox to expand their electric vehicle charging stations around the country, spanning 5 states, 22 locations and $17 million. While their public chargers are currently available in Toombul, Barnawartha, Euroa, Airport West and Torquay VIC, Chargefox also sells private charging stations to homes and businesses. Interestingly 90% of electric vehicle charging in Australia is done with a private charger.
Further government investment into software Jet Charge makes charging at home cheaper. Once installed, Jet Charge manages the times in which your electric vehicle begins charging so it takes energy at the least busy time or during peak renewable input times, saving money on your electricity bill.
- Trend Causes: Development of AI and autonomous driving technology
- Trend Effects: 3-7% less fuel consumption due to decrease in air resistance per truck, increase in road safety due to AI reactions quicker than human ones, increase in driver productivity toward admin and customer service tasks.
For those of you who’ve never heard of it, ‘truck platooning’ is the latest strategy in increasing AI compatibility with freight trucks. A ‘platoon’ of trucks is like a convoy or many trucks directly behind one another. One driver manually operates the front truck while driverless or self-driving trucks follow their direction – either with idle drivers who can take control when needed or completely on their own.
At the end of 2019, the Chief Technical Officer at Cohda Wireless announced they were fast-tracking trials of Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technology as one of the first steps of integrating this Australian-made solution into Europe’s ENSEMBLE platooning software. All trucks will run behind each other with a 5-metre gap between them, and can safely be operated at 95km/h. Trucks will also be able to join and leave the platoon without disrupting the system.
- Trend Causes: Bitcoin technology
- Trend Effects: Manages goods transport into a single ecosystem
Blockchain is a technology that stores digital information (the block) in a public database (the chain). Although it was originally used by a Bitcoin company, the technology is so versatile that it can be applied to increase the efficiency and accessibility of almost anything – including the organisation of freight trucks.
The startup Blockfreight, originally developed in San Francisco, USA, and now has offices in Australia, where the founder of the company believes he can improve the movement of goods throughout the country. Industry leaders are racing to catch up with the technology, with regulations and the establishment of the industry’s voice discussing how to design effective blockchain technologies would be beneficial to them.
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