Semi-trailers are increasingly driven by technology, and 2024 looks to be an exciting year for advancement. What was once a relatively stagnant industry in terms of technology adoption first began to buzz with smart trailer telematics introduced around 2017. That journey has continued to unfold ever since and has now reached a point where technology is no longer just a buzzword but an integral part of trailer design, operation and transportation.
Whether you are a fleet owner, truck driver or transportation manager, keeping up with the latest trailer technology will enable you to identify which trends can help make your job easier and operations more efficient, both now and in the future. Here are the trailer technologies that are shaping the industry in 2024 and beyond.
Telematics: The Heartbeat of Modern Trailers
When leading trailer manufacturers first introduced their earliest iterations of telematics, there was little initial discussion about standardization, communication and how fleets would effectively use the potentially enormous amount of data to improve productivity and predictive maintenance. The industry, as occurs continually, was in a fluid state of disruption brought about by new technology.
With telematics now considered standard in newer trailers (and especially refrigerated trailers for temperature monitoring), the focus is on leveraging the full potential of the technology available. One remarkable evolution is the role of telematics in asset maintenance. Gone are the days when fleet managers had to rely on drivers to report trailer issues. We now have comprehensive systems that monitor performance so we can preemptively address issues and, in many cases, prevent costly breakdowns on the road.
In 2024, telematics doesn’t just enable monitoring; it creates holistic visibility. Fleet managers and technicians can now look at trailers in their entirety, thanks to the wealth of data available. This enables proactive decision-making, optimizing the performance and utilization of each unit in the fleet.
Solar and Electric Power: A Sustainable Future
Mckinney Trailer Rentals is heavily invested in solar functionality. The integration of solar panels onto our trailers ensures a constant power source, keeping batteries charged and ready to go. This innovation not only enhances reliability but also aligns with the growing emphasis on environmental sustainability. Electric trailer refrigeration units (TRUs) are gaining traction as well. These units can offer substantial economic benefits in tune with sustainable initiatives, especially with fuel prices rising and likely remaining high for the foreseeable future.
Safety and Security: Protecting Your Cargo
Security remains paramount in the trailer industry, and technology is on the front lines of defense. Advanced camera systems provide real-time visibility into trailers, minimizing the risk of theft and damage. Some companies are even investing in live security monitoring.
Stealing an entire trailer is generally a challenging feat. Stealing a select portion of its contents, however, oftentimes is not so difficult. Door sensors have evolved as a game-changer in cargo security by alerting stakeholders when a door is opened. Combined with cameras, door sensors provide a robust security shield.
Geofencing is another tool that enhances security and logistics efficiency. It involves creating electronic fences around specific areas. For instance, geofencing can be used to monitor a delivery location, notifying stakeholders when a trailer arrives or departs. This technology makes it clear in real time when a trailer is somewhere it shouldn’t be, enabling managers to potentially stop a loss as it’s happening.
Tire Maintenance: Safety and Cost Savings
Tire maintenance is a crucial aspect of trailer operation. Advanced tire inflation systems have truly revolutionized this arena. These systems allow remote monitoring and management of tire pressure from the comfort of your office. The benefits are manifold – improved fuel economy, extended tire life, decreased maintenance costs and enhanced safety. Additionally, these systems can measure tire temperature, providing early warnings to prevent blowouts.
While there were initial concerns about maintenance costs, the advantages in terms of tire life and safety have far outweighed these concerns. Larger national fleets now consider tire inflation pressure monitoring and automatic tire inflation systems as standard specifications.
Embark on the Road Ahead with a Tech-Ready Partner
Mckinney continues to be at the forefront of trailer technology. We’re constantly integrating the latest solutions into our fleet so you can benefit from those solutions in yours.
For example, SkyBitz Kinnect captures and communicates remote asset data through a single device, offering control and actionable insights, while SkyBitz SkyCamera provides real-time visibility into trailers, from pinpointing locations to assessing cargo integrity. MAX LINK™ enhances liftgate performance, preventing costly equipment failures. Coretex takes telematics to the next level with its end-to-end platform. These are just a few of the technologies we offer.
2024 will undoubtedly be another year of notable and visible transformation in trailer technology. Whether you're interested in trailer leasing or semi-trailer rental, Mckinney has the technology-enabled trailers you need to operate more efficiently, sustainably and securely. Request a quote today.