Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-2620
2019-10-14

Transformational Technologies Reshaping Transportation - An Academia Perspective 2019-01-2620

This paper and the associated lecture present an overview of technology trends and of market and business opportunities created by technology, as well as of the challenges posed by environmental and economic considerations. Commercial vehicles are one of the engines of our economy. Moving goods and people efficiently and economically is a key to continued industrial development and to strong employment. Trucks are responsible for nearly 70% of the movement of goods in the USA (by value) and represent approximately 300 billion of the 3.21 trillion annual vehicle miles travelled by all vehicles in the USA while public transit enables mobility and access to jobs for millions of people, with over 10 billion trips annually in the USA creating and sustaining employment opportunities.
Commercial vehicles provide access to work and leisure time for millions of people every day and deliver and distribute the goods that make our economy move, from raw materials, to components, to finish products, as well as providing a multitude of services and support functions. While on-road trucks and buses represent only part of the global picture, with air, rail and sea also sharing in these functions, the health and efficiency of the commercial vehicle industry as a whole is a strong indicator of economic well-being.
Today, the world of commercial vehicles is undergoing the greatest transformation in its history, as information technology enables functions and capabilities, through connectivity and partial automation, that were unimaginable even a decade ago. Along this, propulsion technology is also undergoing dramatic changes, as electrification of the powertrain is rapidly becoming a reality. This paper provides a broad introduction to the challenges, and opportunities, that are facing the commercial vehicle industry today, and also present a vision of where the industry is headed in the next ten to fifteen years. The challenges that accompany this transition are considerable, and demand that a new generation of engineers be educated and prepared for a new world of commercial vehicle technologies. It is an exciting time to be an engineer in the commercial vehicle sector.

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