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Avoiding the downsides of transportation technology

While there is no disputing the pros of high-tech tools in transportation, there are some cons, and privacy is one of them.

The issue was raised with the implementation of electronic logging devices or ELDs, as some drivers considered them very intrusive, like having Big Brother in the cab. Newer tools take this a step further, and are, well, very up close and personal.

Candid camera
Jesus Sandoval managing member of Sandoval Trucking, LLC, BB #:166654 in Kerman, CA, is particularly enthusiastic about one of Samsara’s updates: in-cab cameras.

When it comes to safety, the tool has multiple functions. “If a driver hits the brakes, the camera is activated. We get an email and alert if there’s an accident, and the program creates a file of the incident.

“A recent innovation is that the camera faces both directions,” he says. “It can pick up if the driver becomes drowsy or is doing something he shouldn’t be doing. Admittedly, the drivers dislike it, and some of the older ones resist technology. The systems are pricey, but they’re good to have.”

Just like with ELDs, which are now in widespread use, the benefits generally outweigh the drawbacks and complaints, from paperwork and efficiency to tracking and safety concerns.

For cameras, although there is a loss of privacy, they can also protect drivers during incidents like theft or accidents. With the majority of trucking accidents, the fault of other motorists, having a visual record of the event is a huge benefit to drivers and carriers.

Added value
Mark Petersen, vice president of temperature-controlled transportation at Eden Prairie, MN-based C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., BB #:100586 views ELDs as a stepping stone to possibilities: “ELDs help identify waste in the form of time we can extract, but there’s even more we can do,” he says.

Amy Childress, vice president of marketing and planning for cargo solutions at Boise, ID-based Emerson Cargo Solutions, BB #:194324 agrees. Emerson’s GO Bluetooth Plus Logger app was launched in 2019 with multiple uses.

“It enables customers to read internal temperatures in a wide variety of perishable products,” Childress explains.

“Once a shipment reaches its destination, temperature monitoring data captured from the GO Bluetooth Logger is transferred wirelessly to Bluetooth-enabled Android and iOS phones and tablets. Data is received up to 100 feet away, eliminating the need for proprietary readers and software.”

Additionally, she says, “The mobile app enables quick access to information, which is ideal for monitoring internal temperatures of products on international shipments where third-party locations are unable to install reading equipment. Receiving locations can easily view critical temperature data directly from their mobile phone and can distribute reports to key stakeholders.”

For its part, C.H. Robinson is also keen to help its drivers see the value of using ELDs and tech tools. “Technology is only as good as the data provided. As an incentive for drivers to provide complete data, all C.H. Robinson contract carriers are automatically enrolled in our Carrier Advantage Program.

“To determine their tier within the program, an overall service score is used to benchmark contract carriers in two areas: automated updates and on-time performance. Contract carriers who go the extra mile earn rewards such as access to freight they want, fuel savings, and discounts on our QuickPay options.”

This is a multi-part feature adapted from the Transportation and Logistics supplement to the July/August 2020 issue of Produce Blueprints.