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IBM Global Trucking Study: Fuel Efficiency, High-Tech Features More Important than Brand Name


Fleet Owners Turning to Hybrid Vehicles, Telematics, to Improve Sustainability.

ATLANTA.-IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the findings of a new global study, which shows that trucks will become more fuel efficient, environmentally sound and safer due to the adoption of new technologies throughout the vehicle. The use of these innovations will help truck manufacturers differentiate their vehicles, as the study shows that brand names of trucks are becoming less important.

The Global Truck 2020 Study, titled “Transcending Turbulence,” was developed by IBM Global Business Services’ Auto practice and the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV). The study -- unveiled here at CALSTART’s Hybrid Truck Users Forum National Conference -- comprises interviews with 91 executives in 13 countries, representing the entire truck value chain. CALSTART is an organization dedicated to cleaner transportation.

“IBM’s study shows the trucking industry is eager to transform itself,” said Sanjay Rishi, vice president and global automotive industry leader for IBM. “Increasingly fleet owners choose cleaner, more fuel efficient trucks that also have advanced systems to make transport more efficient.”

The study indicates that truck industry executives believe smart systems will play an increasingly prominent role in trucks as well as transportation networks. A few key findings:

* Technology -- 71% of respondents said technology will be one of the most important external forces impacting the industry in 2020, up from 61% today. Technology will not be limited to the trucks themselves but will be embedded in roads and traffic signals increasing the interaction and predictive analytical safety capabilities of these transport carriers. For example, telematics will impact everything about the vehicle.

Truck manufacturers that effectively employ telematics to build solutions for their customers stand to successfully differentiate and redefine their brands. Telematics will reduce service time by allowing remote and faster diagnostics and also will enable prognostic capabilities and proactive servicing. Today’s vehicle diagnostic techniques typically require the technician to physically connect to the vehicle. However, it won’t be long before telematics capabilities enable remote diagnostics of a vehicle’s issues and use of remote patches when possible.

In addition, manufacturers will use telematics to provide a real-time remote read of a vehicle’s parameters, allowing for proactive service or other action based on the reading. For example, if a potential problem is identified in a truck, the
operator will be able to pull the truck from service before it ends up on the side of the road with a problem.

Telematics will also enable stronger solutions for vehicle safety that have traditionally been addressed through manual methods and training. For example, automated speed controls linked to the navigation system could slow a truck down when its driver
approaches blind curves, or automated braking could be applied if a truck approached an exit with too much speed. Not only will telematics be useful in avoiding accidents, but data recorded through telematics will also be essential in protecting companies
from litigation when accidents occur.

* Globalization -- 54% of the executives surveyed said that globalization will be one of the most important external forces impacting the truck industry in 2020, up from 48% today. Truck manufacturers are just beginning to establish their global footprint, while light vehicle manufacturers have fought the hard battles of platform creation, process standardization and the development of global supply chains.

* Sustainability -- 48% of respondents said that sustainability will be one of the most important external forces in 2020, up from 32% today. Environmental and fuel efficiency standards along with new safety capabilities mandated by government regulations will force the trucking industry to change aggressively over the next decade.

Solutions relating to driver assistance, regulatory compliance and sustainability are closely linked. For example, a manufacturer might offer a solution that uses telematics to help determine the roads on which a vehicle is approved to travel and communicates that information to the driver, assisting both the driver and regulatory compliance.

“Truck transportation drives our economy; goods movement fills our stores and supplies our factories. But those benefits come with costs that are causing rapid change,” said Bill Van Amburg, senior vice president of CALSTART, an organization dedicated to clean transportation. “That’s why IBM’s study is critical. It highlights the emerging needs of truck customers, the technical and environmental challenges for the industry and lays out a roadmap for clean and profitable growth for the future.”

Truck 2020: Transcending Turbulence was produced by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, which provides strategic insights and recommendations that address critical business challenges to help clients capitalize on new opportunities. The Institute comprises consultants around the world who conduct research and analysis in 17 industries and across five functional disciplines, including human capital management, financial management, corporate strategy, supply chain management and customer relationship management.


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