Technology Archive

On the Road to Self-Driving Trucks

| David Cullen |
The trek to fully autonomous trucks is a journey in stages driven by partnerships – yet the pace of development is quicker than one might expect. One of the only technological advancements in trucks that sparks as much interest as the rollout of electric vehicles is wondering when fully autonomous trucks will be available. Your […]

Top Trends to Watch in Fleet Technologies

| Gary L. Wollenhaupt |
As electric light-duty trucks and vans begin to be delivered to customers, fleet managers are keeping a close eye on emerging technologies that could reshape operations over the next year or two. Battery-electric vehicles are some of the hottest tech to hit the market, especially for utilities that have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas […]

Using Telematics to Drive Fleet Safety Improvements

| Sandy Smith |
As director of product strategy and telematics at Element Fleet Management (, Kimberly Clark knows exactly how her utility fleet clients are using telematics to improve safety. In a recent interview with UFP, Clark described a couple of scenarios that have benefited those clients. One – a 4,000-unit energy utility fleet – uses “in-cab feedback […]

Top Trends to Watch in Commercial Truck Tires

| Sandy Smith |
As director of strategic alliances for Element Fleet Management (, Kerry Wenthin often hears concerns about tire performance. Ask him what he’s hoping to see in terms of innovation, and it comes down to value. “Longer-lasting and cost-conscious products for the high mileage and demanding usage patterns in the light-truck service and delivery segment will […]

Electric Vehicle Roadblocks to Widespread Fleet Adoption

| Sean M. Lyden |
There’s a ton of press right now about how the future of transportation is all-electric. And all major automakers have signaled with big investments that they’re going all-in on electric vehicles (EVs). But a number of things still need to come together to make electrification practical on a large scale. Plus, fleet managers have valid […]

Fleets Embrace ADAS Technology to Make Drivers Safer

While self-driving utility trucks are still a few years away, advanced driver assistance systems are here now. Most commercial vehicle manufacturers offer ADAS as standard or optional equipment on at least some vehicles, and fleet operators are figuring out how to train and manage drivers using these systems. Commercial trucks offer many of the same […]

Fleet Management Gets Smarter with Remote Diagnostics

| Gary L. Wollenhaupt |
If the last time your utility bought medium-duty trucks was eight to 10 years ago, the advancements in remote diagnostics available on new vehicles could be a game-changer for fleet maintenance. Today, every OEM offers some level of remote diagnostic capability in their commercial trucks. Those diagnostics use onboard electronic sensors and connections to monitor […]

Technologies to Improve Aerial Safety

| Grace Suizo |
Operating aerial equipment can pose risks if care is not taken to identify and mitigate hazards. UFP recently spoke with industry professionals to learn more about technologies currently available to enhance safety during aerial equipment use. Reduce Operator FallsIt was customer feedback that contributed to Terex Utilities ( developing the Positive Attachment Lanyard (PAL) device, […]

Top Trends in Commercial Truck Tire Technologies

| Gary L. Wollenhaupt |
A number of tire manufacturers are developing high-tech solutions for the truck and bus radial market segment, which includes tires for the Class 4, 5 and 6 trucks that are the backbone of many utility fleets. Tires and related items typically are among the top three costs of running a fleet, so even incremental improvements […]

Gas vs. Diesel: Which is Better for Your Medium-Duty Truck Applications?

Diesel has been the traditional engine for medium-duty utility trucks. But with Ford, GM, Isuzu and other OEMs recently launching new gas-powered models, utility fleet professionals have more options than ever to consider. Recent volatility in fuel prices has changed the equation as well. So, which is better – gas or diesel? The answer is, […]

Selecting the Right Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for Your Fleet

| Grace Suizo |
From automatic braking and lane-keeping assist to adaptive cruise control, backup cameras and parking sensors, there are quite a few advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to choose from today. So, how do you decide which ones are best for your fleet vehicles? UFP recently spoke with Dale Collins, fleet services supervisor for Virginia-based Fairfax Water, […]

Points to Consider When Transitioning to a Fleet Management Information System

| Grace Suizo |
Using a fleet management information system (FMIS) can help utility fleet managers keep records and generate reports regarding the effective and efficient operation, maintenance, repair and replacement of their fleet assets. UFP recently spoke with two utility fleet managers who shared their experiences of transitioning to an FMIS and what other fleets might expect from […]

Top Technology Trends in the Utility Fleet Sector

| Ed Renna |
In a utility fleet environment, it’s critical to identify key barriers that impede the fleet’s efficient evolution. Once those barriers have been identified, data and safety technology use-cases can help to offer a framework for improvement. Recent research conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute, for example, noted two meaningful ways to reduce severe injuries […]

Investing in Garage Management Software

| Sandy Smith |
Before the City of Springfield, Illinois, merged all of its fleet operations and implemented garage management software, the utility fleet used to log important information via a low-tech method. “The utility garage relied on Post-it Notes,” said William McCarty, director of the Office of Budget and Management for the City of Springfield. “There were vehicles […]

The State of Drones in the North American Utility Market

| Sean M. Lyden |
Line inspections using helicopters cost about $1,500 per mile compared to around $200 per mile with a drone. That nearly 90% reduction presents a compelling business case for utility companies to use drones, while also being able to improve safety by putting fewer lineworkers and helicopter pilots in harm’s way. But drone sales in the […]

The State of Self-Driving Vehicles: Proceed with Caution

| Sean M. Lyden |
Norman Vincent Peale, author of the classic self-help book “The Power of Positive Thinking,” put it like this: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Peale’s message is clear: Aim high. That way, even if you miss your target or it takes you longer than you had hoped, you’ll […]

Making the 5G Connection

| Fiona Soltes |
In late 2018, AT&T announced a standards-based, mobile 5G network in parts of 12 U.S. cities, with seven more areas to follow. The company also said it was on the verge of bringing 5G Evolution technologies to 400 markets, enabling faster speeds, wider coverage and lower latency, which improves streaming capabilities. Verizon, meanwhile, has been […]

Going Sideways: Technology that Protects Crews in Rollover Incidents

| Sean M. Lyden |
It was early 2017. A crew for Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) was traveling on the highway in a Class 8 digger derrick when the unforeseen happened. There was a truck pulling a trailer ahead of them when, suddenly, the axle broke off that trailer and began hurtling, with wheels still attached, toward […]

How Technology Can Turn Idle Equipment into Revenue Generators

| Sean M. Lyden |
If you’re like many utility fleet professionals, you’re under increasing pressure from senior management to do more with less. So, when you’re looking for creative ways to squeeze as much productivity and value as possible from your fleet assets, what are your options? One idea is to put your underutilized or spare vehicles to work […]

The Latest Developments in Drones for the North American Utility Sector

| Sean M. Lyden |
Although drone sales in the North American utility market will reach only about $850,000 in 2018, that number is expected to grow by more than 20 times – to $25 million – by 2026, as U.S. regulations ease and drone technology improves. That’s the outlook from Michael Hartnack, a research analyst covering drones and robotics […]
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