My background in technology is not as deep as most people, but I do have some. My first experience with computer technology was when I was in eighth grade and the Atari VCS came out. My sister and I begged our parents for one for what seemed like eternity. Finally, that Christmas, there it was under the tree. After that, I remember computer class in school.
Later when I joined the military, I had a small experience with a word processor, when I worked with the Staff Chaplain. After I separated from the military, I got a job at McDonalds as a manager and had to frequently use a computer for numerous tasks, reports, and so forth, and that was my first experience with it in the workplace.
Later on I became a truck driver and thought I would not use it very much, but little did I know. The transportation industry is full of technology, from dispatch and the main office, to the trucks themselves. Dispatch is using computers to take orders track them and dispatch them. When a customer calls in and places an order or asks for a pick-up, the first thing a dispatcher does is input the information into a database and finds out if this customer has worked with them before.
After they have determined either this they are entering this customer into the database, or they are entering a new program. This new program is how they enter the order into a new database. There are many different programs but they all do the same thing. They track the customers order form where it is originating from to the final destination and every stop in between, they track the mileage and fuel consumption on the individual truck and even how much down time the driver is taking. This program is linked to the individual truck, where the driver is in charge of upkeep. On the drivers end he/she is sending messages to dispatch telling them everything they need to know.
Such as I am empty, where do I need to go, from I am broke down send help. These devices are called Qualcomms, but that is just a brand name. They are satellite links and mini computers all in one. These computers can do many things, they help the driver plot the shortest route to a delivery, track his fuel consumption, and most importantly his time records. In the transportation industry, drivers are strictly watched concerning there time. This is where these computers are lifesavers but also bad things.
They are lifesavers in the sense that they electronically keep your records straight and easy to read. Bad because like every computer they only know what you tell it. If you enter bad times or do not enter at all, they can be setup to shut the truck down completely; companies have them set that way. After the driver has made the delivery, he sends a message to the dispatcher that it has been delivered, and then the dispatcher can send a message to the customer telling them the same thing. The future of technology in trucking is almost scary to some drivers because they already have public transit buses that drive themselves. They have developed an automatic transmission, that is just as good if not better than a manual transmission, and some even have as many gears.
Most trucks are using engines that are computer controlled, just like the one in your car except. Some newer trucks have inboard computer in the dash that calculate, idle speed, idle fuel consumption, internal temp as well as external temp trip length, and road time. I think that by the next decade trucking will have surpassed all technology that they are using, and possibly be using things that some of us in this class have developed or had a hand in developing.
In conclusion, transportation as a whole is influenced by technology every day. Trucking is dependent on it for there business as well as for the safety and peace of mind it gives some drivers knowing that they are in constant contact with there dispatcher and if anything should happen that would require them to get in touch .