july2023 - 6

HI TCHED UP FROM THE EDITOR
Using AI without losing what's
important to your business
The transportation industry is undergoing some serious changes, with more
AI solutions nearing reality. What will that mean for fleets' biological intelligence?
In June, I traveled out of state three times
to cover three extremely different events. It was
an equally exhausting and informative month.
First was Penske Truck Leasing's National
By John Hitch
Editor-in-chief
@Hitched2Trucks
Tech Showdown in Mooresville, North Carolina.
The competition is Penske's diagnostic-heavy
version of TMCSuperTech and was held in Team
Penske's Race Shop. Watching a bunch of dudes
swap between standing at a laptop and climbing
inside a Freightliner cab for 40 minutes was
not as riveting for a spectator as watching Team
Penske's pit crew change an Indy car's tires and
fuel tank in under 10 seconds. Still, the trip to
the world-class facility was extremely beneficial.
Aside from the cool factor of touring the
various departments, including the secretive
Porsche Penske Motorsport wing, the
gym where the pit crews train, and inside
the specialty trailers, I got a chance to see
hard-working diesel technicians being treated
like royalty. Mind you, Team Penske less than
two weeks prior had won both the Indy 500
and NASCAR Coca-Cola 600, but at least for a
day, the 16 technicians (who beat out more than
1,600 colleagues) were able to take a victory lap.
" You're the number one group-the group
that is responsible for our revenue growth in
the company, " Art Vallely said to the finalists.
He also told them they would get even more
VIP treatment at the Indy 500 in 2024.
The next week, Fleet Maintenance Associate
Editor Cris Beaulieu and I drove from
Cleveland before dawn to Romeo, Michigan,
home of the Ford Michigan Proving Grounds,
to test-drive the 2023 F-Series Super Duty.
Rambling along the winding roads towing
30,000 lbs. gave me an appreciation for
the drivers who do the job every day. The
advanced driver assist system (ADAS)
features, such as Blind Spot Information
System, meanwhile, gave me an appreciation
for the latest technology they cram into these
trucks. Cameras on the trailer provide a splitscreen
view on the dash infotainment screen
to show the trailer was still on the road during
wide turns.
Among many innovations, Super Duty
owners can now take advantage of Pro Trailer
Hitch Assist, and it helped this Hitch like a
pro. The truck locates the trailer hitch (if it's
within 20 feet), uses artificial intelligence to
calculate the correct angle of approach, and
autonomously does the hard work for you. It
worked perfectly, though I still don't think
autonomous trucks will hit widescale adoption
anytime soon.
There will always be the folks who prefer
to do things the manual way, but having the
machine do certain jobs for you does ensure
speed and accuracy. There's no shame in it.
Honestly. It would be like me deriding you for
using Grammarly or spell check (both of which
even I occasionally use for quabity assurance).
And someday I'll probably have ChatGPT write
this column for me.
Putting more technology onboard means
124346226 | Chepko Elelna | Dreamstime
And they deserve it, as uptime is the main
selling point to Penske customers, and that's
what the company's 10,900 techs provide. Art
Vallely, president of Penske Truck Leasing, made
that point clear during the awards ceremony.
6 Fleet Maintenance | July 2023
more data, and Ford Pro is growing its
telematics ecosystem (30% of Ford's 12
million commercial vehicles in operation have
modems) to harness that data. This opens the
door to more predictive maintenance, which
is a bit like ADAS for the maintenance side.
Just as automatic emergency braking engages
even if you don't see the vehicle ahead, predictive
maintenance algorithms will detect when
service, like an oil change, is needed due to
remaining oil life, or if a serious issue could
threaten uptime.
" We'll know in advance, we can order the
parts in advance, and they could be there to
effect the repair when you come through, "
explained Tim Baughman, Ford Pro general
manager. " And this is where we're heading. "
The next Wednesday, I was headed to Austin,
Texas, for Samsara's Beyond '23 conference.
One of the first things Samsara CEO Sanjit
Biswas talked about was how the acceleration
of technology is growing exponentially. It took
15 years to get from zero to 100 million PCs
and two years to get from zero to 100 million
smartphones, he explained. More recently,
ChatGPT was adopted by 100 million people
in only two months.
It's hard to forecast all the ways transformative
technology will impact society, but here's
something to ponder. If you wanted to design
a website or post a blog 20 years ago, you had
to learn HTML. Now it's all drag-and-drop and
anyone can do it. AI will likely head the same
way. It's not a stretch to imagine a shop AI
assistant (ChatDTC?) that can access millions
of work order histories and instantly diagnose
the problem, automatically order parts, schedule
repairs, and assign the technician.
After hearing about how Samsara is
making third-party data integration easier,
and talking with several of the telematics
company's partners, this is on the horizon.
Does this spell the end of diagnostic techs and
even shop supervisors? Hopefully not.
Biswas envisions AI will serve as a " co-pilot "
for fleet managers, sharing the cognitive load,
if you will. That is certainly a possibility. It's
more likely than robots taking over the shop
anytime soon.
With all my recent travel, I sure wish I had
an AI helper to help me catch up and answer
emails and proof copy. But at what point do we
give up too much and lose purpose? Diagnostic
technicians like Missy Albin (pg. 26) love the
problem-solving aspect of CV maintenance.
Would the industry attract great people like
her if AI did 90% of the work, or would it attract
only people willing to do 10% of the work?
I don't have the answer, but what I have
learned from all these visits is that technology
should be treated like a tool, not a cure.
AI will make things faster and easier for you,
as well as your competitors. What will define
your success is still the same as always: your
workers and how you can support them.
http://www.twitter.com/Hitched2Trucks

july2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of july2023

Hitched Up – Using AI without losing what's important to your business
Equipment – AEB adoption speeds ahead
In The Bay – Bright ideas to speed up lighting and electrical repairs
Shop Operations – Battle of the bulging budget
Lubrication – Greasing: Manual or auto?
APUS – APU innovations take heat off fleets
Diagnostics – Don't distress; de-stress your diagnostic process
Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Skills Contest
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Product Spotlight: Wheels and brakes
july2023 - 1
july2023 - 2
july2023 - 3
july2023 - 4
july2023 - 5
july2023 - Hitched Up – Using AI without losing what's important to your business
july2023 - 7
july2023 - Equipment – AEB adoption speeds ahead
july2023 - 9
july2023 - 10
july2023 - 11
july2023 - In The Bay – Bright ideas to speed up lighting and electrical repairs
july2023 - 13
july2023 - 14
july2023 - 15
july2023 - 16
july2023 - 17
july2023 - Shop Operations – Battle of the bulging budget
july2023 - 19
july2023 - 20
july2023 - 21
july2023 - Lubrication – Greasing: Manual or auto?
july2023 - 23
july2023 - APUS – APU innovations take heat off fleets
july2023 - 25
july2023 - Diagnostics – Don't distress; de-stress your diagnostic process
july2023 - 27
july2023 - Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Skills Contest
july2023 - 29
july2023 - 30
july2023 - 31
july2023 - 32
july2023 - 33
july2023 - 34
july2023 - 35
july2023 - 36
july2023 - 37
july2023 - Fleet Parts & Components
july2023 - 39
july2023 - Tools & Equipment
july2023 - 41
july2023 - Product Spotlight: Wheels and brakes
july2023 - 43
july2023 - 44
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