New truck technologies are becoming more and more central to making trucks fuel efficient, environmentally sound and safer, according to the Global Truck 2020 Study
developed by IBM Global Business Services' Auto practice and the IBM Institute for Business Value.

The study, titled "Transcending Turbulence," found that brand names of trucks are becoming less important. The study was conducted through interviews with 91 executives in 13 countries.

"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."

When asked about what will impact the industry in 2020, respondents indicated that technology would be at the top, with 71 percent, up from 61 percent today. Technology will be tied not only to the truck itself, but also to the roads and traffic signals, increasing the interaction and predictive analytical safety capabilities for carriers.

The second largest external force in 2020 was globalization at 54 percent, up from 48 percent 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," IBM said.

Sustainability was another important external force in 2020, with 48 percent of respondents saying it would have an impact, up from 32 percent today. As environmental and fuel efficiency standards are adopted and safety capabilities mandated, the trucking industry will have to make changes to meet these rules.

"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. The study was unveiled at Calstart's Hybrid Truck Users Forum National Conference. "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."

To download a copy of the study, click here.