Research suggests a paradigm shift in coming years where new delivery platforms will be co-developed by transport companies and vehicle manufacturers. Isuzu’s truck arm is looking to be a part of the burgeoning industry.
Speaking to GoAutoNews Premium at the launch of the updated N-Series truck, IAL chief engineer of product strategy Simon Humphries said the company would look to enter the new sphere.
“The world is changing, the whole last-mile delivery concept is perhaps not going to be vehicle ownership – transport as a service is certainly gaining traction,” he said.
“In recent times I’ve been reading up that there are some interesting reports that have been coming out in the last few months that are predicting this to be quite a new wave if you like, in the next two to three years.
“And what they’re predicting – McKinsey is one of the consultant/analysts that produced these reports – they have forecast vehicle OEMs collaborating with the traditional parcel/courier/express companies, and potentially the dealer networks of the OEMs to produce a last-mile delivery platform.”
Mr Humphries stressed the importance of being proactive with such matters, due to the potential gains to be made from investing early in new technology. He also suggested pioneering new platforms held a larger risk of failure.
“(Reports are) also predicting that the early adopters of such collaborations have the biggest gain to be made because whatever they establish could become the default system.
“It’s worked in other industries and that has potential to be a really good opportunity for us or a really big threat, depending on who we collaborate with and how quickly we can get something tangible to market, but that’s certainly something that’s on the horizon.”
Mr Humphries was not able to mention which companies IAL was collaborating with, but said there were a number of different areas of the transport process that could be open to partnerships.
IAL is also focusing on developing connected technology for its trucks. This would help to facilitate a transport service platform where the vehicles can communicate with fleet managers and each other.
“We’re pretty close with some of the aforementioned companies and even some of the truck rental companies. I can’t talk more than that but certainly there have been some early discussions around what the future might look like in various forums. So we’re not sitting still there,” he said.
“You don’t just stand still selling diesel trucks, you’ve got to look at what else is out there and what’s happening.”
He also suggested that transport services in the future may not involve trucks as new technologies evolve, however it would certainly not be an immediate threat for the company that currently sits at number one in the light and medium-duty segments.
“Connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and not necessarily vehicles as we traditionally know them, are certainly being forecast. Drones and pods and all sorts of weird and wonderful things that could take the place of at least for some trucks. But it’s going to be very gradual.”
By Robbie Wallis