The Evolution of the American Trucking Industry: A Look at the History of Car Hauling (PT. 2)

Mar 24, 2023 | AI at the Wheel

AI at the Wheel Series

Written by ChatGPT, Administered by Michael Buerger

Car Hauling in the 21st Century

The American trucking industry has undergone significant changes in the 21st century, driven by technological advancements, environmental concerns, and shifts in consumer behavior. One area that has seen a particularly notable transformation is the car hauling sector. This article explores the history of the car hauling industry in the United States over the past two decades, highlighting key technological advances that have reshaped the sector and improved efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability.

Transition to GPS and Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)

The widespread adoption of GPS technology in the early 2000s revolutionized route planning and fleet management in the trucking industry, including car hauling. The use of GPS allowed for more efficient and accurate route planning, reducing fuel consumption and improving delivery times. Additionally, the implementation of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) has increased safety and compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations by automatically recording a driver’s on-duty and driving time, minimizing the risks associated with driver fatigue.

Advancements in Trailer Design

Car haulers have benefited from advancements in trailer design, allowing for increased capacity and enhanced vehicle protection. Newer trailers feature hydraulic lifts and advanced loading systems, making it easier and safer to load and unload vehicles. Additionally, improvements in aerodynamics and weight distribution have led to increased fuel efficiency and reduced wear on tires and other components.

Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Driving Technologies

The development of autonomous and semi-autonomous driving technologies has the potential to significantly impact the car hauling sector. Features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assistance, and collision avoidance systems are already being integrated into commercial trucks, enhancing safety and reducing driver workload. In the future, fully autonomous trucks could revolutionize the industry, potentially reducing labor costs, increasing efficiency, and improving overall safety.

Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicles

The push for greener transportation has led to the development of electric and alternative fuel trucks. Tesla’s unveiling of the all-electric Semi truck in 2017, for example, showcased the potential for electric long-haul vehicles, promising lower operating costs and reduced emissions. While widespread adoption of electric trucks in the car hauling sector may still be a few years away, there has been a growing interest in alternative fuel options, such as compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), to reduce the sector’s environmental footprint.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Telematics

The integration of IoT and telematics into the car hauling industry has improved fleet management, maintenance, and safety. With real-time tracking and monitoring of vehicles, fleet managers can make data-driven decisions to optimize routes, reduce fuel consumption, and monitor driver performance. Digital platforms and Load Management Systems (LMSs) greatly improve carrier administrative efficiency. Additionally, predictive maintenance enabled by telematics can help identify potential issues before they become major problems, reducing downtime and repair costs.


The car hauling sector has evolved significantly in the 21st century, driven by technological advancements that have improved efficiency, safety, and sustainability. As the trucking industry continues to embrace new technologies, the car hauling sector will likely continue to innovate and adapt, shaping the future of vehicle transportation in the United States.