Truck fleets have differing needs and telematics requirements from car-based fleets. Various companies discuss with Work Truck their products and programs and how they are best utilized by work truck fleets.
■ GreenRoad Helps Drivers Make Smarter Decisions
GreenRoad 360 is more than telematics - it's a complete technology and services program for ongoing driver safety and fuel savings, according to the company. The result: immediate and ongoing cost savings, including lower maintenance costs and lower management overhead requirements. GreenRoad addresses the cause of crashes by improving driver decision-making on the road. Real-time feedback enables positive changes in the moment, not days later after reviewing reports or video with a manager.
At the end of 2010, GreenRoad added an idling performance solution to its overall service to help fleets further reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. The new idling management capability quickly identifies specific drivers, vehicles, or trips that negatively impact fuel performance. This customizable solution automatically identifies idling activities that are exceptions to company policy, based on client-defined policy thresholds, applying filtering to the unavoidable idling that occurs at traffic lights and stop signs.
According to GreenRoad, Engage is a fleet-proven methodology and provides risk assessment, implementation expertise, best practices, communications, and training.
GreenRoad earns the trust and confidence of drivers by providing proactive, accurate, and real-time feedback. Its self-correcting approach is non-invasive and is focused on personal responsibility, reinforcing skills, and giving drivers the tools to align their driving with company goals and guidelines, according to the company.
With drivers making smarter driving decisions, GreenRoad reports that fleets typically reduce fuel consumption by 10 percent immediately and reduce crash costs by 50 percent within the first six months.
■ Kenworth & Sprint Target Mobile Connectivity
Kenworth Truck Company and Sprint have partnered to provide mobile connectivity for the Kenworth NavPlus, a PACCAR proprietary navigation and business technology system for Kenworth Class 5-8 trucks.
"As the core development partner, Sprint will integrate its advanced network connectivity into Kenworth NavPlus, which will also offer telematics, navigation, diagnostics, and business system features," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. The in-dash NavPlus technology system utilizes a high-resolution, 7-inch color screen and 8 gigabytes of memory. Together, navigation and business systems will be provided with vehicle connectivity services for drivers to easily and safely use while traveling. When a truck is not in motion, the driver will be able to access the Internet and send and receive e-mails to enhance communications with dispatchers, logistics providers, and shippers. The Sprint connectivity service is available as an option.
NavPlus also includes hands-free phoning with Bluetooth, back-up camera options, vehicle data, and audio controls. When launched in 2011, Kenworth NavPlus will become standard on Kenworth trucks with all premium interior trim offerings and on diesel-electric hybrid vehicles. The system will also be available as an upgrade on any Kenworth standard trim package. NavPlus was developed on the Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive 7 software platform.[PAGEBREAK]
■ Roadnet Telematics Helps Fleets 'See Under the Hood'
In 2010, UPS Logistics Technologies introduced Roadnet Telematics, a solution that offers visibility into a fleet's health and maintenance, risk management and safety, and productivity and compliance/regulation. The Roadnet Telematics product provides fleet managers the ability to "look under the hood" of fleet vehicles and monitor how they are handled on the road. This insight allows for the development of greater efficiency in operations and maintenance management, according to Cyndi Brandt, VP of marketing, Roadnet Technologies, Inc., formerly UPS Logistics Technologies.
"With Roadnet Telematics, you no longer need to pull your vehicles off the road for routine maintenance; you can now wait for the vehicle to tell you when it will need repairs and schedule the maintenance when it fits your schedule," said Brandt.
Roadnet Telematics provides users the ability to monitor fleet/driver safety, vehicle maintenance and operation, regulation compliance, and vehicle efficiency. The accelerometer technology provides sensitive detection of such maneuvers as harsh braking, rapid acceleration, and aggressive backing.
Replacing drivers is costly. Roadnet Telematics provides fleet managers with driver-specific information and the tools needed to help drivers monitor and change their unsafe habits. To gain the ability to pinpoint fleet-specific risks, the program provides the ability to assess risk by driver, branch, region, etc., so remedies can be prioritized toward the riskiest people and practices. With comprehensive reporting, the solution provides the auditing and reporting tools needed for accurate IFTA calculation and to meet an increasing array of compliance obligations.
Access the big picture and monitor a full spectrum of risk factors, including speed, harsh braking and rapid acceleration, seat belt use, idle time, revving, stops per day, and after-hours use. Manage idling and speed, which accelerate fuel consumption, oil changes, and engine wear. In-cab idling alerts help drivers minimize their idling, and exception notifications can alert supervisors of excessive idling.
Optimize fueling by filling up only when needed to keep vehicles productive and cash flow on track.
With Roadnet Telematics, fleet managers can wait for a vehicle to send out a distress call and schedule maintenance accordingly. Additionally, using Roadnet Telematics in conjunction with the strategic planning, daily routing, and dispatch tools available within the Roadnet Transportation Suite, businesses are able to gain efficiencies and cost savings with one complete solution.
Roadnet Telematics offers a solution for monitoring the vehicle and the driver, according to Brandt. "The Roadnet Transportation Suite has mastered the ability to provide optimal routing and scheduling for your fleet operations to ensure efficient deliveries and service calls." Looking ahead, Roadnet Telematics will be GPS-integrated with its MobileCast solution and will soon be integrated with an hours-of-service solution.
■ Freightliner Goes Beyond Fault Codes
Freightliner's Virtual Technician is a remote diagnostic system that determines the cause of a check-engine light and acts as an event recorder to record everything that happened one minute before and 15 seconds after the light turns on. "Virtual Technician's control module provides the communication link to our Customer Assistance Center," explained Keith Harrington, product manager for Freightliner LLC.
"The module listens to our system, and as soon as an event happens, the module picks up on it and automatically transmits it to a processing server, and then forwards it to our call center," The product has been in the works for about four years, stemming from an outgrowth of the truck manufacturer's testing and validation process.
On most vehicles, a fault code can be read off the instrument cluster with a special device, but Harrington said the problem is only the dealership can do that, so the engine light remains a mystery to the customer. With Virtual Technician, "when a condition occurs, the system automatically downloads it and automatically makes the call" rather than just passing on a fault code, he explained.
"We know the location of the truck, altitude, speed, and what other things were going on in the vehicle," explained Harrington. "The vehicle calls our data processing center, which puts all the information together and sends it to our customer service center at Detroit Diesel in Michigan. The technicians look at the data and snapshot of the events and say, 'Here's the issue right here, and this is the way to fix it.' We can actually tell them what's wrong with the truck, what service parts are required, and what skill level of technician is needed. All that before you even get to the dealership."
The process takes six to 10 minutes, and then an e-mail is sent to fleet maintenance for the copy to be dispatched. Then they can determine what to do with the driver and the load.
Virtual Technician is currently operating in 220 of Freightliner's customer units, ranging from fleets using the system on more than 100 units to smaller fleets. Meijer, a grocery chain, currently has 65 equipped on its trucks.[PAGEBREAK]
■ Ford Offers CrewChief Telematics Service
Ford Motor Company offers the CrewChief telematics/fleet management service, a comprehensive solution offering the benefits of access to exclusive Ford vehicle data, factory installation, and protection of an OEM warranty (three years/36,000 miles for new vehicles).
Driver safety and corporate sustainability are part of every fleet's operating objectives. With CrewChief, Ford helps fleets achieve these objectives through seat belt status, tire pressure reporting, and accurate fuel consumption/fuel economy data along with CO2 emissions reporting.
Ford's 2011 F-150 and F-Series Super Duty trucks feature a more sophisticated oil change monitor called the "Oil Life Minder." The Oil Life Minder uses complex algorithms and inputs (including soot levels for diesel vehicles) to assess oil life to provide a more accurate assessment of oil life than a mileage-based calculation.
CrewChief now reports the values from Oil Life Minder on the CrewChief dashboard so the fleet manager can better manage the maintenance needs of the fleet. CrewChief will e-mail a notification when the oil life falls below a critical threshold established by fleet maintenance managers, e.g. below 5 percent.
CrewChief's analysis page helps make cause-and-effect analysis easier. Looking back over the past week, month, or quarter, the analysis page helps identify causal factors of poor fleet performance.
"In one instance, for example, we reviewed the driving history for the prior month of a fleet that had a vehicle incident," said Bill Frykman, product & business development, Connected Services and Ford Work Solutions for Ford. "The vehicle involved in the incident had the highest top speed, greatest amount of time over the speed threshold, the most panic stops, and was the least likely to have the seatbelt engaged. Aided by CrewChief, a little positive mentoring may have avoided an on-road incident. Thus, CrewChief's analysis page can continue to benefit fleets who use its fullest capacity."
While Ford's CrewChief was launched on the F-150, F-Series Super Duty, and E-series, the automaker has also expanded the program to the Transit Connect.
"CrewChief is in pilot in customer fleets using the Ford Escape and the Ford Fusion sedan. Plans are to expand CrewChief based on customer demand. Many fleets try to look solely to reduced fuel expenditures (driven by reduced idle time, etc.) to justify the investment in a telematics solution," said Frykman. "In actuality, the ROI gains are much broader. We see customers achieving 12- to 20-percent reductions in fuel costs. But that's only touching the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefits of a managed telematics solution. The benefits of a safer and better maintained fleet will continue to flow to the bottom line in the form of increased operating efficiency, decreased downtime, lower repair costs, etc."
■ Zonar Narrows Down Data
Zonar Systems provides electronic inspection, tracking, diagnostics, and management solutions for fleet operations, servicing customers with an "Inspect Regularly, Track Instantly, Know Always" approach. The company originally provided electronic inspection products and services to the pupil transportation industry. Today, Zonar serves several industries, providing telematics solutions to a customer base that operates more than 100,000 vehicles in several vertical markets including trucking construction, utilities, waste and recycling, municipalities, and transit fleets.
Designed to ensure inspections are completed accurately and thoroughly to improve fleet safety and performance, Zonar's Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report (EVIR) system verifies pre- and post-trip inspections. EVIR complies with all USDOT mandated pre-and post-trip vehicle inspection regulations, as well as OSHA and MSHA equipment inspection requirements. The system helps identify defects faster and more reliably, speed vehicle repairs, and reduce on-road breakdowns, according to the company. Data from the electronic inspections provides instant reporting and alerting of noted defects.
Zonar's V2J High-Definition GPS & Vehicle Diagnostics System couples next-generation GPS tracking and reporting with advanced remote vehicle diagnostics to communicate directly with a vehicle's on-board computer. The V2J telematics platform captures actual fuel consumption information by reporting the total fuel shot through engine injectors on a per trip, per driver, and/or per vehicle basis. Additionally, fuel consumption is captured and reported geospatially. Automatic geospatial tracking of fuel usage including off-road fuel consumption is available to simplify fuel tax reporting and filing. The system also differentiates unnecessary vehicle idling from necessary idle time, such as PTO hours.
This information is accessed through Ground Traffic Control, a Web-based fleet management portal available via any Web browser. Fleet operators are given real-time visibility into their operations from anywhere, at anytime, so they always know the location, status, and health of their equipment.
Zonar Intelligent Navigation and Guidance (ZING), one of several modules available within the Ground Traffic Control fleet management portal, provides Web-based dispatch, route management, navigation, and two-way messaging used by drivers and dispatchers. ZING enables the timely dispatch of equipment to a specific location.
ZAlert, launched in December 2010, offers customers the ability to select fleet data most important to their operation, set acceptable operating parameters around that data, and be notified automatically when an asset is operating outside established parameters. "Simply stated, ZAlert automatically sends the right information to the right people at the right time - allowing customers to spend more time managing their operation and less time reading reports and looking for exceptions," said Chris Oliver, VP of marketing, Zonar.
Initial training and continued education, training, and support are provided for all products. Many are customer-driven solutions. "We frequently receive requests and ideas for new solutions. Many telematics technologies today have the capability to capture a very large set of data around fleet vehicle operations - the challenge is transforming this tsunami of data into a palatable set of information that improves the fleet operation," said Oliver.
Oliver said the most frequent request from fleet managers is to provide only the information they need and want "in a way that's easiest for them to receive and digest. Subsequently, we have released ZAlert, which enables customers to establish the parameters within which they want their fleet to operate and the channel through which they wish to be notified if these parameters are breached."