Telogis Logs On With Volvo Trucks
One of the biggest obstacles most trucking companies face when adopting on-board telematics hardware to their trucks is integrating the aftermarket electronic gear successfully with the electronic systems installed at the factory. Many fleets have run limited tests of the telematics gear only to end up with a Frankenstein configuration where the aftermarket gear and the factory systems won’t communicate properly or are incompatible altogether.
Interior of Volvo truck
Over the years, many test-weary fleet managers have adopted the attitude regarding telematics hardware that if the truck OEM doesn’t offer the gear as a factory option, or at least endorse it as “plug and play” compatible, they simply won’t consider adding the gear to their trucks.
Responding to this, many OEMs have begun to offer basic telematics systems, and/or system pre-wiring as a factory option. As good as the basic factory systems are, the truck OEMs are still in the truck business, not the software and data services business.
Bringing the best of both worlds together, Volvo Trucks recently announced that it has extended its own Remote Diagnostics connected-vehicle system with the addition of fleet management services from software provider Telogis.
Volvo’s existing connected-vehicle system, which is standard on all new Volvo-powered trucks, allows a fleet to use the Telogis software applications without the typical hardware and installation costs associated with other third-party systems.
Volvo President Göran Nyberg commented:
“We’re pleased to collaborate with Telogis to deliver value to motor carriers seeking the flexibility and information needed to fine-tune their operations. Leveraging the existing connectivity of our vehicles to facilitate fleet management services represents a breakthrough for fleet managers, who are no longer captive to hardware.”
The companies will offer three packages, Telogis Fleet, Telogis Compliance & Navigation, and a bundled option that provides all of the services offered in the individual packages. Volvo-specific vehicle data enhances the software services, providing fleet managers and operators with an inside look at driver/vehicle performance and history. In addition to being available on all new Volvo-powered trucks, the Telogis services can also be retrofitted on the 60,000+ trucks already equipped with Volvo’s connected vehicle hardware.
Fleets can eliminate paper logs and more easily manage and meet federal, state, and local regulations including hours-of-service and inspection reports by using the Telogis Compliance module. Included with the compliance module is a navigation module that delivers truck-specific, real-time road conditions and community-based navigation updates that help to maximize uptime and improve on-time arrivals.
Through the hardware that is already installed in all new Volvo-powered trucks, fleets can activate the Telogis software and data services “over the air” to deploy a comprehensive fleet management solution. Fleet managers can gain insights to help improve operations and driver safety.
The factory hardware that enables the Telogis offerings also enables Volvo’s own Remote Diagnostics system, which provides proactive diagnostics and repair planning assistance. This system has reduced the average service diagnostic time by up to 70% and lowered the average time of repair by more than 20%. The diagnostics offering also helps improve parts availability and provides technicians with easy-to-read repair instructions before the truck arrives for service.
Daimler Dumping Drivers?
Earlier this month, Daimler Trucks debuted their concept for the truck of the future, the self-driving truck — Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025. As part of the debut, the truck used its intelligent Highway Pilot system to successfully complete an autonomous (self-driven) journey on a highway in Germany.
Daimler is calling the concept truck a quantum leap in freight transportation in terms of safety, efficiency, and connectivity. The company says it will continue to develop the Highway Pilot system for use in production vehicles, with potential launch dates as early as 2025.
“Autonomous driving will revolutionize road freight transport and create major benefits for everyone involved,” said Daimler’s Wolfgang Bernhard. “With the Future Truck 2025, Daimler Trucks is once again highlighting its pioneering role in innovative technologies and opening up a new era in truck transport.”
The concept truck focuses on connecting the vehicle with much of its operating environment, starting with the driver and carrier, but also including road infrastructure and other vehicles.
The Future Truck 2025 builds on Daimler’s experience in driver assistance technology for trucks. The company has already deployed hundreds of thousands of adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, stability control, and lane-keeping assistance systems into real-world operation. Daimler has also deployed a “Predictive Powertrain Control” system that uses information about road topography and route characteristics to adjust the drivetrain for maximum fuel economy.
Daimler has plans for additional/improved driver assistance systems in the near future. These systems would allow vehicles to communicate with one another, enabling open-highway operation without ongoing driver intervention, similar to the autopilot systems found in commercial airplanes.
By optimizing acceleration and braking to help ensure a smooth flow of traffic, the Future Truck 2025 can reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The autonomous driving system would also enable more precise scheduling. Along with several new components, the Future Truck 2025 also includes some systems that are already in use in passenger cars. Using the Highway Pilot technology, Daimler plans to be the first truck manufacturer to develop an autonomous driving system for use in production vehicles.
ZF Backs Trailers Remotely
While Daimler seeks to automate driving tasks out on the road, component manufacturer ZF is working on simplifying the process of backing a tractor trailer. ZF is best known for their transmission and drivetrain products, but the company is also a significant player in the steering systems market, including electric power steering.
ZF recently made a proof of concept demonstration where its steering and sensing hardware were combined with a smartphone app that allows a driver to back a tractor-trailer combination from outside the vehicle. By getting out from behind the wheel, the driver has a much better view of the truck, trailer, and dock/parking area, enabling safer more efficient backing, even for the least experienced drivers.
The smartphone app is linked to the truck’s electric power steering system, and sensors read the coupler angle between the truck and trailer(s). On the smartphone, the driver uses the touchscreen to simply indicate which direction he wants the rear of the combination to move; the app then determines which way the tractor should be steered to achieve the desired result.
During the recent demonstration, ZF scored extra complexity points by performing the remote backing maneuver, not just with a tractor and single semi-trailer, but with a (fixed-tongue) pup trailer added behind the semi-trailer. This combination is sometimes referred to as an a-train; typical US doubles are considered c-trains, and many of the heavier Canadian doubles are b-trains.
This technology would not only be effective on typical tractor/semi-trailer rigs, but also b-train combinations and the a-train rig on which it was demonstrated. Using the system on c-train doubles would require some means of locking one pivot point on the converter dolly.
It’s important to note that there were no steerable axles on the trailers used in the demonstration. Just the normal steer axle on the front of the tractor.
Now if somebody could just develop an app to keep four-wheelers out of the way…