Now that companies are embracing telematics in their fleet management systems, where do we go from here? At the ALK Transportation Technology Summit in Princeton, NJ this past May, one of the more interesting presentations zeroed in on connectivity as the most pressing issue in the use of telematics.
It’s all about connectivity
Matthew Pfaffenbach, director of telematics with Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), spoke about the need of effective connectivity between vehicle data and telematics and fleet computing networks. Pfaffenbach’s talk coincided with DTNA’s rollout of their new autonomous truck, the Freightliner Inspiration.
In Pfaffenbach’s view, the collection of vehicle data with GPS devices and other systems has developed to the point where the process is fairly standard. To harness the full power of telematics, the data needs to be effectively connected to dispatchers, technicians and other users through a number of different platforms.
Pfaffenbach cautioned against the redundancy of OEMs putting their focus on replicating existing telematics networks. Their efforts, he said, should be concentrated on developing connectivity that seamlessly integrates with current telematics service provider (TSP) system.
A real-life example of the need for connectivity
DTNA’s integrated powertrain includes a Detroit engine, Freightliner chassis and DT12 automated manual transmission. Pfaffenbach used the powertrain data to illustrate a real-life situation demonstrating the need for connectivity.
The powertrain data helps drivers achieve better fuel economy while offering remote diagnostics to reduce downtime by providing advance notice of problems. The next level involves using the data to create “flexible service intervals” for each individual truck based on its work applications and operational conditions.
Part of the answer lies in improved hardware, upgrading the wiring harnesses attached to all components involved. But Pfaffenbach again stressed that the key is developing connections that allow the delivery and analysis of accurate data. With the difficulty of a “one size fits all” application, the challenge is coordinating with all the TSPs on the market.
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