How Telematics is Helping Fleets and Drivers
Most fleets and drivers realize there is much more to telematics than routing and locating vehicles. Today’s telematics devices provide real-time diagnostics, monitor fuel economy, send drivers alerts and more.
“Telematics adoption has been steadily increasing since I first started tracking it in 2006,” says Sandeep Kar, global director of commercial vehicle research for Frost & Sullivan.
A recent forecast from Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2018, 36 percent of heavy-duty trucks in the U.S. and Canada will have telematics hardware installed and will access telematics on a monthly subscription basis. In fact, Kar thinks trucking will continue to see growth in the use of telematics devices and telematics-enabled technology.
Telematics devices report fault codes to the driver and fleet manager when there is a current or potential issue with the truck. They can make a decision about the severity of the problem and determine whether the truck needs to be repaired immediately, whether repair can wait till the truck is back at fleet headquarters or whether the truck can be evaluated during the next scheduled maintenance appointment.
Fleets can also use this data to avoid CSA violations by proactively repairing problems. The Maintenance BASIC is still the category with the most CSA violations. A savvy fleet manager can stay one step ahead of the roadside inspector by paying attention to the information coming from the vehicle’s telematics device.
The most revolutionary aspect of telematics is that the technology provides data and information in real time. The truck owner can know at any time the number of miles driven, fuel usage, percent of time in idle as well as seeing any active fault codes. Fleets can evaluate drivers on their fuel efficiency and measure their idling time.
Some truck makers tie telematics to their own customer support centers so that if there is a fault code for something that needs immediate attention, the customer support center is notified and the decision is made about how and where to get the truck repaired.
Telematics data also allows the truck owner to see trends in component performance so they can adjust maintenance schedules or change vehicle specs to make sure their trucks have the components that will last longest in their specific operation.
As the trucking industry moves more toward the connected vehicle concept and even toward connecting the vehicle to the infrastructure, telematics will be leveraged in ways we have not seen yet.
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