Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is partnering with growth-stage fleet management software startup Platform Science to let customers use third-party telematics and connectivity services directly from their trucks without installing aftermarket hardware.
The agreement between North America’s leading truck maker and La Jolla, California-based Platform Science includes an undisclosed investment by DTNA in the company’s Series B funding round. Founded in 2014, Platform Sciences had raised $30 million prior to Daimler’s investment.
Platform Science and DTNA planned to announce the partnership during the opening day of the FreightWaves LIVE @HOME conference Tuesday.
“For the first time, our software is going to market built directly onto the truck rather than being installed afterward,” Platform Science founder and CEO Jack Kennedy told FreightWaves. “This partnership represents a leap forward for an industry that was built on legacy technology, challenged by costly inefficiencies and rigid systems.”
Platform Science’s technology provides a seamless end-to-end solution that maximizes visibility with minimal complexity, eliminating the delays, costs and inconveniences of installing cabling and antennas.
“We designed our platform from day one knowing that we wouldn’t be in the hardware business forever,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to ensure that our platform worked on a variety of hardware instances while still offering the same experience to customers and software developers.”
Beginning in 2021, Platform Science software will be built into DTNA telematics hardware at the factory. Drivers will need only an authorized mobile device to log into their telematics system.
“By leveraging Platform Science’s transportation-specific Mobile Device Management, customers will be able to choose the solutions to fit their mixed fleet needs and seamlessly integrate those solutions into their trucks,” said Sanjiv Khurana, DTNA general manager of Digital Vehicle Solutions.
The partnership initially will focus on key fleet management solutions including the electronic logging device (ELD), workflow, driver inspection, navigation options and fleet-specific apps. Eventually, the service aims to deliver apps from a range of software providers on a single telematics-enabled platform.
The Platform Science internet of things (IoT) platform sorts out enterprise and large fleet compliance, productivity, and safety needs. The company ranked No.10 on the 2019 FreightWaves FreightTech 25.
Working with a customer the size of DTNA and getting its financial investment further validates Platform Science’s “effort to transform the customer experience,” Kennedy said.
“We have reached an inflection point for transportation technology; the in-cab experience will now have the opportunity to keep pace with the ‘in-pocket’ experience that smartphones have taught us to expect,” he said.
DTNA and Platform Science are collaborating with some of the nation’s leading enterprise fleets in development and testing. Seeking feedback is part of DTNA’s “co-creation” process like it uses with electric truck customers.
“Both Daimler and Platform Science are committed to drastically improving drivers’ lives and that’s not a small undertaking,” Kennedy said. “There’s a generation’s worth of ingrained systems and behaviors that we had to reexamine, evaluate and figure out how to best move forward together.”