Mack Trucks brought select journalists to a new TEC Equipment dealership in Fontana, CA, this week to announce a new time-saving option available on its Granite truck models. Mack will now offer the Lytx DriveCam safety program as a pre-wire option on Granite models, joining the TerraPro and LR cabover models offering the option.
According to Kristin Costas, director of product management with Lytx, who was on hand for the announcement, the pre-wire option saves between 1 and 2 hours per truck in aftermarket installation time for fleets, which requires the removal of panels to run cabling as well as coordination with vehicle downtime.
The pre-wire option on all vehicles will be available in the third quarter of this year.
The press event was held at TEC’s new Fontana facility, a $30 million dealership open only a month at this point. Before the announcement of the Lytx option, Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of North America sales and marketing, briefly noted how well the truck market is doing, pointing out that the industry is on pace for over 300,000 Class 8 NAFTA orders this year, and over the past four months, the annualized rate is over 500,000 vehicles, he told FreightWaves.
Randall said indications are still that the majority of the orders are larger fleets and mostly replacement vehicles, pointing out that in 2015, the industry saw over 300,000 order and many of these vehicles are now entering the replacement cycle for fleets.
“We see the market being equally strong next year,” he said, although he refused to offer a potential order number. Randall did tell FreightWaves that Mack is now booking orders into 2019. “We have very limited capacity the rest of this year, so …the majority of new orders we are taking now are going into 2019.”
The news of the day was the Lytx option, and Curtis Dorwart, refuse product manager for Mack, said that the camera-based system is very popular with refuse fleets, which have different concerns from over-the-road and regional fleet operations. Offering Lytx, he said, helps Mack maintain its leadership in the refuse segment.
“How do you do that?” he asked. “You do that by having the right tools and products.”
The Lytx pre-wire option was first announced for the TerraPro and LR cabover models last November, but is now being added to the Granite, which Randall said is the number-one selling Class 8 straight truck in America, in part because of its popularity in the refuse segment.
The Granite, which is used by many refuse operations in rear loader, hook and roll-off applications, as well as in construction and other non-refuse applications, can be spec’d as a Class 8 or as the MDH (Medium Heavy Duty) Class 7 model.
On all three vehicles, the ability to pre-wire for the Lytx system saves both time and money for fleets and provides a critical safety benefit, something Costas noted is a big benefit for fleets.
The DriveCam system is a forward-facing camera that records activity around the vehicle. The ability to add an in-cab camera is part of the new Lytx Video Services that has been recently rolled out. Video services continuously records external events and stores those for 90 days before being archived. Fleets can access these videos for coaching opportunities or to exonerate drivers for critical safety events such as hard braking recorded by the system. It records a 12 second clip of all triggered events.
According to Costas, the average driver has only 2 “coachable” events per month. Each event is reviewed by a Lytx safety professional who can prioritize these events for fleets. Exceptions can also be set up to automatically send alerts to fleet managers before a Lytx review is conducted.
“We really want to drill down and … identify behaviors in and around the cab and identify risky behaviors,” Costas said.
Lytx has over 80 billion miles of driving data covering some 850,000 drivers on six continents and across 30 countries, she said.
The company will soon release the Lytx Hub that will allow for the addition of auxiliary cameras around the vehicle to connect to the Lytx system and utilize the pre-wire option.
Controlling driver distraction, though, is now only one part of the DriveCam safety system, Costas said, with its ability to record events around the vehicle such as proof of delivery, verifying injuries and falls, and other safety-critical events. Using the Video Services option also adds a live feed from the forward-facing camera only, which can be used to verify things such as blocked dumpsters in real time.
The driver also has the ability to hit a manual record button if the need arises.
It’s these other uses, Dorwart said, that makes the DriveCam system so popular with refuse fleets, although fleets of all types should benefit from the system.