At the Daimler Capital Market and Technology Day event they announced 2 new “connectivity” based products set for rollout in the 4th quarter of 2018. These products are based on the increased availability of information among the new Freightliner Cascadias as they become increasingly “smart.” Detroit Connect Direct is a customizable platform that also offers a wireless in cab connection via Bluetooth, a tool that allows the ELD application and truck to communicate.
DTNA launched the Detroit Connect Virtual Technician more than 7 years ago. The Virtual Technician is an interactive tool that reports in real time the condition of the vehicle. For instance, if there was a mechanical fault such as a sudden oil pressure drop, a message would be sent to the fleet manager alerting them to the fault event and then giving a base summary on what to do next. In the demonstration given the application reported to the dispatch the driver would be able to complete his day and gave an estimated timeframe for service.
Detroit Connect Direct builds off the connectivity of the Virtual Technician by giving the customer access to varied levels of data the truck is already monitoring. The customer will be able to adjust the amount of data and frequency based on their needs and infrastructure.
Some potential uses are obvious as fleets can identify problematic units or driving behaviors. In the demonstration Jason Kraejewski, Director of Connectivity for Detroit Connect, displayed an example dashboard they created from a sample of the available data. The dashboard included but was not limited to metrics like vehicle speed, fuel economy, and engine RPMs all in real time as they had an active truck driving around the city available for live correspondence.
“For us the truck is the thing in the internet of things,” explains Kraejewski.
Kraejewski goes on to state that the data will be available in its raw form or in a customizable state that suits the customer. The data will be able to flow directly into the back end of the customer’s existing infrastructure.
Many ELDs offer the same type of information, but with the truck itself reporting the data there is a more direct connection to the data making the origination of the information more reliable than a device plugged in to the truck. The main benefit here is DTNA can customize the data as many ELD providers struggle to provide information the carrier can integrate into their system. On the other end the carrier may also not know exactly what they need. Daimler is willing to assist.
Kraejewski also explains that Daimler serves as a backup for the information as the information is stored on their system. This of course brings up the question of privacy and data sharing.
When asked if Daimler was going to use the data for its own purposes, Kraejewski responded that the customers own the data and DTNA “just borrows it in order to provide for the customer.” He states that Daimler has taken every measure to ensure the data is kept safe, as privacy issues have become a hot button topic of late with companies like Facebook receiving scrutiny over sharing of customer information.
The wireless in-cab device connection is a service that builds off the connectivity idea of the Detroit Connect Direct service. The in-cab device connection is a service that allows the truck to wirelessly communicate to the ELD application on the driver’s phone or from whatever smart device the ELD is managed. The driver would not have to actively connect anything to retrieve the data saving them a step. An intriguing potential of the in-cab wireless connection and Detroit Connect Direct service is the carrier could potentially create their own ELD application as long as they had the appropriate correspondence with the government.
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