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Drivewyze pumps its software through another ELD and plunges further into data analysis

( Photo: Orbcomm)

The nexus of a growing pile of data coming out of Electronic Logging Devices were all present to varying degrees in a pair of announcements made this week by Drivewyze.

Drivewyze is mostly known for its Weigh Station Bypass technology that allows trucks that have attained certain safety score levels to more regularly bypass weigh stations. (As Doug Johnson, the vice president of marketing at Drivewyze noted, there are always some random checks, so no bypass system can guarantee a truck will never be required to pull into a weigh station or get inspected through some other method.)

At the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition meeting this week in Austin, Drivewyze made two announcements. The first is that the Drivewyze software will be integrated into the ELDs of Orbcomm, one of the larger suppliers of ELDs in a highly fragmented market. (By one estimate, there are more than 400 suppliers of ELD devices.)

Orbcomm becomes a vendor of Drivewyze software, according to Johnson. It will be pre-installed in an Orbcomm ELD and can be easily switched on if the driver of that truck, or that truck’s fleet, chooses to use Drivewyze software.

Drivewyze and PrePass are the two giants of the Weigh Station Bypass industry. It may be one of the few areas in the trucking business that isn’t fragmented: the two companies have an unknown combined market share and are fierce competitors. It is not clear how big the combined share is, but it’s large and could easily be interpreted as a duopoly.

Still, there is a third competitor: not using Weigh Station Bypass technology at all. In an interview with FreightWaves, Johnson said there are 4.5 million trucks on the road, “and there are under 700,000 that are participating in any sort of bypass program,” Johnson said when asked to estimate the size of the market. “That means there is upward of a 3 million truck opportunity. It’s huge.”

Johnson sees the road to get them as increasingly running through ELDs, rather than as a phone app that is the other primary platform for running Drivewyze’s Weigh Station Bypass software. “Trucking companies want to consolidate as much as possible into one piece of machinery,” Johnson said.

“That is our business plan,” Johnson said of growing the Drivewyze footprint built into ELDs. The technology was launched six years ago, he said, and the move then was to build the software into the first generation of ELDs as well as the more prevalent–at that time–Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD).

Orbcomm joins a list of six other vendors that includes other major ELD manufacturers such as Rand McNally and PeopleNet.

The other Drivewyze announcement tied to the ATA meeting was the rollout of what the company is calling Drivewyze Insights. Just like the battle for Weigh Station Bypass technology is fierce, so is the battle to provide truckers with data that can help efficiency and safety. The difference is that while Weigh Station Bypass’s market may be mostly a duopoly, the data suppliers are multiplying like mad, driven by data that is increasingly coming off ELDs and other telematics systems.

That isn’t the case with Drivewyze Insights. What Drivewyze is doing in Drivewyze Insights, Johnson said, is analyzing the violations and other information in the data. “We tell the customers not only where their most severe violations are, but how they compare to other carriers of the same size,” he said. For example, the data will review the severity of the safety violations in the data, “and it will tell you if you’re getting hammered for tires, and others are not.”

All of this safety data folds back into Drivewyze’s core business. It’s safety data that goes a long way to determining whether a company’s truck is going to be able to be waved past a weigh station or whether it needs to pull over.

The safety data is combined with various state truck regulations, and the better the safety score, the less chance there is of a truck needing to pull into a weigh station.

“We want our customers to have a win-win situation,” Johnson said of what they’re going to get in Drivewyze Insights.

The win for the customers would be, presumably, the better safety scores that should flow as they are informed what their problem areas are and then deal with them, and the win for Drivewyze would be making the overall product more valuable. What’s not a win for Drivewyze is any direct revenue from Drivewyze Insights; the service is free.

But one thing that became clear in several days at the ATA meeting is that there is a lot of data kicking around, a lot of companies trying to harness it, and Drivewyze is one of many. But it is one of two major companies in another feature of trucks today and may be able to leverage that position to grant it some degree of a leg up. It’s just not certain how much.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.