As the Internet of Things (IoT) moves from science fiction to reality, the way we live our lives will change forever. In our homes, offices, neighbourhoods and on the road, IoT will provide critical links to enhance connectivity.
Trucking is also becoming an inter-connected business, as the use of telematics technology allows data captured while driving to be processed and transmitted over long-distances.
In the consumer insurance sector companies are using telematics to measure the driving competency of young drivers including braking, cornering, mileage, locations, time of day and speed. The driving data is recorded on a ‘black box’ then evaluated and a competency score is recorded and this is used to customise a policy for each driver.
Now the technology is proving to be an important and practical tool for fleet managers to know everything that is happening to their trucks while in transit from vehicle routes, fuel levels, location, engine idling and the delivery status of shipments.
“Telematics allows fleet managers to monitor and manage the fleet’s safety in emergency situations. This technology can also act as a proactive measure to ensure the goods and drivers are
well-protected,” according to Telematics.com
In recent years, telematics has proven in many ways to improve working conditions and business efficiencies for the trucking sector which fleet owners’ can report for International Fuel Tax Agreement compliance in the United States (US) and beyond.
Fleet managers now use telematics as an early warning when there is a problem, such as a truck being delayed in-transit. The manager can then take immediate measures to resolve the problem such as changing the transport route, adjusting temperatures within the container to ensure products are kept at optimum temperatures.
Currently the main benefits are fuel savings through route optimisation and knowing the exact delivery times of shipments.
Because of the tangible benefits of telematics in trucking its use is on the rise. In a 2018 survey by teletrac Navman, 77 percent of fleet managers reported using telematics for vehicle tracking.
Today, these business leaders use the technology to monitor the movement and status of vehicles, gaining an overview of fleets in real time, like never before. This comprehensive view allows for better management of warehousing and logistics.
This evolution is, in part, thanks to the ELD Mandate (electronic logging device mandate) in the US. The technology’s uptake has been driven by the recent compliance deadline by 2017 and another, which looms at 2019.
These types of government-driven industry-wide policies are helping to drive efficiencies in the simplest of ways – for both organisations and drivers. Samsung reports that the industry spends approximately 51 million hours annually reviewing and inputing data that will now be performed electronically. It’s a huge shift. Add to that the 110 hours each year individual drivers previously spent keeping a logbook, and industry efficiencies are very clear.
Looking to the future, truck telematics systems could evolve to be even smarter. One way fleet managers are hoping to apply the technology is though contextual utilisation. This application means that vehicles would be serviced only when necessary (indicated from data), rather than in a scheduled service. This is another way fleets can reduce costs.
German engineering and technology giant, Bosch, presented its vision for the future of freight at the 67th International Motor Show (IAA – Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) Commercial Vehicles in Hannover last year.
According to Bosch, tomorrow’s freight traffic will be accident-free, stress-free, and emissions-free. The technology supplier launched a range of products and services including cloud-based connectivity platform that connects fleets of vehicles for predictive diagnostics and even over-the-air software updates.
For Bosch, connectivity means new efficiency for transport systems –with an aim of reducing congestion on the roads, an added benefit for logistics companies. Bosch claims that it can contribute two-fold technical expertise; its broad knowledge of the commercial-vehicle domain and its IoT expertise.
“Bosch enables digitally connected logistics solutions, from freeway to front door,” says Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management responsible for the commercial-vehicle business.
As most new trucks in the US and Europe are now connected to the internet, Bosch supplies truck manufacturers with telematics platforms that make things such as software updates or predictive diagnostics possible, which also opens up new business in connected services.
Now fleet manager and logistics companies are using the relevant sensor systems to monitor the condition of especially critical deliveries of goods, including vital goods such as blood plasma – around the clock.
Every year, 40,000 high-value truck loads are monitored in transit. Bosch is also using the IoT to automate delivery tracking: sensors on goods and containers transfer information about position, temperature, and vibration to the cloud computing. Initial experience and data results in the field shows that these real-time logistics solutions helps dispatchers to cut their search and inventory effort by more than half.
Moreover, they increase the availability of reusable containers by as much as 30 percent. Bosch wants connectivity to make road freight altogether more productive and reduce the burden on the road network. “Whether through electrification, automation, or connectivity, Our solutions are helping to ensure that road freight does not come up against the limits to growth,” Heyn says.
Bosch’s Transport Data Logger, a small box with integrated sensors, monitors the transport of sensitive goods and measures temperature, humidity, tilt, and shock events during transport. This service has the potential to provide immense value for cargo owners. It is connected to a smartphone app that alerts freight managers about breaches to consignments and damaged goods, identifying where in the supply chain responsibility will lie.