New technology increases communications
Innovation in trucking is accelerating more and more rapidly these days. New trucks, engines and components are not only becoming more efficient to operate, they have reduced maintenance requirements and last longer. Computers and software, along with transportation telematics, communication systems and mobile resource management solutions allow fleets to gain greater efficiencies by more tightly planning distribution logistics.
With these technologies, real-time information on shipments as well as driver and vehicle performance are only a few clicks away. Reports are now being compiled automatically and delivered electronically from on-board truck computers to in-office computers.
These new abilities create new opportunities to manage trucks and drivers more effectively. The following is a roundup of some of the latest products for trucking operation efficiencies.
Adapx’s Capturx line of products improve field data collection by enabling paper designs, such as driver vehicle inspection reports, driver logs, damaged good reports, deliveries and more, to be filled out or marked up with a digital pen that digitizes the handwriting and integrates the data directly into Microsoft Office and geographic information systems (GIS).
Capturx works with standard digital pen technology and standard software applications, without requiring expensive equipment, training, IT involvement or changes to existing business processes. Users get the ease and simplicity of collecting data on paper with the benefits of immediate access to digital data in native applications. In addition, field personnel make workflows more efficient without the cost, delays and risks from scanning, transcribing or losing paper documents, the company says.
Capturx software enables forms, Excel files and more to be printed with a special digital watermark using office printers on ordinary paper. The digital watermark is readable by digital pens and is unique to each application and file.
These forms are filled out in ink using a digital pen that looks and feels like a regular ballpoint pen, but contains an integrated digital sensor, an advanced image microprocessor and a mobile communications device for wireless connection. As the pen writes, the handwriting is digitized and stored in the pen. When the pen is docked to a PC, Capturx integrates the data directly into the original Microsoft Office document and other sources.
DataTracs tracking solution
DataTracs’s custom tracking application enables companies to replace the need for GPS communication equipment installed on each vehicle with cell phone-based GPS tracking with such features as Geofencing, integration to transportation management systems (TMS) and dynamic dispatch features for increased operational efficiency.
With the DataTracs tracking solution, cell phones from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, including Androids, Blackberries, iPhones and a variety of conventional cell phones, can easily be programmed to be tracked by GPS.
A driver’s position is displayed on a global map using a web portal. GPS polling interval rate can be changed at will by this portal to see drivers’ positions every five minutes or every hour.
The dynamic web-tracking portal is easily configurable and rapidly integrates with a company’s TMS. It identifies the GPS Tracks for each or all drivers, uses Geofencing to acknowledge when a driver is near the intended destination and provides drivers with next load choices. At the touch of a pre-programmed button on the driver’s cell phone, GPS information and status, including dispatch, pick-up, delivery and next load, is relayed instantly to the company’s TMS. The DataTracs software also enables a driver to receive visual and verbal driving directions to the next destination.
Innovative Software Engineering (ISE), through a new company - ISE Fleet Services - launched eFleetSuite solution, a customizable, modular and scalable end-to-end application designed to reduce risk, prevent accidents, boost productivity and manage Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) compliance.
The easy to deploy and use system leverages QSI Corp.’s mDash 4 on-board computer, which is a rugged in-cab electronic on-board recorder that contains the mobile component of eFleetSuite. This component acts like a “safety manager” that is present with drivers in real time to help them stay within safety and compliance parameters, including hours of service, current documentation and potential speeding violations, the company says.
The mDash 4 communicates wirelessly using a robust communications system over a nationwide cellular network. eFleetSuite’s web application also can be used for real time and paperless compliance and resource management.
The IntelliTruck telecommunications system is the first commercial vehicle tracking system from Comtech Mobile Data Corp. Its data communication technologies underpin the U.S. Army’s two major mobile tracking programs: the Movement Tracking System, which is used by Army’s transportation and logistics specialists, and the Blue Force Tracking System, which is used by the U.S. Army’s combat armament groups.
IntelliTruck streamlines the reporting requirements imposed on truck owners and drivers by the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, plus provides a tool for managing driver behavior and fleet optimization.
The system’s easy-to-use, web-based back office application generates multiple reports around driver safety, behavior, fuel consumption and vehicle condition. By capturing and processing this new information, fleet managers can adapt and prioritize vehicle usage and maintenance on a real-time basis.
IntelliTruck’s electronic onboard data recorder is fully compliant with new FMCSA requirements.
Navman Wireless has added industry-first field reporting capabilities to its OnlineAVL2 fleet tracking system, enabling employees to complete pre-populated electronic forms from vehicles in the field instead of filling out reports by hand or on a PC.
The new feature enables data to be captured quickly from the road and automatically integrated into the OnlineAVL2 software, eliminating manual data entry, as well as providing near-real-time availability.
With the new enhancement, forms pre-loaded with information, such as job ID, location, time and customer contact, can be generated with a click and displayed on the Navman Wireless M-Nav 760 dispatch/messaging/GPS navigation unit in the vehicle. Drivers can fill in the required information and return each completed form by touching the M-Nav screen, making the data easily accessible to the back-office OnlineAVL2 software for reporting purposes.
Forms can be easily created and customized to the fleet's needs from the OnlineAVL2 interface.
Additional upgrades in the new Version 10.2 of OnlineAVL2 include the option to display realistic graphic icons for different types of vehicles for easy dispatcher identification on the system's real-time fleet location maps and new asset usage reports designed for monitoring equipment.
OnlineAVL2 is delivered under the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), an application hosted on a remote server and accessed through the Internet.
PeopleNet has integrated its Automated Workflow with CAMS route optimization software to automate tracking of actual route delivery information. In addition to automating delivery of optimized routes to drivers, the new integration tracks actual arrival, departure and delays associated with each stop.
At any given time, a PeopleNet user with a CAMS back-office system can retrieve real-time information about a driver’s route, including arrival and departure times, delays, travel time and mileage. Drivers no longer have to spend time completing forms, and back-office personnel no longer have to enter data manually, which reduces errors. Although departure information has been available through other integrations, the addition of arrival information through PeopleNet’s Automated Workflow application and Geofences provides complete real-time trip progress information.
Meritor Wabco Vehicle Control Systems’ SafetyDirect system allows customers to use a single point of access to monitor and synchronize driver performance reports on braking, stability control, following distances, collision safety system braking and lane-departure warnings for individual drivers as well as the entire fleet.
The comprehensive reporting includes event location, date, time, speed, odometer reading and safety trending data.
SafetyDirect works by combining the technologies in Meritor Wabco’s SmartTrac and OnGuard active safety systems with its partner Iteris’ SafetyDirect, which is an online application for analyzing data generated by Iteris’ data logger and lane departure warning system.
The SafetyDirect application uses information transmitted from the vehicle by the fleet’s onboard mobile communications system through leading telematic providers such as Qualcomm and PeopleNet.
Safety systems supported by SafetyDirect include the following:
- SmartTrac - A suite of active safety systems that can assist the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle in response to an impending loss of directional or roll stability. - OnGuard - A forward-looking radar-based collision safety system that can detect objects in a vehicle’s path and automatically engage the throttle, engine retarder and service brakes when it senses an impending collision, thereby assisting the driver in avoiding rear-end collisions. - Iteris LDW - A lane-departure warning system that uses a camera and onboard computer to track visible lane markings and detect when a vehicle drifts toward an unintended lane change.
Telogis Fleet 8
Telogis’ Telogis Fleet 8 is a scalable SaaS GPS fleet management software that helps improve productivity and operational streamlining. It incorporates dynamic traffic and weather data to allow fleet managers to make the most informed real-time routing and allocation decisions based on current conditions in the field.
This new scalable solution integrates with Telogis Route and Telogis Mobile to create a complete platform that monitors the location, health, performance and security of mobile assets, while presenting that data in a way that is easy for fleet managers to understand and act upon.
Telogis Fleet 8 allows a streetside and bird’s eye view of the actual location and surroundings of vehicles.
In addition, the software has advanced tracking tools designed to reduce operating and administrative costs and improve the safety and use of assets in the field. These include the following:
- IFTA/IRP data feed to help companies that have vehicles traveling through multiple states accurately and efficiently manage their compliance based on GPS data and determine the best place to register each vehicle. - Multiple vehicle histories to allow users to view the current and historical status of multiple vehicles in a single window.
- A new tool that simplifies the process of researching incidents at specific locations and times that helps expedite investigations into purported violations or incidents involving the company’s vehicles. - Fuel card module that leverages fuel card data and GPS locations to better manage fuel purchases. Along with recording fuel card transactions, the module compares the transactions with GPS-provided vehicle locations to verify authorized use. If a card is used without an approved vehicle within a specified range, that information is called out to the fleet manager.
Rand McNally has made additional enhancements to its TruckPC mobile fleet management solution. Truck PC uses Rand McNally’s IntelliRoute TND truck navigation on DriverTech’s secure, on-board computing platform.
Enhancements to the TruckPC system include the following:
- New navigation software and new driver-oriented features, such as a simplified user interface, text-to-speech directions, multi-stop route optimization, lane guidance, posted speed limit warnings and automatic driver assistance.
- Integration of a solid-state hard drive that improves reliability and provides a longer life span, a faster processor for enhanced performance and more storage on the device. - The addition of TruckPC Workflow - a way to manage the driver’s daily tasks - to provide interactive updates from the cab to the back office. Multi-media capabilities and a customizable process allow documents such as bills of lading, instructional videos and other materials to be shared with drivers.
The TruckPC system provides a comprehensive hours of service program, compliant with the latest FMCSA 395 guidelines and has established integration with third-party dispatch and TMS.
TCH and Zonar Systems have joined forces to offer Z-Con technology to fueling locations and trucking fleets across the United States and Canada. The new technology authorizes fuel pump transactions with security checks and multiple validations previously unavailable in the market.
Z-Con will be installed at participating locations. Companies will have each of their trucks outfitted with a Zonar telematics device. A series of sensors, radios and computers were designed to consistently and accurately identify a truck when it enters and exits a diesel fuel lane.
This new technology will help customers eliminate diesel fuel theft at the pump, improve information accuracy and increase reporting back to the carrier, while eliminating the potential for human error and making the fueling process as a whole more efficient for both the driver and the fueling location.
As a vehicle approaches a Z-Con-equipped fueling island, an ultrasonic sensor detects the presence of the truck, activating the radio in the fuel canopy and an infrared transmitter. Once the infrared transmitter and the receiver in the truck are aligned, an LED on the windshield of the truck indicates to the driver that authorization is in progress.
After the VIN has been validated, the LED indicates that the driver is authorized to begin fueling. This entire, secure process takes seconds to complete.
Z-Con eliminates the need for drivers to swipe a fuel card or enter data to initialize a transaction, which,removes the possibility of inaccurate information and guarantees proper authorization and secure fueling. Z-Con also terminates fueling when the vehicle leaves the pump area, ensuring that only the correct truck is fueled.
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