Daimler continues to build connections

John G Smith
Jason Krajewski, director connectivity, Daimler Trucks North America

PORTLAND, Ore. — Daimler Trucks North America will expand on its portfolio of connected vehicle offerings this year, giving fleets greater access to vehicle data and new Bluetooth-enabled connections for the cab.

A subscription-based service known as Detroit Connect Direct, to come in the fourth quarter of the year, will offer users the chance to select what truck-related data they want, how frequently it arrives, and how it will integrate into back-end systems.

“We want to focus on people who, for some reason or other, love data,” says Jason Krajewski, director connectivity, Daimler Trucks North America. That can include everyone from fuel and safety managers, to fleet managers, and even fleet executives. “They want to know the decisions they made to buy our trucks are the right ones,” he says of the latter group.

Customization will include data sets, collection frequencies, and delivery intervals.

“It’s a very simple interaction,” he says, referring to the serious of menus, with information measuring driver behavior, time and place, vehicle performance, and safety system performance.

It is the functionality that will allow users to see such things as the way a driver uses an accelerator pedal, or how often they’re in top gear or applying the brakes.

“This really opens up a whole new dimension of data-centric thinking for our customers,” he says.

Building on the recent U.S. mandate for electronic logging devices, meanwhile, the Detroit Connect Wireless In-cab Device Connection will communicate all-important vehicle data through Bluetooth, pairing with different ELD devices and eliminating connection-related hardware that is otherwise mounted by a driver’s feet.

Existing Bluetooth protocols can vary from one device to the next, because of factors like antenna strength, he says. This system has been tested to work about 30 feet from the vehicle.

“You can pair with our truck and run whatever application you want,” Krajewski says, adding that Daimler is already working with several partners and authorizing their applications for the rollout. There is even the potential to use this for more than ELDs, perhaps for something like a driver scorecard that measures use of the brake pedal, he says. “We want to help them leverage that connection to their maximum potential.”

Concerns about privacy are being eased through encrypted data, he adds, and customers are provided with a set of standard terms and conditions.

“We think we’ve got things covered as much as we can,” he says. “Our customers own the data. We just borrow it.”

John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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