Bus

Telematics Tech: Tapping Vehicle Intelligence to Make Good Fleets Great

Posted on February 21, 2014 by Janna Starcic, Executive Editor

Lytx Inc.’s DriveCam system identifies and prioritizes risky behaviors to assist with driver training and coaching.
Lytx Inc.’s DriveCam system identifies and prioritizes risky behaviors to assist with driver training and coaching.
As telematics technology matures, it is increasingly becoming more sophisticated. These systems are being used to monitor vehicle operator behavior, idling, fuel efficiency and a myriad of other capabilities. Vehicle tracking, one of the more mainstream benefits of telematics data, gives operations the power of accountability, says Robert Donahue, government business manager for Lytx Inc.

But as the industry evolves, providing more actionable intelligence to the end-user is paramount.

“We are going to see more growth in telematics and greater adoption as the value proposition increases and, as the availability of information increases and the risk to operating a vehicle without such insight increases,” says Kirk Shore, director, product development, for Clever Devices.

With all of that actionable intelligence, comes a proliferation of data and reports. “The key here is being able to analyze the info and provide actionable information to the [customer] to improve the fleet,” says Jason Palmer, president of SmartDrive Systems. “Whether its service delivery, safety or fuel efficiency, you need to be able to deliver that to the right person who can take action on that information.”
 
System evolution
Telematics systems are able to collect even more granular data than before, explains Dmitryi Vanchugov, industry solutions consultant, ITS, with Trapeze.

“So, not only do we know that the engine is hot, we know how hot it is,” he says. “We can trend over time and collect that information off the vehicle of how hot it was five minutes ago and what was the ramp-up time for the engine to get hot.”

“Increasingly, as RFPs come out, there’s a lot more integration between different systems on the vehicle, says Palmer. “[Customers] are looking at ways they can leverage the information that’s coming off the vehicle to be more intelligent.”

With the SmartDrive system, vehicles are equipped with two cameras, which are triggered by more than 120 different types of driving maneuvers, such as harsh braking events, swerving or unsafe lane changes.
With the SmartDrive system, vehicles are equipped with two cameras, which are triggered by more than 120 different types of driving maneuvers, such as harsh braking events, swerving or unsafe lane changes.
Maximizing data
Suppliers are finding that transit agencies are finding innovative ways to maximize this intelligence collected from telematics systems. According to Vanchugov, a client was using its software program to monitor driver behavior and additionally utilized the data from the harsh acceleration and braking to help plan a traffic signal priority system with the city.

“What they decided to do was monitor stop lights where harsh acceleration and braking takes place often, those intersections were then the best candidates for traffic signal preemption,” he says.

By the same token, Lytx’s Donahue referenced a customer that operates a paratransit service that made a policy change based on an incident captured by a video camera. “Just by giving them visual evidence, [the customer] was able to identify and see the risk associated with the [incident] and make a simple policy change,” he says.

Another trend being observed by telematics companies is the “desire to migrate to a single box/data platform,” says Zonar’s Craig Kahoun, director, public sector solutions.

Costs for telematics have also seen some shifts. “One of the trends taking place is the blending of hardware and service costs into a single monthly cost,” Donahue says. “This is allowing customers to not have the initial capital outlay.”

Typically, customers will pay for the cost of the hardware and the installation and  sign a multi-year contract that’s locked into a monthly rate, he adds.

PRODUCT INTEL
Clever Devices
www.cleverdevices.com
Solution: Automatic Vehicle Monitoring
The AVM system provides vehicle health monitoring using the on-board Intelligent Vehicle Network system and business intelligence reporting designed specifically for bus maintenance personnel. AVM collects data from systems on the bus using all available networks and interfaces.

AVM3 provides informational reports to save time during maintenance inspections, reduce maintenance costs, increase operating efficiency and improve service. Vehicle health information is provided historically and in real-time to dispatchers. Customers can set specific business rules to take advantage of the expertise of the maintenance staff, who can configure the system in innovative ways and see pending issues before catastrophic faults occur.

Clever Devices is also readying to launch its Clever Analytics system, which will focus on operator behavior and fuel efficiency.

Lytx Inc.
www.lytx.com
Solution: DriveCam powered by Lytx.
Powered by the Lytx Engine, the DriveCam Program is a comprehensive end-to-end safety program that identifies, prioritizes and corrects the causes of poor driving. The DriveCam driver safety solution includes its patented video event recorder, which captures risky driving behavior, uploads daily recordings of it via a secure cellular connection to the DriveCam Risk Analysis Center, and transfers it to customers for analysis and safety coaching.

The program transforms volumes of data into simple priorities, guiding operators to take appropriate action. The company’s Web-based application, DriveCam Online, ensures accountability and allows for benchmarking across an organization.

SmartDrive Systems Inc.
www.smartdrive.net
Solution: SmartDrive Safety
SmartDrive Safety reduces collisions, protects drivers and saves money. By capturing comprehensive in-vehicle data from risky driving behaviors, then reviewing and prioritizing safety performance, SmartDrive provides comprehensive insight, with video and simple driver coaching tools.

The vehicle is equipped with two cameras, which are triggered by more than 120 different types of driving maneuvers, including harsh braking events, swerving or unsafe lane changes. Video is recorded for 15 seconds before and after they are triggered.  

Once a risky or fuel-inefficient driving maneuver is identified, it is captured and uploaded to the company’s service center. Once reviewed, videos are scored and uploaded to a driver’s profile on the company’s online portal so they can be ranked against their peers. Owners and fleet managers can then log in to that online portal where they are presented with info about their drivers and what skills they may need to be trained on.

Trapeze Group
www.trapezegroup.com
Solution: Trapeze EAM Fuel Monitoring and Management
Tracking fuel costs and consumption becomes essential to controlling the bottom line. Trapeze EAM Fuel Monitoring and Management solution can help fleets improve accountability for consumable assets; lower overall fuel expenditures; reduce “shrinkage,” such as waste and abuse, through automated fuel dispensing; and enhance safety through monitoring of fuel storage tanks and pumps.

The EAM system will also address environmental concerns; eliminate duplicate data entry and redundant data; provide timely fuel consumption data; and shorten fueling time and increase productivity. This flexible solution can be modified or expanded to meet fleet operation needs. The Trapeze EAM system supports several identification devices, from the latest automatic vehicle data recognition technology to manual entry keypads.

Zonar Systems
www.zonarsystems.com
Solution: Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report (EVIR)
EVIR utilizes a cloud-based data platform that provides data to customers through Web interfaces, mobile devices or integrations with other back-end systems. Data captured by EVIR is transmitted through Zonar’s V3 telematics platform. The V3 serves as a vehicle data hub collecting data captured through mobile devices, vehicle engine and subsystem computers, and GPS location data. This data stream includes vehicle fault codes that allow maintenance operations to remotely diagnose vehicle issues and optimize the shop scheduling process.

Zonar’s newest product is the 2020 Tablet. The 2020 is a driver interfacing mobile platform that allows for a new level of interaction between the driver and fleet management. Included on the tablet is the EVIR inspection tool, two-way messaging features, commercial navigation and re-routing, and driver feedback based on data captured through the V3. It is an open Android product platform that can be adapted with applications specific to the operation.

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