DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!

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It’s that field of IT com­mu­ni­ca­tions that sees long-dis­tance trans­mis­sion of an­a­lyt­i­cal data find­ing it­self key to mod­ern com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle ef­fi­ciency pro­cesses. We check out some stuff. Fabian Cot­ter re­ports.

The idea isn’t ex­actly new, but telem­at­ics ar­guably is of crit­i­cal im­por­tance th­ese days to all com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors and fleet man­agers – and buses and coaches are no dif­fer­ent. The mod­ern pre­req­ui­site now for any trans­port en­tity is to run ve­hi­cles as ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble, and that means analysing cost im­pli­ca­tions on mul­ti­ple fronts and en­deav­our­ing to con­trol and re­duce them.

This in­cludes fuel use and cost, and un­der­rid­ing that is how to max­imise ve­hi­cle per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency so as to not have cap­i­tal equip­ment, like a bus or truck, be­ing more of a drain than they should be.

The fo­cus? The driver – or cor­rectly driver be­hav­iour. And in that con­text there’s a whole world of com­pa­nies ply­ing some uber func­tional and use­ful tech­nol­ogy to keep man­agers and own­ers to­tally in the loop when a ve­hi­cle is on the road and out of sight.

Telem­at­ics is thus a pow­er­ful tool to help man­age and dis­sect bus and truck fleet move­ments and aid ve­hi­cle main­te­nance and longevity – along with a range of other ben­e­fits, like fa­cil­i­tat­ing tax com­pli­ance and re­duc­ing in­surance pre­mi­ums.

As the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion (NTC) puts it – the in­de­pen­dent statu­tory body that ‘con­trib­utes to the achieve­ment of na­tional trans­port pol­icy’ – bus and coach tech­nol­ogy presents “great op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove safety, com­pli­ance and ef­fi­ciency in trans­port”.

The NTC says it’s ex­plor­ing how to best pre­pare Aus­tralia for the in­tro­duc­tion of tech­nolo­gies such as in-ve­hi­cle telem­at­ics sys­tems and Co­op­er­a­tive In­tel­li­gent Trans­port Sys­tems from a reg­u­la­tory per­spec­tive to en­sure we can har­ness th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Es­sen­tially, telem­at­ics pro­vides real-time in­for­ma­tion on driver and ve­hi­cle per­for­mance via a black box sys­tem and GPS and satel­lite tech­nol­ogy.

It can help you look at how dy­namic rout­ing takes into ac­count road con­di­tions and his­tor­i­cal data to reroute buses, al­low­ing them to ar­rive on time and travel as safely as pos­si­ble to their next stop.

On some sys­tems like TomTom’s it can en­cour­age safer bus driver be­hav­iour through driv­ers re­ceiv­ing live feed­back on their dash­board when events such as harsh brak­ing and speed­ing are iden­ti­fied. Plus, it has the abil­ity to stream­line driver train­ing pro­cesses through sim­ple driver-ter­mi­nal in­ter­ac­tion and feed­back. Yet per­haps most im­por­tantly, telem­at­ics al­lows the back of­fice to mon­i­tor real-time ETAs and per­for­mance.

There are some ex­cit­ing and amaz­ing fac­tory OEM and af­ter­mar­ket/in­de­pen­dent sys­tems avail­able out there. Here’s just few…

TOMTOM

Tomtom’s Webfleet sys­tem is the on­line plat­form con­nect­ing op­er­a­tors and own­ers to their ve­hi­cles and func­tion­al­ity can be “ex­panded by adding dif­fer­ent in-ve­hi­cle telem­at­ics de­vices and/or driver ter­mi­nals,” it says.

Tomtom works with a few large key bus fleets, such as Trans­dev, and says the ben­e­fits of telem­at­ics tech­nolo­gies are im­prov­ing driver safety and fuel ef­fi­ciency, and en­sur­ing buses re­main on track and re­li­able.

Just re­cently at this year’s Com­mon­wealth Games, Gold Coast-based Surf­side Buslines utilised Tomtom telem­at­ics’ tech­nolo­gies to en­sure it re­mained re­li­able for vis­i­tors, com­muters and ath­letes.

In turn, the bus fleet achieved an 80 per cent re­duc­tion in in­ef­fi­cient driv­ing events due to proac­tive re­port­ing and driver alerts, and an 18 per cent de­crease in mileage due to the nav­i­ga­tion and live traf­fic re-rout­ing, spokes­peo­ple con­firm.

VOLVO

Volvo Bus Aus­tralia only re­cently an­nounced it will scrap sub­scrip­tion fees and of­fered to con­nect

OP­ER­A­TORS PAY GOOD MONEY FOR THEIR BUS PROD­UCTS, SO KNOW­ING WHERE THEY ARE BE­ING DRIVEN, HOW THEY ARE BE­ING DRIVEN, AND HOW TO BEST DRIVE THEM TO SAVE SOME OF THAT HARD-EARNED CASH IS THE TRICK. OR IN OTHER WORDS… TELEM­AT­ICS.

all new buses de­liv­ered in Aus­tralia from Oc­to­ber 2018 to Volvo’s telem­at­ics sys­tem – Con­nected Ser­vices – free of charge.

“It has taken us a few years to get to this point where we have re­alised the ben­e­fits of the tool are so great for both the op­er­a­tor and for our­selves that we should re­move sub­scrip­tion fees and pro­vide con­nec­tiv­ity as stan­dard on all of our new ve­hi­cles,” ex­plained Lau­ren Downs, gen­eral man­ager Volvo Bus Aus­tralia.

Con­nected Ser­vices is an area of tech­nol­ogy that, at its core, is based on ve­hi­cles be­ing wire­lessly con­nected, such that ve­hi­cle and per­for­mance data is cap­tured from the on-board net­work, trans­mit­ted via GPRS, and se­curely ac­cessed over the in­ter­net by the op­er­a­tor, their work­shop and the Volvo dealer.

MIX TELEM­AT­ICS

Prob­a­bly one of the most well-known telem­at­ics com­pa­nies around, South African-based Mix Telem­at­ics has an in­te­grated, au­to­mated jour­ney risk man­age­ment so­lu­tion.

To give bus driv­ers real-time alerts about road ob­sta­cles and haz­ards, MiX’s Jour­ney Man­age­ment is an elec­tronic risk man­age­ment sys­tem aimed at op­er­a­tors need­ing a sim­ple au­to­mated way to keep driv­ers and pas­sen­gers safe and se­cure.

“MiX Jour­ney Man­age­ment re­places te­dious pa­per-based jour­ney man­age­ment pro­cesses as well as the need for op­er­a­tors to de­velop their own in-house so­lu­tions,” MiX Telem­at­ics’ Aus­tral­asian head of sales and mar­ket­ing Lianna Gi­uf­fre said.

“Fleet op­er­a­tors across a di­verse range of in­dus­tries can man­age their jour­neys from start to fin­ish on­line, in­stead of us­ing out­dated man­ual al­ter­na­tives that are time con­sum­ing and er­ror-prone.”

The new ser­vice in­te­grates seam­lessly with the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ex­ist­ing SafeDrive soft­ware.

FU­TURE FLEET

Fu­ture Fleet pro­vides a to­tal telem­at­ics so­lu­tion al­low­ing op­er­a­tors to lo­cate their fleet in real-time whilst mon­i­tor­ing vi­tal en­gine and ve­hi­cle in­for­ma­tion, driver be­hav­iours and jour­ney in­for­ma­tion.

Tran­sit op­er­a­tors can ac­cess a range of ex­ten­sive re­ports, in­clud­ing RAG driver scor­ing, mea­sured fuel re­port­ing, lo­ca­tion, speed, harsh brak­ing, ig­ni­tion on/off, speed and bus stop ge­ofenc­ing and de­tailed trip or job re­ports eas­ily and con­ve­niently.

The Fu­ture Fleet MiX Telem­at­ics Bus & Coach So­lu­tion uses the RIBAS, an in-cab driv­ing aid that uses sta­tus lights and au­di­ble warn­ing tones to help driv­ers cor­rect their be­hav­iour in real-time. This com­bined with driver scor­ing en­cour­ages driv­ers to drive safely with de­creased speed­ing and harsh brak­ing, ul­ti­mately re­duc­ing ac­ci­dent rates, pro­long­ing ve­hi­cle main­te­nance and pro­vid­ing a safe and com­fort­able ex­pe­ri­ence for pas­sen­gers, it’s claimed.

Fu­ture Fleet also of­fers the MiX Safedrive Driver Train­ing, which gives driv­ers the tools to drive safely, im­prov­ing driv­ing be­hav­iour just weeks af­ter im­plan­ta­tion, it states.

MiX Jour­ney Man­age­ment re­places te­dious pa­per-based jour­ney man­age­ment pro­cesses.

INIT

Since 1983, INIT has evolved from a uni­ver­sity spin-off to the world mar­ket leader for ITS so­lu­tions in pub­lic trans­porta­tion. Every­thing it does is based on its credo to be the most in­no­va­tive, re­li­able and sus­tain­able sup­plier, it says.

Its roots are in Karl­sruhe, Ger­many. But it is at home all over the world – with more than 25 sub­sidiaries and of­fices around the globe, it says.

INIT adds that it is the only world­wide sup­plier that cov­ers the com­plete range of tasks that pub­lic trans­port com­pa­nies face to pro­vide their ser­vice. With its uniquely in­te­grated sys­tem of hard- and soft­ware so­lu­tions, it of­fers max­i­mum as­sis­tance in their com­plex work, it says.

It has done a lot of work with Queen­land’s Tran­sLink and Clarks Lo­gan City across a fleet of 90 buses.

DAIM­LER

Daim­ler FleetBoard was the first sup­plier of telem­at­ics so­lu­tions to of­fer a fleet man­age­ment and driv­ing anal­y­sis app for the Ap­ple iPhone and iPad, it says. Op­er­a­tors can use it to con­trol their fleet of buses or coaches at any time and from any lo­ca­tion. The trip recorder also makes it pos­si­ble to dis­play the most re­cent jour­ney made. The app en­ables op­er­a­tors to mon­i­tor how their ve­hi­cles are be­ing used, their driv­ers’ work­ing hours, the fuel con­sump­tion of their buses and coaches and the driv­ers’ driv­ing style. It is even pos­si­ble to show the sta­tus of doors and load­ing ramps.

To use the FleetBoard app it is nec­es­sary to have a ve­hi­cle equipped with FleetBoard, with a FleetBoard ser­vice con­tract.

Prior to this in Europe, the telem­at­ics sys­tem for buses had been known as Om­ni­plus BusFleet.

Daim­ler FleetBoard GmbH is one of Europe’s lead­ing com­pa­nies in the field of ve­hi­cle telem­at­ics sys­tems. Sys­tems and ser­vices are de­signed for use by fleet man­agers, lo­gis­tics man­agers and driv­ers of truck, bus and van fleets of all makes and span­ning all sec­tors of in­dus­try.

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