Fleet Data and Telematics: Learn These Terms

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Release date: 11/7/2019

Telematics continues to evolve and improve along with overall fleet expertise. Expect to hear these terms applied to fleet data and telematics in the coming year.

HOS or hours of service: Already an important metric, Marco Della Torre, Chief Technical Officer for Derive Systems, sees it increasing “around driver safety.” It’s already consistently understood for fuel savings but will expand to include the amount of time a driver is behind the wheel, Della Torre believes.

“People are starting to acknowledge that the operational key performance indicators are directly a safety metric.”

No matter how many company policies are drafted to deal with smartphone and tablet use behind the wheel, accidents still occur. Carl Leitz, Senior Director of Inside Sales for NexTraq, predicts more discussion around technology that disables certain features from the smartphone, such as his company’s MobileBlock system. “It prevents the driver from texting, emailing, or playing games while they’re behind the wheel,” he said.

Active vehicle management: Della Torre believes that more fleets will begin to customize the vehicle’s software to “match the mission of the fleet.” That may mean setting a preferred speed limit or fuel utilization patterns.

“Rather than taking the drivers into the classroom, it is simply managing the vehicle. We’re going to make it never go above a certain speed.”

Leitz calls it “helicopter fleet management: The technology is allowing the fleet manager to get into the vehicle more than ever before.” It is in some ways an extension of dashcams that allow the fleet professional to see inside the vehicle at any given moment. “There has to be a balance in how you’re doing it,” Leitz said.

ECU or engine control unit: Della Torre says software will eventually override some of the vehicle’s systems, allowing the fleet to limit drivers to less than 90 miles per hour, for instance. “The software will always impose that restriction,” Della Torre said.

PID or parameter ID: The data signal transmitted from each vehicle and accessed by the ODB all transmits different information, varying by manufacturer or vehicle model. Della Torre believes PID (pronounced as one word, rhyming with hid) will become an important differentiator in the selection process. “You may be looking for information that is not available on that vehicle. It will be part of the consideration. Not just, ‘Can I outfit it with racks?’ but also ‘What data is available?’”

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