Connected trucks and trailers through telematics – part 2

Connected trucks and trailers through telematics – part 2

There continue to be fascinating innovations in telematics. The “connected trailer” is no longer unusual as more trailer manufacturers fit telematics solutions to their trailers.

Innovations including video

Several recent innovations are for in-cab video cameras linked to the telematics systems. Drivers falling asleep at the wheel is a major issue.  For example, UK-based vehicle CCTV developer SmartWitness has created a dashboard-based system that utilises facial recognition software to identify when a driver’s eyes have turned away from the road for more than three seconds.  When this happens, the system emits an audible alert to the driver and an alert to the fleet manager via the fleet management system. The system can also pick up on when the driver is using his or her mobile phone or is distracted in other ways from the road. The company also supplies a solution capable of monitoring undesirable driving behaviour such as tailgating or last second braking.  This data can then be used constructively to train drivers to improve their safe driving skills. (source: HGVUK)


Applicable across the EU from June 2019, all new commercial vehicles will be obliged to be equipped with a new 4thgeneration smart tachograph. Among the numerous functions of the new tachographs will be the ability of police officers on the side of the road to remotely access tachograph data as trucks drive past, thereby reducing the number of roadside inspections. The smart tachograph will use GPS to automatically register the driver’s location in all countries and enable the fleet manager to track their drivers’ locations in real-time. Tachograph data on driver’s working hours can be integrated into any telematics systems which will reduce the administration time dedicated to recording and managing drivers’ hours.   (source: UKHaulier)

Transatlantic truck tracking

Keeping track of road freight moving across multiple geographies is a headache for international shippers including multinational retailers. It is difficult for them to gain visibility of their global transport capacity. A major issue is that they need to use different telematics systems for road transport companies in each geography. A solution may now be at hand. Two data sharing services, one in the US, project 44 and another in Europe, GateHouse have partnered to give their customers the opportunity to track 175,000 multimodal carriers of which approximately half are in the USA and half in Europe by giving them one single access point to the carriers’ telematics systems. (source: JOC)

Trailers and telematics

In addition to lowering their cost of trailer ownership and increasing their efficiency, connected trailers through telematics can benefit fleets in several ways:

  • Prevention of cargo theft– Information fed from sensors on the trailer via telematics to the fleet manager can provide real-time tracking of the trailer’s location and, thanks to geo-fencing technology, alerts when the trailer doors are opened or closed in an unexpected location. This enables fleet managers to respond quickly through remote access to any attempts at theft and, if necessary, bring in law enforcement officers.
  • Trailer maintenance– A connected trailer can feed information back to the fleet manager on the condition of specific mechanical components on the trailer including tyres, brakes, suspension and prompt him or her to bring the trailer back to a workshop for preventative maintenance before costly unexpected roadside breakdown occurs. This maximises trailer uptime and reduces cost of ownership.
  • Food and pharmaceuticals safe transport– Telematics plays a critical role in cold chain management. It enables the fleet manager to remotely control factors in the reefer trailer such as temperatures, humidity, the status of the doors and the condition of the items being transported to ensure the safe and regulation-compliant delivery of food and pharmaceuticals. (source:FleetOwner)
  • Administration–Telematics generate reports on trailers to help fleet managers maximise fleet utilisation, reduce detention time and empty miles. This data decreases fleet manager administration time and increases efficiency.

Trailer manufacturers and telematics

A few examples:

  • Krone has embraced telematics for the connected trailer. It offers various telematics solutions. One monitors the physical and mechanical conditions of the trailer. A space detection system views and helps manage the cargo capacity in the trailer. Another telematics solution connects the trailer to freight exchanges. (source:HGVUK)

At Solutrans 2017, several trailer manufacturers highlighted their telematics credentials:

  • Lamberet, a French reefer trailer specialist, launched a telematics pack Smart & Safe which it developed with partner Novacom for clients purchasing its Frigomatics semi-trailer reefer range. It permits the fleet manager and driver to control remotely trailer, reefer and mechanical functions in real-time using a terminal-, smartphone- or tablet-based application.
  • Schmitz Cargobull presented a telematics solution called TrailerConnect which gives similar functionality to Lamberet’s.
  • Chereau, another French reefer trailer manufacturer, has taken a different approach. It focuses on facilitating trailer connectivity. Chereau has decided not to build a proprietary telematic solution. It prefers to ensure the easy integration of telematics from different telematics providers onto its trailers. It demonstrated this ability at Solutrans 2017 using Trakopolis Chereau is also working with the major European truck manufacturers to integrate their telematics into its semi-trailers. (source: TransportInfo)

TIP trailer rental and telematics

TIP supplies trailers on a rental and lease basis in many forms as well as light commercial vehicles and trucks.  TIP Trailer Services has built up considerable expertise in supplying and fitting telematic solutions from all major telematics providers onto trailers and trucks. For further information on flexible trailer rental with TIP Trailer Services and the telematics solutions it can provide, please contact TIP using this form.


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Connected trucks and trailers through telematics – part 1

Connected trucks and trailers through telematics – part 1

Connected trucks and trailers through telematics are on the rise in Europe. Connected trucks are here to stay and offer myriad benefits to fleet operators.

Telematics growth

Industry analysts Technavio forecast that the commercial vehicle telematics market in Europe will show a compound annual growth rate of nearly 14% between 2018 and 2022. They say that the top emerging trend in the “connected trucks” space is the use of telematics by fleets for truck platooning.  A truck platoon is a convoy of two or more trucks, which follow one another closely behind, thanks to connectivity technology and automated driving assistance systems which requires little or no intervention from drivers.

Truck telematics benefits

According to TomTom Telematics, the industry’s perception of the power of telematics is too centred around road transport fleets using it to monitor their drivers on the road. TomTom Telematics emphasize that the advantages of telematics to fleet operators go beyond this. In addition, telematics generates significant data about drivers and vehicles which positively affect the total cost of ownership of your fleet.

These advantages include:

  • Compliance– Telematics can facilitate the provision of information for fleet managers’ compliance teams needing to demonstrate that their fleet has been complying with government compliance standards. This might include providing evidence for inspection or audit of drivers’ hours compliance.
  • Finance– Telematics can support the finance department in improving the bottom line. It can produce accurate mileage reports for tax claims and minimise vehicle maintenance costs and downtime. It can also improve driver behaviour leading to fewer accidents, better fuel consumption and longer lasting truck and trailer assets.
  • Operations– Vehicle inspections carried out through telematics can alert management to possible maintenance and repairs.
  • Sales– Telematics is a useful tool for business development and sales. Connected trucks and trailers enable you to track vehicles as they deliver to your key accounts and plan for fulfilling new business opportunities. (source: The Director)

Legal obligation to fit telematics?

The installation of telematics on a truck or trailer is voluntary. However, this could change. The UK’s Fleet Industry News published a news story about a fatal bus crash in Coventry in October 2015, in which two pedestrians died. The 80-year-old Midland Red Southbus driver had mistaken the accelerator for the brake before the accident. He had previously received eight warning letters about the poor standard of his driving after a telematics system fitted to his vehicle had highlighted his unsafe driver behaviour. He had also been a driver in four other accidents over the past three years. However, he had not attended company meetings to address issues over his driving because Midland Red South wanted him on the road instead.

Fatal bus crash ‘may prompt compulsory telematics law

In the article, Paul Loughlin, a solicitor at law firm Stephensons noted that the Traffic Commissioner, the UK government organisation responsible for licencing and regulating buses and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) does not oblige fleet operators to install telematics but that this situation might change.

Mr. Loughlin said, “As in this case, operators can be prosecuted for ignoring clear and indisputable issues relating to health and safety deficiencies highlighted by telematics systems.”

“Regulatory action might also come before the Traffic Commissioner as a result.”

Pleased with telematics

Elis, formerly known as Berendsen, is the largest operator of linen, textile and well-being services in Europe. By adopting telematics integrated with video surveillance systems, Elis claims to have improved its fuel efficiency by 13% and increased the safety of its 750-strong fleet of HGVs and light commercial vehicles. (source: Landmobile)

As part of an initiative to improve safety, BOC, the UK’s biggest supplier of industrial and medical gases will shortly fit telematics systems on its entire bulk tractor and trailer fleet.  Its initial six-month trial on 10 BOC assets helped enhance safety, minimised vehicle breakdowns and downtime. The telematics system provides an on-board datalink, a tyre pressure monitoring system, constant geolocation, and electronic braking system data analysis. (source: Gasworld)

TIP and telematics

In 2018, TIP Trailer Services is celebrating its 50thyear in trailer rentals and servicing. Our commitment to industry innovation and new technology has been instrumental to our success. We have been involved in telematics for trailers and trucks since the infancy of this technology. TIP Trailer Services has built up considerable expertise in supplying and fitting telematic solutions from all major telematics providers onto trailers and trucks.

TIP trailer rental options

TIP supplies trailers on a rental or lease basis in many forms including semi-trailer, flatbed, curtainsiders, box trailers, tankers, reefers, tipping powder, non-tipping, containers, moving/walking floor, waste, and chemical trailers as well as light commercial vehicles and trucks.

Trust us with your trailer maintenance and repair

As part of trailer rental contracts, TIP Trailer Services includes maintenance and repair management services. For further information on flexible trailer rental with TIP Trailer Services and the telematics solutions it can provide, please contact us using this form.

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Smarter trucks, smarter trailers through telematics

Smarter trucks, smarter trailers through telematics

The increasing sophistication of telematics technology and its role in reducing fleet management costs have led to it slowly becoming standard equipment in new trucks and trailers in Europe.

What is telematics?

Truck or vehicle telematics “is based on the idea of gathering, storing, and transmitting information about the vehicle for tracking purposes. This information can be used to analyse vehicle performance, vehicle conditions, driver performance, and more.” [source: Carmafleet]

This data is relayed from sensors on key mechanical components on trucks and trailers back to drivers and fleet managers at base using satellite/GPS technology.

The fleet manager can take advantage of telematics for his or her fleet in various ways including:

  • Obtaining information about mechanical parts and deciding when to maintain or repair them to avoid unexpected downtime. For example, trucks and trailers fitted with Tire Pressure Monitor Systems will alert the fleet manager to the need for increasing tyre pressures to ensure maximum fuel economy and safety. Thanks to telematics, fleet managers can detect a decrease in reefer temperature remotely and take action to minimise any damage to the food being transported.

Some of the more recent telematics systems will provide fleet managers with real-time predictive maintenance information enabling them to replace components at the optimum time before they fully wear out.

  • Finding the best routes for delivery that will reduce the journey time and be the most fuel efficient.
  • Reducing the cost of truck and trailer ownership in various areas including maintenance and repair, fuel and tyre consumption.
  • Monitoring dangerous driving habits and implementing measures such as additional driver training to increase safety.
  • Tracking the locations of drivers, trailers and their contents including the weight to mitigate against cargo theft.
  • Recognising when trailers are lying idle, to improve trailer allocation, loading turnaround times and scheduling and, in some instances, to use as evidence to eliminate under-used trailers.
  • Linking the information to fleet management systems to generate management reports, help with driver and trailer allocation and scheduling and, in some cases, to connect with online freight exchange platforms.

In future, telematics will also form an important part of the connectivity required for platooning.


Increasing adoption

In February 2018, Techavio market research analysts predicted that the commercial vehicle telematics market in Europe will grow at a compound annual growth rate of close to 14% from 2018 to 2022. In 2017, the Large Commercial Vehicle segment accounted for 83% of sales in the European market. [source: Technavio]


Telematics and truck manufacturers

The Big Seven European Truck manufacturers are recognising the significance of telematics technology for their customers and are starting to provide it either as standard integrated equipment in new trucks or at least as an option. Many telematics solutions can be retrofitted to older models and/or integrated with the telematics solutions of other vendors.

For more information on their telematics and fleet management systems, please click on the truck manufacturer’s name: DAF, Iveco, MAN through RIO developed by their parent company Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz,  RenaultScania, and Volvo.


Telematics and trailers

Anecdotally, there appears to be an increase in adoption of telematics for trailers. Dennis Skaradzinski, chief engineer at Great Dane Trailers told in March 2018 that “Up to this point, trailers have been pretty dumb… Today, trailers are becoming smart.”

“Telematics platforms provide valuable information on trailers’ past and upcoming maintenance and stops throughout the day, help verify deliveries, and can even measure the temperature in refrigerated trailers,” said Jenny Shiner, marketing communications manager at GPS Insight [source: Fleet Equipment Magazine]

Managing trailer security risks is an important consideration. Many drivers carry high-value cargo. One option is to install a Truck ID which identifies remotely that the right truck is towing the right trailer. Another option is to install locks and sensors that trigger alarms remotely when trailer doors are opened or goods are moved unexpectedly.

With some solutions, you can pre-programme your trailer doors so that they can only be opened in pre-defined locations at pre-defined times. If your trailer travels in an unscheduled way, an alert is sent to the base. Combined with the constant tracking information that you receive about a trailer’s location, you can then take appropriate action and, if necessary, contact local law enforcement agencies to help recover it.


TIP and telematics

TIP Trailer Services is celebrating its 50thanniversary in the trailer services business. It can help you install and operate telematics solutions for trailers and trucks from a range of manufacturers.

To resolve all maintenance and repair issues that your telematics solutions identify, TIP is on-hand to provide you with trailer maintenance and repair services on a “Pay as You Go,” “Preventative” and “Predictive” basis. We have a network of over 70 workshops across 16 countries providing round the clock support, 365 days per year.

For more information on how TIP can assist you, please contact TIP Trailer Services using this form.

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