- Telematics is a trend-setter for the digitization of transport and logistics
- Medium-term convergence of the systems with the Internet of Things (IoT)
- Optimization potential regarding display and operation
From navigation, route planning, vehicle location, documentation of downtimes, the exchange of messaging between schedulers and drivers, fuel consumption analyses to maintenance management and much more – telematics systems in towing vehicles and trailers have long been indispensable electronic assistants for fleet management. When applied optimally and systematically, they make a major contribution to the economic efficiency of a fleet. “Transparency plays a very decisive role in all of these processes,” emphasized Wolfgang Linsenmaier, member of the Management Board at DEKRA Automobil GmbH, at the second DEKRA Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference in Berlin. This applies not only, for example, over the last mile in the supplier and delivery domain where those people receiving the goods want to be constantly aware of where the goods that they are waiting for are at any given time. “For all telematics applications, it also concerns an increase in efficiency, the prevention of empty runs, and the optimum capacity utilization.” As a result, the logistics processes – as well as the vehicle-relevant information – are increasingly coming into focus.
Prof. Heinz-Leo Dudek, the head of the Industrial Engineering – Technical Management degree program at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg/DHBW) views telematics as the trend-setter in the digitization of transport and logistics. In commercial vehicles, it will converge with the Internet of Things (IoT) in the medium term. “In the further development of the IoT, all loading aids will initially gain their own ‘intelligence.’ And later – except for bulk materials and liquids – so will even the load itself, which will then communicate independently of the vehicle telematics with the consignor and the recipient.” That will definitely have a strong influence on the logistics functions of telematics systems. “The load itself may then know how it is traveling, but not when the vehicle is supposed to reach the recipient.” The IoT systems would therefore somehow have to be combined with the vehicle telematics. Dudek sees potential for optimization in the usability of the telematics systems, specifically in the display and operation. “There is a lack of clarity in the way information is displayed, the personalization for individual users is only rudimentary, and the error robustness also leaves something to be desired.”
Dr. Lutz Scholten, Head of the Tachograph, Telematics, and Services business unit at Continental Automotive, will concentrate on smart digital tachograph 4.0 and its transparency in the cockpit in his talk. The background to this is the entry into effect of EU Regulation 165/2014 in June 2019. From this point onward, a satellite link, an ITS interface for fleet management solutions, and a microwave wireless interface for remote communication with control officers will be provided, among other things. Scholten is certain that “a significantly expanded scope of trustworthy data as well as the transmission via the optional ITS interface of the tachograph will enable more knowledge about the fleet without having to retrofit additional hardware for this purpose.” At the same time, the most stringent and certified requirements for protection against manipulation will enable new business models that can only be implemented with trustworthy data.
The following applies as a matter of principle: The world of transport and logistics is now very fragmented and must therefore be extensively reconnected. The entire supply chain depends on suppliers that themselves, in turn, use subcontractors. For this reason, Søren Danielsen, Head of Strategic Accounts & Business Development at GateHouse Logistics, views the implementation of transparency and data ownership handling as the greatest challenge for digitization. “Strict regulations are necessary on who owns the data that flows between companies and freight forwarders and the right to distribute this data.” Smartphones and apps could be helpful tools for the digitization of the transport sector. “However, due to the fragmentation in the transport world, it is not realistic for freight forwarders to manage a large number of different apps if they drive for a variety of logistics service providers,” explains Danielsen.
Considering the increasing abundance of suppliers around Telematics 4.0, Jens Zeller, Managing Director of idem telematics, also addressed questions of transparency in the transport process in particular in his presentation. “In the meantime, there are corresponding telematics solutions for nearly every component in the towing vehicle and in the trailer that bring information from the entire vehicle to exactly where it needs to be: To the driver and to the haulage company.” However, in his view, the problem lies in the fact that the installed telematics systems for the individual vehicle components from different suppliers are often incompatible with each other. “To then merge the collected mass of information on aspects such as position, speed, mileage, driving times, tire pressure, brake lining wear, or door activities takes a long time and frequently does not deliver the desired result in the end,” said Zeller. In light of this, he recommended one-stop solutions that work independently of the manufacturers and make heterogeneous vehicle fleets manageable in a uniform way in a joint system.