As manufacturing and old rust-belt jobs disappear across the country, many communities are turning into tech innovation hubs. Cities that had once seen their fortunes lag now look to technology as a way to boost their local economies.
Take Rochester, New York as an example. While this once considered the Flour City before manufacturing took over, for many years it languished as a shadow of its former self. With manufacturing giants like Kodak and Xerox headquartered now nothing more than empty shells, information technology is taking over.
Fleet technologies companies are filling a vacuum across the country as technology changes the way trucking gets done. The roots of many of these beginnings can be found in public/private partnerships.
From Military to Civilian
One fleet technology company was contacted in 2002 when the Office of Naval Research needed to modernize some of its Marine Corps naval vehicles. The military needed advances systems that could electronically diagnose capabilities, malfunctions and more.
Over time, research teams developed failure analysis systems and sensors. A controller area network was created to capture and allow data to be analyzed in real-time. The systems they developed validated the accuracy of sensor data to predict vehicle maintenance
Today, Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) operators have real-time predictive information on such intricate details as how many miles are left before a specific component may fail. Critical parameters are monitored constantly and colored readouts report functionality back to the LAV operator.
As the team worked on the program, they realized these technologies could be cross-adapted from the military to the civilian world. Suddenly this was beyond what could be done for the military, but for what could be done for the supply chain.
Naturally, many of the companies working on these advances systems moved quickly into leveraging the technology for commercial purposes.
One such company uses the predictive fleet maintenance technology not to determine maintenance schedules or component failures, but to maximize fuel efficiency.
Through the use of these advanced systems, fleets are seeing mpg improvements in the area of up to ten percent within the first year of deploying the technology. When combined, savings like these can really add up.
Behind the Technology
Another technological breakthrough came in the Internet of Things (IoT). When combined with powerful computing and analytics systems, computing devices installed on big rigs can capture real-time data and perform advanced fuel economy analysis and projections.
Devices can be mounted on the top of a dashboard, or perhaps under it. Cable connections connect into the tractor’s diagnostics port. A cellular modem is used. The thing is small, maybe the size of a hockey puck. Likely these devices will continue to decrease in size.
As soon as the vehicle is started, a continuous stream of sensor data begins transmission. Everything from drive train to torque curve and other vital parametrics are analyzed real-time by an advanced algorithm.
How It’s Used
There is enormous potential with this technology. From real-time fuel coaching to providing online fuel management and dashboard information, technologies like these can calculate both the real and potential mpg of a vehicle, both while stopped and in motion, as long as it is started.
By using these technologies, fleets can maximize their fuel potential without having to undergo any major hardware upgrades or shifts in fleet technology. Behaviors like speeding, idling and engine control can be continuously monitored and coached to. At the end of a trip, the operator can be given a score.
By allowing truck drivers to be active participants in managing their fuel efficiency numbers, motor carriers harness the power of technology to ensure