Telematics and the Era of Connectivity

Desiree Michels

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This month’s focus is on telematics and communication, both of which have revolutionised the haulage industry. Long gone are the days when trucks left the haulage yard and weren’t heard from again until the cargo was delivered. Every step of the delivery process can now be tracked remotely through a telematics system through which individuals, companies and freight exchange platforms can be coordinated.

Telematics: How It Works

There are three key advantages to telematics:

  • tracking locations,
  • monitoring a vehicle’s health
  • increasing communication

Put simply, these systems pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle, indicating its position on a screen and specifying the direction in which it is headed and how far away it is from the delivery point. Sensors on the truck also monitor its health, even if it is miles away from base. As I’m sure you know, mobile phones and hands-free systems now allow drivers to be contacted. Telematics enable trucks to communicate with base and with each other as they complete each assignment.

New European Regulations

A set of European regulations, which are to be implemented within the next 15 years, will enforce standards of connectivity across Europe. Now, you’re probably wondering what these rules entail and how they might affect you. Let me explain.

  • Standardised Tachographs

The latest standardised digital tachographs will allow enforcement officers to communicate with trucks across Europe. Essentially, this means that officials can detect any suspicious driving by analysing the information provided by the tachograph. They can then contact an enforcement team and have them pull over the truck to investigate.

This is great news for you. You no longer run the risk of falling behind schedule because of random spot checks. They’ll only stop vehicles which warrant suspicion.

  • Onboard Sensors

These regulations are also trying to further road safety. New onboard sensors, which will monitor a vehicle’s weight and alert the authorities if the limit is exceeded, are to be fitted by May 27th 2021. Alternatively, weight pads, which would react if driven over by an overloaded truck, will be inserted within the road surface. Again, this will save compliant drivers from being delayed by spot checking.

Advantages of European Regulations

These rules will enhance the safety, efficiency and operational standards in the following ways:

  • Operators can analyse any infringements that may have been committed
  • Authorities can better ensure compliance
  • Agencies will have remote access to all records of hauliers
  • Vehicles (those that are compliant with these regulations) are much less likely to be stopped and delayed

The European Truck Platooning Challenge

To finish off, here’s a quick anecdote about a fun use of telematics and communications: the Truck Platooning Challenge. Basically, platooning involves a group of trucks which drive very closely behind one another and communicate wirelessly. The idea is that they match each other’s speed and braking patterns. It is best done on motorways, with long junctions far apart, so that they can stay as a group.

Trust me when I say that this is a great idea. Staying close together regulates speed which reduces fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and the aerodynamic drag. Driving becomes more efficient, significantly diminishing the group’s footprint.

These European initiatives will make us all even equipped to make your delivery business reach its maximum efficiency.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their online freight exchange, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching loads and with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.


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