The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted LinkeDrive Inc. a patent for the technology behind the Boston-based start-up company’s PedalCoach system.
The patent pertains to the real-time monitoring and coaching of fuel efficiency and driver safety via a mobile device linked to the engine controller and the cloud. Commercial vehicle operations ranging from owner-operators to larger carriers are using the PedalCoach application on the LinkeDrive platform to maximize fuel efficiency, driver safety, and driver retention, according to the company.
LinkeDrive’s now-patented PedalCoach application provides real-time, adaptive feedback for improving fuel efficiency and safety, aimed at delivering the industry’s “first truly fair, driver-centric pay-for-performance program for professional drivers.”
“Our customers told us that the existing tools for managing driver behavior and fuel economy are simply neither enough nor effective,” says Jeff Baer, LinkeDrive’s founder and CEO. “We learned that setting a fair MPG target is next to impossible given the varying equipment, loads, seasons, and lanes. We found that while critical event scorecards and in-cab cameras may improve some safety-related behaviors, they are difficult to correlate to MPG.”
PedalCoach’s proprietary algorithms set a unique fueling target for each driver communicated in a simple red-yellow-green interface. Drivers now have an achievable, fair target while fleet managers have the ability to monitor driving performance as data instantly flows to the cloud for analysis.
Through the technology included in this patent, LinkeDrive has created a game-like interface that allows drivers to earn “points” for achieving optimal behaviors and patterns. Drivers can then be compensated on their ability to meet pre-established goals related to performance and safety.
But the system isn’t meant to an intrusive Big Brother, Baer tells Fleet Owner. Rather, it’s designed to be a “big brother with lower-case ‘b’s, putting his arm around the guy saying, ‘hey, I can help you; we need you; you’re doing a good job.”
LinkeDrive’s PedalCoach can be deployed on smartphones and tablet devices, and can be easily integrated with existing in-cab technology. Installations take under 20-minutes per truck. Fleets can securely access driver and truck analytics to track trends, compare drivers, assess differences in truck models, and evaluate regional and seasonal variances in performance.