Idle Smart is planning to add a new remote control twist to its automated start/stop engine control system next year; a system designed to reduce truck engine idling, keep truck batteries charged, and prevent cold starts.
Via its new system, which runs wirelessly on the Android OS platform via a tablet as well as by desktop, Idle Smart can offer remote management capabilities as well, along with easy-to-understand desktop performance reporting and diagnostics.
Jeff Lynch, Idle Smart’s president, said the company’s new engine control system is in production now and should be commercially available by January 2016.
“We’ve designed this system be very simple, like Google; less is more,” Lynch explained to Fleet Owner. “There’s a lot of data out there so we try to boil it down to the key metrics so a fleet manager can get vital truck stats quickly in 10 minutes and then get on with their day.”
He added that fleet managers tend to “be overwhelmed with everything” and don’t think about idling, battery charging, and colds starts seven days a week – just when they need to.
“Time is perishable in this business,” Lynch noted. "Fleets always are asking for more actionable data and our new platform delivers on that need.”
He explained that Idle Smart’s new desktop reporting and diagnostics shows fleet-specific performance data, while the remote management platform allows fleets to actively and immediately respond to that information to drive immediate improvements.
“Whether it is frequent starts due to a degraded battery, or too much idle time based on the truck's specific route, our new platform allows fleet managers to see issues immediately and instantly make the necessary changes,” Lynch said. “As every fleet knows, just one slight tweak can mean significant and immediate savings,"
With the new Android platform's features, fleets now gain immediate access to results and operational data to assess performance and, as importantly, to make instant system parameter changes – by individual truck or fleet-wide, he said.
“Having the ability to make changes quickly and easily from anywhere at any time saves fleets valuable time and money,” Lynch stressed.
Drivers also get input as well. "Aside from reducing downtime by keeping batteries charged and eliminating cold starts, Idle Smart now gives drivers more control without sacrificing fleet performance," said Lynch.
“For example, fleet managers can give drivers flexibility with temperatures in the cab,” he emphasized. “Fleets can set a temperature parameter so that drivers can have the flexibility to alter temperatures to their preference within plus or minus a few degrees. Overall, drivers have more control and uptime which creates a better overall experience while staying within operational performance guidelines."
The remote control function also allows fleet managers to be more proactive in day-to-day operations – especially for seasonal maintenance needs are concerned.
"There is no need to come off the road to change settings at terminals as the Android system allows fleets to remotely change and set parameters in real-time," Lynch pointed out. "This allows fleets to handle seasonal or geography-specific issues without having to reroute or pull a truck offline."
The target install time for the Idle Smart product is two hours, with pricing depending on volume orders, he added; ranging from $900 to $2,000 per device. “But based on our calculations, fleets achieve a 12 to 18 month payback regardless of the price point on just the fuel savings alone,” Lynch stressed.