The first integrated two-way communications system offered by a heavy-truck manufacturer was announced by Volvo Trucks North America at the annual meeting of the Technology and Maintenance Council. Designed for simple operation and low cost, Volvo Links provides wireless messaging and tracking as a factory installed option and is now available from Volvo dealers on new VN and VHD truck orders or as a retrofit.
Intended for small and medium-size fleets currently operating without wireless communications, the system allows simple messaging between drivers and fleets, as well as remote monitoring of vehicle operating information and GPS tracking. The system’s onboard hardware consists of a remotely mounted transceiver, a hidden GPS receiver and a special windshield wiper control arm that lets drivers send pre-formatted messages or create their own text messages. All messages are displayed on the in-dash Driver Message Center, which has been installed in all Volvo on-highway trucks since 2000.
The management portion of the system is browser based, requiring only a PC and an Internet connection to send and receive messages from drivers, as well as retrieve vehicle operating information off the J1708 data bus and position information from the GPS system. The system is hosted on Volvo servers, which means fleet users will not have to install, maintain or update software.
hardware prices were not available, monthly service charges for Volvo Link will be $14.95 per vehicle plus approximately $0.20 per message. There is also an initial $100 start-up fee and a one-time fee of $45 for each administrator registered to use the system.