‘True connectivity’ a key feature of new Cascadia

Sept. 1, 2016
Detroit Connect Analytics offers operational insights to fleet customers

COLORADO SPRINGS. Along with all of the hardware innovations designed to position the new Freightliner Cascadia as the best fleet truck on the market, a new connectivity platform will provide customers with important insights about their vehicles and help them make critical business decisions.  

Detroit Connect Analytics, introduced Thursday, is part of the Detroit Connect suite of connected vehicle services and accessible via a dedicated section of the new Detroit Connect portal, Daimler Trucks North America representatives explained in a media briefing here.

Matt Pfaffenbach

“There is a very noticeable tension between technology as it exists today and where it can possibly go tomorrow,” said Matt Pfaffenbach, DTNA director, connectivity, who likened the evolution of vehicle connectivity to the early days of the graphical user interface in personal computers, where a computer mouse went unused until the applications were available to take full advantage. “There’s a tremendous potential here, and we can see a certain direction as to where connectivity goes—but our customers have needs today. So how do we balance that? How do we drive toward towards a certain direction, yet deliver something that the customer needs?”

Whereas the new Cascadia is designed around the drivers needs in the cab, connectivity is a tool for other key members of the fleet: executives, operations, safety, and maintenance.

“We want to provide them a trusted source of data,” Pfaffenbach said. “With the new Cascadia, I’d like to say ‘Welcome to true connectivity.’ It is both the hardware in the truck as well as the user experience in the back office.”

With five years of service included in with every new Cascadia, Analytics provides users with on-demand, automated fuel efficiency and safety analysis and reports featuring key insights from Detroit and Daimler Trucks North America engineers.  Analytics uses that expertise to quickly identify behaviors, trends, root causes and key insights on fuel consumption and safety performance data across the fleet. 

The data provides easy-to-read analysis and recommendations for improving vehicle and fleet performance, including the identification of “outliers,” or vehicles whose performance doesn’t match up with similar vehicles in the fleet. Fleet managers can view the data for a single trip, single vehicle or their entire fleet over different periods of time.

Fuel efficiency performance data analyzed includes engine speed, idle time, cruise control, engine power, integrated powertrain performance and driver interaction. The safety data is collected from all available safety systems, including the Detroit Assurance suite of safety systems, and includes collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, distance violations and speed violations.

Pfaffenbach characterized the data delivery method of the original Virtual Technician as “a good first step, but somewhat cumbersome.”

 “As you can imagine, with a large fleet those email messages going back and forth [from the Detroit Customer Support Center] become a very difficult means of communication. With the new Detroit Connect portal, we put the most critical information directly in front of the customer,” he said. “Customers can spend less time crunching data and more time optimizing vehicle performance. The ability to unlock and understand what’s happening with the truck and use that knowledge to make adjustments is a significant time and performance advantage.”

Detroit Connect Analytics will be included within different service option packages with the new Cascadia that will deliver the fuel efficiency features only or both fuel efficiency and safety features.  Detroit Connect Analytics will be available for use with the new Cascadia beginning Q1 2017. It will be available with other Freightliner and Western Star models later in 2017.

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About the Author

Kevin Jones 1 | Editor

Kevin Jones has an odd fascination with the supply chain. As editor of American Trucker, he focuses on the critical role owner-ops and small fleets play in the economy, locally and globally. And he likes big trucks.

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