Photo: Aaron Marsh/ Fleet Owner
Mack Trucks' Roy Horton and Stu Russoli

Mack adds AI, analytics from SAS to GuardDog Connect

Oct. 31, 2018
Company continues expanding over-the-air updates, Certified Uptime Centers in strategy targeting reduced truck downtime.

AUSTIN, TX. Mack Trucks has added advanced vehicle analytics and AI from SAS to its GuardDog Connect telematics solution, allowing for more effective analysis of data flowing from trucks. "It's another step forward and gives us a deeper understanding of what's going on with equipment" and when maintenance is required, said Roy Horton, director of product strategy at Mack.

The result is more advanced, proactive problem detection, helping diagnose equipment issues better and before they lead to a breakdown. "It helps us to better recognize patterns, maximize uptime, and improve decision-making," Horton noted, announcing the technology at the American Trucking Assns.' Management Conference & Exhibition.

Bill Roberts, director of IoT at SAS, explained that the SAS-enhanced GuardDog Connect system applies analytical techniques including visualization, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to data streaming from trucks to monitor for problems with equipment.

Meanwhile, Mack has continued to develop its Over The Air software updating program, which was rolled out earlier this year. It allows for remote updates of powertrain components and vehicle parameters on trucks with 2017 or newer Mack engines to be done when convenient to the customer, such as when a driver is taking a break at a truck stop.

"Being able to update software without bringing the truck physically into a dealership is a huge time savings, delivering tremendous potential to our customers not only in uptime and productivity but to their bottom line as well," Horton said. "Mack Over The Air is something we're continuing to build on as a foundation for the future."

Also helping keep trucks on the road, Mack has been expanding its network of Mack Certified Uptime Centers. There are now 132 of them across the country, which is nearly double the total from a year ago. The centers feature dedicated "uptime bays" for vehicles that need shorter repairs to help streamline the repair process.

The Certified Uptime Centers have been delivering results, including cutting diagnostic times by 70%, repair times by 21%, and check-in times by more than 40 minutes. They've also been able to boost shop efficiency by 24%, according to Mack.

The OEM has been targeting truck downtime as a major strategy for its vehicles. Unplanned downtime is one of the single largest costs for heavy-duty trucking customers, Mack has calculated, causing more than $2,000 each day a truck is down.

The GuardDog Connect system monitors fault codes that could potentially shut down a truck or lead to an unplanned maintenance visit. When the system detects an issue, it notifies Mack OneCall agents at Mack's 24/7 Uptime Center before a driver would even realize there's a potential problem.

The OneCall team diagnoses the issue to determine the best course of action. If a repair is needed, it is proactively scheduled and any necessary parts are confirmed while the truck remains on the road.

GuardDog Connect is standard on all Mack Anthem, Pinnacle, Granite, LR, and TerraPro models. The system is now in use in more than 76,000 trucks.

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