HOUSTON. It'll be a simpler matter to order a new truck from Peterbilt Motors Co. and roll in a PeopleNet fleet management system. The truck maker announced that later this year, fleets will be able to order the PeopleNet app installed at the factory on Peterbilt's SmartNav display and infotainment system.
Peterbilt brought one of its new 579 UltraLoft trucks here to the Trimble in.sight user conference with the PeopleNet app fully integrated into the in-dash system. It looks just like it does on a PeopleNet in-cab tablet, only without the need for an additional piece of hardware to install to run it.
Drivers can also use the PeopleNet/Trimble system for their electronic logging device (ELD), provided they also have another mobile device to run the software, since ELDs are required to be able to be handed out of the truck to an enforcement officer.
Frank Schneck, a division engineering manager at Peterbilt, demonstrated the app, swiping through screens to get to the PeopleNet icon just like on a smartphone. "Now you don't have wires hanging out of the dash to connect to another device or a mount for another display," he said.
"It's just a more seamless integration, and it's coming from the factory," Schneck added. "Normally with a pre-wire [for a PeopleNet in-cab terminal or tablet], that still has to be plugged in and installed after the fact. We've been working on this for a while."
The PeopleNet app also includes navigation, which can streamline things a bit further and replace the navigation the Peterbilt SmartNav system normally runs. The PeopleNet software runs and updated via the truck's Ethernet connection.
Schneck noted that Peterbilt is now piloting the integrated PeopleNet app with several customers, and the reaction has been very enthusiastic. "Their other drivers are trying to figure out how quickly we can get it into their trucks," he quipped. Peterbilt said the option will be available to order from the factory in November.
"It's more driver-friendly. Instead of having to look at a display that's over there, you can get all the information and functionality with the in-dash display," Schneck pointed out.
Peterbilt also said the updated SmartNav system will feature the Peterbilt TruckCare Roadside Assistance app, which connects to the driver's phone via Bluetooth. The application can directly dial the Peterbilt TruckCare call center for 24/7 roadside assistance.
"With the incorporation of these systems, Peterbilt customers now have a fully integrated business management solution with SmartNav. Peterbilt's goal is to give customers and drivers the tools they need to complete their jobs in the most user-friendly way possible," said Kim Lawton, Peterbilt's technology marketing manager.