The last thing a truck driver wants is to get behind due to unforeseen truck maintenance. You know, the dreaded “check engine” light of death—–ranging from anything simple needing an oil change… to something far more devastating. From there you have two choices (neither one a good choice, either): 1. Keep going and just hope and pray you don’t end up breaking down. Or, 2. Take it to get looked at and not be able to drive for who knows how long. Either way, these things happen and either way you are at risk of falling behind on your delivery schedule.
The solution to this problem? Well actually, much like most other modern problems– the internet may actually be the next big step in the trucking industry. New internet-connected engines are now in the works (…and possibly has already hit a highway near you.)
As early as 2013, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America, Daimer Trucks (North America), released something called Virtual Technician. According to CIO Dieter Haban, “the innovation combines telematics, mobility, central mission control, big data analytics, and a seamless process from the truck to the driver, fleet manager, and ultimately to an authorized service outlet.”
….So, what does that mean in layman’s terms? Well basically, the Daimer Trucks North America company has built a service to perpetually record performance data and find solutions. That information gets directly sent to their Detroit Diesel Customer Support Center so that in the event of an issue, a team of technicians are able to take a look at it remotely. Their input can save drivers energy and time, solving their problems and scheduling appointments for repairs that will conveniently fit the needs of the trucker. For example, if a crucial repair needs to be made, one of their customer support team members may contact you saying something along the lines of, “we have a service area scheduled and ready to go for you to bring it in, whatever miles away, you should make it in this much time, etc.”
This revolutionary new way of solving mechanical problems for commercial drivers is awesome because it saves all that time it traditionally ate up waiting for inspection, part ordering, repair times, etc. But, for Daimer Trucks North America, they’re introducing an absolute cash cow for transportation workers. Creating a sense of security is something that drivers will definitely be willing to pay for. Owner-operators may especially be interested in having a certain sense of protection from the old-school truck breakdown drama.
So far over 100,000 trucks have started using the Virtual Technician—and of those, 98% reported that they were satisfied with their services. Daimer Trucks North America manufactures such as Freightliner, Thomas Built, Detroit Diesel, and Western Star at over 1,300 dealerships. Internet-connected engines may just be the way to know when and where to get maintenance. The idea is pretty brilliant. (I wish I would have thought of it myself!)
So what do you think? As a truck driver, would you pay to have a system like Virtual Technician? When you buyyour next truck—it might be something to consider!