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Telematics and Telematics Systems
Telematics stems from combination of telecommunications and informatics, and by joining these two sciences telematics was made. Telematics includes the internet, Telecommunications includes phone lines, cables etc. Informatics which are computer systems are both used to make telematics what they are today. It is most used to be applied to vehicle telematics where the system can give location information to company applications. (Connect, 2018)
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Telematics — The early days
Telematics developed alongside the internet. As computers changed over the years and became smaller and more in size the need for easy way to exchange data grew. This is where telecommunication technology started to connect computers ad telematics. Computer processors have become smaller and global while telecommunications have become more widespread around the world regardless of location as its GPS units that can be on-board computers on vehicles and can be located everywhere. (Connect, 2018)
Telematics — Today
Now a day there is no limit to what telematics on what in can do in the transport industry. They are making new ways to use the location based information and it is being developed constantly. Modern day fleets are utilising the fleet management software to help coordinate their fleets that they manage. These modern day systems can keep recordings of location of the vehicle, the fuel consumption as well as the speed of vehicles all from a central dashboard. Fleet manager’s fleet, checking the overall health, profitability and productivity of the fleet.
Telematics — the future
Vehicle telematics is poised to keeping growing as computer applications are made to take advantage of growing GPS units and widespread use of tablets, mobiles. future of telematics will depend largely on the needs of fleet owners who continuously look at ways to reduce cost and to max productivity and profitability. Vehicle manufactures are highly likely to capitalise from this as they will install OEM telematics solutions as smarts cars are being developed to get better results in customer satisfaction. (Connect, 2018)
Key Devices used in Telematics
Some different applications of a vehicle telematics system include:
Vehicle tracking – which uses GPS satellites, GPRS networks and cloud settings.
Trailer Tracking – long haul fleets use GPS trackers to articulated trailers to make sure trailers don’t go missing as well as guide drivers on where trailers are to be picked up.
Insurance risk assessment – Insurance companies use telematics to monitor driver behaviour which allows them to get a more accurate risk assessment in the case of an accident.
Why Route Planning is Important for Your Business
All journeys need to include route planning. The transport managers office are required to create route plans so that they can identify possible hazards along the route as well as provide guide dance of each hazard identified. These route plans would also include details of emergency service supports along the route as well as safe rest areas. A preferred route must be planned as well to avoid delays as there is no need to be taking articulated trucks down small country roads if there is a safer alternative route. It is also important to identify routes/areas that should not be travelled to avoid delays that could affect customer satisfaction. Another aspect to be taken into account when doing route planning is checking what drivers shifts start and finish at and what trucks are available at what times.
Benefits of Route Planning:
Cuts Transportation Costs – by planning out the best routes to be taken when calling to numerous customers you are saving time and fuel effectively as this avoids backtracking. This means drivers are spending less time driving which resources to less wear and tear to the vehicle and reduces the fuel being used.
Improves Customer Service – in 2015 a consumer report showed 96% of customers would work again with a retailer following a positive delivery experience. With high quality planning businesses and meet tight scheduling plans so no customers are left out of the frame. Better response times and fast deliveries not only increase productivity but also increase more appealing delivery services which will guarantee customers to come back again.
Increases Productivity – Route planner solutions helps organise your stops based on location while also guiding your business to reach destinations with time in spare, as well as stop backtracking from occurring. Usually works with going to destinations in clock wise or anti clockwise.
What are RFID’s?
RFID (radio frequency identification) is a wireless communication which includes the use of electrostatic coupling or electromagnetic in a radio frequency portion and can uniquely identify a person, animal or object. RFID use a unique serial/identification number which can be read write or read only meaning that data can be data overwritten or added by a reader. Transport companies use RFID’s to keep track of products that leave the warehouse and to that they have landed at the destination to the customer. When products are being loaded and unloaded off of trucks the RFID can scan what is coming in and going out. This cuts down on losing products or products been robbed from warehouse to destination. It is a very fast and effective way to run business.
Types of RFID tags
There are two main types of RFID’s tags:
Active RFID’s – are powered by battery and are continuously broadcast their own signal. They are commonly used for beacons and accurately track real time locations of assets or high speed environments such as tolling. They offer a long read range compare to passive tags and are a lot more expensive to buy.
Passive RFID’s – are powered by no internal power source and are powered by electromagnetic energy that is transmitted from the RFID reader. There type of RFID’s are used for supply chain management, file tracking and smart labels. The lower price tag compare to active RFID’s make using passive RFID is more economical for the transport industry.
Benefits of RFID
Reduces warehouse and labor costs – as it replaces barcodes which reduces the labor process of tracking cases, pallets and products. It also brings down service charges of shelf inventory and stock management. There unique tags can help make the system error free compare to barcode system.
Eliminates losses – as its accuracy prevents products going missing, write down and losses. They minimize inventory errors which means records provided are factual.
Improves planning and forecasting – this systems reduces losses and fraud as well as missing inventory. It improves visibility which improves capabilities to keep track of what changes are made.
Reduces losses and theft – goods are tracked with pin point accuracy which eliminates products being robbed at any stage of the process from being in the manufactures to being sold in store.
What is a Barcode?
A barcode is a rectangle or square image with various black and parallel lines running through it with white spaces. All the black lines are various widths, which resemble a number and are read by a scanner. Barcodes are on different products as a mean of quick identification and are used in retail stores to scan and sell products. In the transport industry, they’re used in warehouses to track inventory. By using this method, a record can be kept of products that are leaving the warehouse and products that are being sold. This gives an indication of what is been sold and what is not.
Types of Barcodes
There are two general types of barcodes: 1-dimensional (1D) and 2-dimensional (2D).
1D barcodes – represent data by varying the widths and spacing’s between parallel lines. These one-dimensional barcodes are traditional and well recognised in the industry as UPCs and EAN codes they give identification on product type and the colour. This type of barcode isn’t as expensive as the 2D barcode but doesn’t have as much memory per unit as it.
2D barcodes –represent data using two dimensional shapes or symbols. They include newer barcodes types such QR code and PRF417 and include more information on quantity as they can hold more per unit but are more expensive in price compare to the 1d barcodes. Smart phones and other image scanners read these 2D barcodes but linear barcode scanners cannot.
RFID vs. barcodes
RFID’s are being more commonly used instead of barcodes as it has greater aspects for instance it can identify animals, products and people without a direct line of sight. It can tag thousands of items and can scan anywhere within a couple of feet away depending on the type of RFID reader or tag. Read time for them is 100 of a millisecond.
Barcodes need a direct line of sight to be read and need to be closer to use than a RFID tag. Compare to a RFID tag a barcode takes up to ½ a second or more per tag. Barcodes are printed on the outside of object and cannot be read write. RFID cost more to print then a barcode but barcodes can’t be used as much as they have a wear and tear aspect.
What are Tachographs used for?
The tachograph is a device used by transport companies that keeps records of the driver’s hours, breaks and rest periods. It was brought in to aim at helping to enforce the rules on driving times and rest periods and to monitor drivers to ensure that fatigue did not occur for road safety was kept and to give fair competition between companies. There are two types of tachographs, the original tachograph was the analogue tachograph, which was replaced in 2006 to give transport companies a more accurate record of the vehicle and drivers.
This device records all the vehicle’s activities, for example distance, speed and driving times and rest periods of the driver. The system includes a printer for use on road side inspections and the driver has a card incorporating a microchip, which the driver must insert into the tachograph when taking control of the vehicle. This personal driver card ensures that inspections remain simple.
Digital Tachograph driver card
In 2006 digital tachographs were installed into all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and were brought in as this method gave more accurate recordings then analogue tachograph. Digital tachograph driver cards are required for all truck and bus drivers. The driver card is generally the same size as a credit card and contains a microchip. It stores all data required by the EU Drivers’ Hours regulations including rest times and break times. Important guidelines that must be met when holding a driver’s card are:
Valid for 5 years to an individual driver,
Stores information for 28 days,
Can only be used by the driver authorised to use it,
May be suspended or withdrawn by an enforcement officer if the card has been falsified, if the person using the card is not the legal holder of the card, or if the card has been obtained by false declaration or forged documents,
Must be made available to enforcement officers on request.
How to use a digital tachograph driver card?
When starting work with the vehicle for example loading the vehicle the driver must insert his drivers card into the slot provided in the tachograph unit. If the vehicle is doubled manned, then both drivers must slot in their driver’s cards into the tachograph unit. When doing the manual entry of the data questions will occur of the drivers previous activates that day for example were they driving another vehicle.
Analogue tachographs record driver’s information using wax coated chart or tachographs. Keeps records of your distance travelled, speed as well as work activity. There is also a manual entry which drivers can use to log in their rest periods, daily working period. Activities should be recorded on analogue tachograph fitted in the vehicle.
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Before the vehicles are being started to be used the company card is to be used to lock in data which protects the data will be recorded in your vehicles tachograph unit. if the data is not locked in then all unprotected data is open for all to download. By using your company card properly, you are preventing competitors from getting at the data and you are obeying the Data Protections Laws that are laid out by the government.
The drivers card must be downloaded every 21 days. The transport manager is in charge of ensuring that the data is being downloaded from the driver’s digital tachograph. If a driver is self-employed then it is up to himself to make sure that the data is downloaded everyone 21 days as it is the rules of the law. the data must be kept in the office base of the company for up to a year in the case of inspection by enforcement officers.
Why is camera security used?
There has been increase in surveillance cameras being used in the transport industry in the last few years as its seems that surveillance cameras improve the safety and security of the people using it. saving companies money in the case of law suits being put against them in the case of accidents occurring. There are both interior type cameras and exterior cameras installed in vehicles these days. The exterior cameras are the more common used cameras as they are largely used to monitor vehicle operations and provide video evidence in the event of an accident. Interior cameras are more used for the personal safety of the driver or passengers and provide useful information to fight against crime that may occur.
How the technology was improved over time?
Video offloading has been a big problem in the industry as there is so many vehicles coming in and out of the depot everyday this is very had for companies to manage recorded videos is not as easy challenge. A reason for this slow process is that the DVRS are equipped with standard 802.11 WIFI which isn’t of good enough quality for this process. This process is a slow and not a very efficient process and ways have been worked on to help improve the systems.
Specialised wireless solutions for video offloads have now come onto the market in recent times. The new systems not use wireless protocols which are designed to handle large fleet with large amount of data to be offloaded in a short space of time. This system offers multiple download points across a given route which gives a wider window of communication between trucks and the head office. This gives more real up to date information and avoids less congestion in the depot. This allows for companies to be more efficient in accessing recorded videos.
Types of camera system used
“Truckcam” camera is new technology that has been brought in in recent years. It is an interior and an exterior camera which captures audio and videos inside and outside the cabin. The on board accelerometer detects if the vehicle enforces an increase in G force and this and activates the camera to record the previous 8 seconds before harsh breaking or swerving occurs and 8 seconds after. This information is then automatically stored into the cloud. This can then be used for investigating accidents, used for driving training purposes and improving road safety. Truckcam can be also used manually via using the dashboard if required to capture licence plates or to give live footage or live video feeds on vehicles who do dangerous driving around their vehicle in the case of an accident and can be brought forward as evidence in the case of an accident.
“Drivercam” The interior camera is used in the case of an accident which involves the vehicle. Evidence footage can be taken from these cameras on how the driver was driving in the lead up to the accident by checking the driver’s concentration on the road and where his hands were positioned on the wheel. This can also keep monitor drivers in the case of distraction or fatigue, which allows for the sensors to keep in when they feel the driver is looking at out the road affront of them for too long which could mean they are looking elsewhere in the meaning of being distracted. Another is that they are blinking slowly during a micro sleep event. Under these circumstances alarm goes off as well as the driver’s seat vibrates which informs the driver that they need to be more alert and regain safe operation levels. An alert is sent to the transport company if this occurs more than often which can lead to the driver getting a phone call where matters can be taken further on what’s best going forward example changing the driver’s routes or changing drivers rest periods.
Dimensions/Weights & Overloading of vehicles:
In Europe heavy goods vehicles must comply with the rules set out on weights and dimensions for the safety reasons to avoid damaging roads, bridges and tunnels. Directive (EU) 2015/719 sets maximum dimensions and weights all EU member states as well as makes sure that all members states allow all vehicles that comply with the regulations to perform international transport operations through their countries. The directive also gives grants on maximum lengths to make heavy good vehicles greener by making them more aerodynamic performance.
Transport companies must have the required documentation in the vehicle if there are travelling through other EU member countries as if it is required when entering a country, it must be available at request to give to international officers. The documentation should show the weight and dimensions of the load and what is on board the vehicle as well as all the required documentation of the drivers details and licenses. Vehicles that are outside of these EU regulations are in need of special permits and must be sanctioned by national operations. The ‘Weights and dimensions’ directive set the weights and dimensions for all national and international road transport for all EU members: 16.5 metres (m) in length (18.75 m for road trains), 2.6 m in width, 4 m in height and 40 tonnes (t) in weight and 44 tonnes for combined trailer.
Overloading is a problem that’s occurs in the transport industry as if a truck is overloaded by 10% then that is a gain of 10% for the company if they are not caught. The fine for being caught is relatively high but this can vary from country to country. Even though getting caught can be looked over as the previous overloaded runs would cover the cost. Companies blame the inappropriate vehicle loading on other companies if they are working with a multi-delivery transport. Companies can use the fact that when a portion of the load was unloaded that it was then refilled at an unintended load per axle.
In my opinion, a solution to stop overloading of transport vehicles is for the EU member state to allow long heavy good vehicles (LHVs) which are currently allowed in countries such as Finland and Sweden are allowed dimensions of typically measure 25.25 m in length and up to 60 tonnes in weight. These are specialised types of trucks known as gigalines, ecoliners and eurocombis. This system has also being tried in other countries such as Netherlands and Denmark. The directives in recent years have encourage less polluting type engines which means getting vehicles that a bigger and heavier which is less attractive compare to modern type vehicles. The proposal would be allow the maximum dimensions of a vehicle to get bigger but to have them more aerodynamic technologies on the vehicle that would make them more appealing for the economy.
By making trucks of a bigger nature that are more economic, makes transporting goods of a better nature and helps to reduce the amount of overloading occurring in the transport industry. As companies would not need to take the chance of overloading. These trucks are not ideal for working around the inner around city but for traveling around the country these trucks are ideal as they can carry bigger loads.
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As a part of this assignment, I hope to get a better insight into the technologies and information systems that transport companies used on a day-to-day basis. I will research about the technologies that they use and what they bring to the transport industry to help make companies more productive and efficient. I will look into how they help improve driver safety and what they do to minimise costs. I will research the weights and dimensions when transporting through the EU members states and the happening of overloading that is a common occurrence in the industry.
In this assignment, I have researched about the technologies and route planning that transport companies use to choose what the safest and most effective way for their fleet to deliver products. By using different technologies to retrieve data such as Telematics and Camera Surveillance companies can help maximise their fleets productivity as well as minimise costs that can affect the company’s name and income. I have learnt about the weight and vehicle restriction when working in other EU countries and the problems that occur with companies overloading their vehicles. By doing this assignment I have learnt about the fleet management side of the business and what it entails.
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