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Omnitracs executive shares thoughts on future of vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure technology

Rich Glasmann, vice president of OEM Strategy, Sales and Marketing for Omnitracs said the future should be focused on over-the-air programming, meaning that internal software repairs should be able to be done remotely, rather than having a truck sit for a few days

By Aprille Hanson
The Trucker Staff

8/21/2014

Rich Glasmann, vice president of OEM Strategy, Sales and Marketing for Omnitracs said what most truckers know to be the truth bluntly – 90 percent of data is noise and about 10 percent actually matters.

“How do we manage it? It’s such an overwhelming amount,” Glasmann said to the crowd Thursday at the Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference during his presentation on “Transforming Trucking with Real-Time Data.” “In the next five, 10, 20 years, data is going to be more enriched.”

Glasmann said the key sources of trucking data include: The truck itself, engine, auto transmission, chassis, onboard sensor technology, the body of the truck and telematics, which translate into tracking vehicle changes and driver productivity.

“They don’t want to receive a ton of data on how to better manage fleets,” Glasmann said of trucking company executives. “It’s about managing it at that point in time. You don’t want your fleet manager running all over the place trying to react to everything” after the fact and, he added, it’s important to understand the driver doesn’t want all this information thrown at him or her at once.

“It’s overwhelming to them. They’ve got a job to do, they’ve got a load to deliver,” Glasmann said.

Then the elephant in the room named “Big Brother” came up.

“How many think we have overcome that big brother analogy,” Glasmann asked the crowd, with very few out of the roughly 200 raising their hands. But he was optimistic, saying, “We have new laws that helped change the mindset,” referring to CSA and other federal regulations.

“It’s not about you the driver anymore,” Glasmann  said, indicating that technology is less about invading a driver’s privacy but about making the business run for effectively. “It’s about better managing our fleet and how do we stay in sync with what the laws are.”

Glasmann said the future should be focused on over-the-air programming, meaning that internal software repairs should be able to be done remotely, rather than having a truck sit for a few days and about prognostics – predicting component failure by monitoring the various trucks and the changes to understand what part is going to fail ahead of time.

While Glasmann touted the idea of autonomous trucks, he still said they are a long way off of actually hitting the roadways in any mass capacity.

“I’d put it in the 2022, 2025” year range, Glasmann said. “I don’t think we’re ready for it yet. The truck industry has followed the automotive industry and I think that’s where it’s more likely to happen. We’ll see that happen with Google cars before getting to the truck side.”

But two technology advances that are on the horizon are vehicle to vehicle technology and vehicle to infrastructure technology.

In the recent weeks, the Obama Administration announced a push forward for studies/legislation dealing with vehicle-to-vehicle communication. According to a video created by Peleton Technologies, the sensor can detect objects 800 feet ahead of the truck. The average reaction time for the average trucker is one to two seconds – the sensor can analyze and apply the brake if necessary in 100th of a second, according to the video. Trucks traveling down a roadway together can communicate with the lead truck, allowing both trucks to brake if necessary.

 Vehicle to infrastructure technology means the truck could communicate with surrounding infrastructure in a city, including traffic lights.

“It could talk to traffic signals. Let’s say the light is green now. In 10 seconds, [it can tell the truck] I’m turning to yellow, five seconds to red. Your vehicle is going to brake for you,” Glasmann said. “With delivery drops, you never want to run dead head. [This technology] it can sense another load in the general vicinity that you could take back. This is going to open up a whole new world.”

While installing vehicle-to-vehicle technology on existing trucks, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication would only likely be available in bigger cities and would require things like WiFi stations to be set up.

But most of all, for real-time data to work requires better cooperation between telematics providers, OEM’s and other suppliers.

“I don’t think we’ve really figured it out yet – what the right relationship is. I think probably, honestly, in the next two to five years, we’re going to figure that out,” Glasmann said. “We cannot get to the future unless we start working better together … there is stuff you can share, it’s not all under lock and key.”

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com

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