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Digital tachograph from VDO: focusing on fleet efficiency

Jul 11, 2012

  • VDO offers a broad modular portfolio of fleet management software, peripheral devices and services addressing all aspects of the DTCO digital tachograph
  • Intelligent solutions for cost-conscious, convenient vehicle operation

Villingen-Schwenningen/Germany. An intelligent aid that takes the work out of tachograph obligations: Ever since the introduction of EU legislation making digital tachographs obligatory for all newly registered trucks, vans and buses, VDO has not only developed the necessary hardware for it, but also offers a broad but target group-focused portfolio of products and services, as well as electronic storage of driving times and rest periods in the tachograph. These innovative solutions for fleet management effectively facilitate everyday management for fleet operators and drivers and enable them to cut costs, optimize routes and distances and make more effective use of working hours. By using the DTCO and the entire VDO infrastructure, a dense European network of some 7,500 experienced, specially trained partner workshops is at the service of haulage companies. These workshops also perform the required two-yearly inspection of the DTCO. Knowledge gathered from the partner workshops and dialogue with fleet managers and commercial vehicle manufacturers flow into the VDO fleet management programs, peripheral devices and services, helping to ensure efficient fleet management.

More than just a means of complying with the law – the digital tachograph VDO DTCO 1381

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The heart of the broad VDO portfolio is the DTCO 1381 digital tachograph. It was developed by VDO according to the standards set by the European Union (EU) and meets all the demands made on driving time and rest period recording within the EU.

The latest DTCO generation 2.0, like the previous DTCO 1.4, implements the “1-minute rule”. The electronics are programmed so that the longest activity within a given minute determines whether the minute will be classified as driving time or resting time. Especially in short-range distribution work, in traffic jams, or standing in line waiting for customs clearance, when the vehicle often is moved only for a few seconds and otherwise stands still for a long time, this rule can save valuable driving time for drivers. Another completely new feature is the optional VDO Counter, version DTCO 2.0a of which will be available on the aftermarket this fall. A kind of personal assistant, the VDO Counter keeps the driver constantly posted. During a trip, a glance at the DTCO display suffices to let the driver see how much driving time he still has, when the next rest period is due and how long it should be. During the driver’s break, the DTCO 2.0a shows the remaining resting time and the maximum driving time available after the rest. At another touch of the button, the driver can display all the information he needs for his current shift and –for example – see how much driving time he has for the rest of the day. The VDO Counter also provides clear information about the remaining weekly driving time. If so desired, the tachograph also shows the same information over more than one week. Further new features of the DTCO 2.0 include the optimized remote data download and the incorporation of a second, independent motion signal (IMS) to comply with the EU requirements for improved protection against tampering.

However, the DTCO is a team player and has consistently been kept open by VDO for intelligent peripheral devices: Along with the interfaces for manual data downloads, the DTCO 1381 also has an interface for fleet management systems. Through an optional telematics unit it permits real-time use of all data for fleet management applications. The latest generation of the DTCO has a great many functions that extend beyond the contents stipulated by law. For instance, besides the VDO Counter, the latest DTCO offers graphic printouts of speed profiles and status and activity logs and a distinct increase in the speed of data retrieval.

Thanks to the remote download function, mass memory and driver card data, the tachograph data can be transmitted automatically and effortlessly, either via a WLAN link or Europe-wide via a mobile telephone link. After further processing and evaluation in the context of a fleet complete management solution, the driver reports can be used to show the driver’s remaining legal driving time, thus facilitating the driver's planning. For example, TIS-Web provides useful economic information to fleet headquarters via an Internet portal.

With the DTCO, VDO enables its customers to make an uncomplicated first step on the way to more efficient fleet management. The DTCO and its innovative additional functions smooth the way for vehicle owners and fleet managers to a means of data handling which responds to their actual needs. At the same time, VDO opens the door to a wide range of services relating to the tachograph and its recordings – services that hold out potential for great savings to all system partners.

Fast archiving: download solutions and evaluation software

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The arrival of the digital tachograph has radically changed the process of managing commercial vehicle fleets, as the digital data of the DTCO now has to be saved electronically. VDO has developed a number of made-to-measure solutions (depending on fleet size and use) that have proven their worth in routine use and are constantly being improved. Additionally, they help the fleet operator to raise efficiency.

The most recent example of this is the DLKPro. This “Download Key” is a practical solution for professional handling of DTCO mass memory data, all competing products as well as the driver card, the workshop card and the control card for authorities.

Originally a relatively simple memory stick, it has developed into a pocket-size computer. As handy as a mobile phone and just as simple to operate thanks to its large touch screen, its software and hardware bundle all data-handling functions in one device and make external card readers unnecessary. And thanks to the integrated rechargeable battery, no battery changes are required.

Downloads are controlled and data evaluated by means of an easy-to-understand menu that can be displayed in 29 languages. Moreover, all data records get a time stamp, and a new timer function reminds the driver when downloads are due.

In addition to the Download Key, VDO offers the option of automated data transfer. Integrated in the DTCO is the remote download function. It reads out the DTCO download files being put in the archives directly from the vehicle and, via a common radio interface, makes them available to the office of the company operating the fleet. For vehicles that regularly return to headquarters, there is a short-range device that transmits the data to the company network via a WLAN link. If the vehicles are used in the international freight business, the Wide Range technology guarantees simple and secure data transfer via the mobile phone network. This remote retrieval is now possible irrespective of the current vehicle status – even during a break or during the night while the driver is asleep. To do so, at the same time as the download request VDO sends a “wake-up signal” to the on-board electronics.

Both solutions are ideal in combination with the internet-based TIS-Web service, which additionally ensures the observance of the statutory archiving periods. Moreover, via special interfaces of the service, data can be easily sent to business management programs for further processing; these interfaces also offer a large choice of evaluations designed to enhance the efficiency of the fleet.

VDO not only assists the fleet manager; it also thinks of the drivers. To make data transfer easier for them, VDO offers a special download terminal, which is installed at the truck yard or in the drivers’ rest room. It is as small as a telephone and has just a few keys and a large color display. Drivers simply insert their driver card in it and are guided through a short menu. In no time at all, the data are read out, archived and, on demand, automatically transmitted via a USB or cable connection or WLAN interface to the company computer. In addition, VDO offers other practical tools for data readout, such as smartcard readers, which are offered in cost-effective packs with or without software solutions.

No matter what solution supplies the data to the computer, this software from VDO keeps drivers, vehicle owners and fleet managers in the picture at all time. A few mouse clicks suffice to handle the driver and vehicle master data, log routes and distances, and to review driving times and rest periods. Without any great time or expense, entrepreneurs can improve their operating procedures and make them more efficient. For example: To lighten the payroll accounting workload, working hour accounts – such as the "remaining drive time" of drivers – can be managed using the tachograph data. Operations planning and vehicle utilization rates can also be improved. VDO has created the internet-based software TIS-Web to be a universal tool for all fleet sizes: Via Cloud Computing, without any need for software of their own or costly data maintenance, fleet managers can archive all relevant reports on VDO-owned servers where they can analyze them via an online link from any PC. The entry-level program VDO TIS Compact is designed for companies with just a few vehicles and makes data handling as easy as controlling the music on an MP3 player.

The most comprehensive and professional and also the fastest overall view of a fleet of vehicles is provided by the new VDO DriveTime software, that is designed for all vehicles with DLD Wide Range module. With a few clicks either on the office computer or on the smartphone while on the move, fleet managers can get an overview, online and in real time, of drivers' available remaining driving times, vehicle locations, route movements, working hour data and much more. That creates the basis for optimized operations and more efficient fleet deployment. The central element of VDO DriveTime is the permanent position-finding function; this makes it possible not only to determine present locations, trace the routes covered in detail, and analyze driven routes but also, with the intelligent software from VDO, to monitor predefined deployment areas. As soon as a vehicle enters or leaves this custom-delimited region, headquarters receives an automatic warning (geofencing). An important supplement to VDO DriveTime is the Basic Fuel Management function: Thanks to this feature that is normally found only in much costlier telematics systems, VDO DriveTime gives fleet headquarters an initial idea of vehicle fuel consumption, online and, again, in real time. This additional information allows routes to be planned more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly way, and fuel consumption to be substantially reduced through a dialog between the driver and headquarters.

Comprehensive service package for tachograph servicing facilities

Parallel to the actual technical development of the digital tachograph, VDO has set up a dense service network to handle all aspects of the product. The majority of its partner workshops in Europe have received special training and approval. These authorized workshops are provided with special solutions for installing, calibrating and maintaining the DTCO. These assist them in all the work they do on the digital tachograph, draw up the official test certificates and the required stickers for the vehicle, offer an electronic archive and help the workshops manage and maintain their customer, testing and vehicle information. To meet legal requirements, the workshops also need special diagnostic systems with which the tachographs can be calibrated and programmed. The solutions range from mobile handheld testers to roller dynamometers. The partner workshops in Europe also re-equip existing fleet tachograph systems for the telematic functions described above, readying them for more efficient fleet management.

Up-to-date information at a simple click

At the launch of the digital tachograph, VDO set up a multilingual information platform in the Internet. At www.dtco.com you will find comprehensive information about the digital tachograph for all user groups. The Web site can also track down a qualified service partner in your vicinity on demand. Further content includes precise documentation on the statutory provisions governing digital tachographs.

Contact

Eva Appold

External Communications

Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket

Continental

Division Interior

Guerickestraße 7

60488 Frankfurt

Phone: +49 69 7603 -2022

Fax: +49 69 7603 -3953

eva.appold@continental-corporation.com


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