Optimus omniscient

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Optimus omniscient

By Kap Maceda Aguila

IT’S no longer, well, a fleet of fancy. The arc of improvement of connectivity and the ever-increasing power of computers and its inverse proportionality with size have redounded in immense gain for all industries. The long strides in telematics also offer a unique opportunity to gain information from vehicles in the field. With an eye towards maximizing profit and minimizing downtime, fleets of trucks and buses have begun to leverage the power of technology.

Germany-based MAN Trucks & Buses AG, one of the world’s leaders in commercial vehicles, has just rolled out its telematics and fleet management system FMS service in the Philippines. Administered by MAN Automotive Concessionaires Corp. (MACC), the brand’s exclusive importer, assembler, and distributor in the country since 1989, the system aims to make “roads safer… and to protect the mobile assets and cargo of clients,” according to a company statement.

The feature — made possible for MAN by MSI Funtoro, a major supplier of infotainment and telematics solutions — piggybacks on the so-called Mobileye Advanced Driver Assistance System, a sensor-based collision deterrent system which “alerts the driver with audible and visual warnings whenever there is impending danger in forward collision, lane departure, pedestrian collision and traffic-sign recognition.” MAN vehicles sold from hence will have the functionality (available with a subscription).

Said MACC managing director Ferdie Lu in his speech at the launch of the service, “We’re always very serious and concerned about the profitability of our partners. We have to protect their investments — particularly their MAN trucks.” Now, a wealth of information about the vehicles can be pulled up remotely. Owners and fleet managers can more easily monitor driver performance, location, and vehicle condition. Using the cloud as a platform, real-time reports can be accessed anytime and anywhere on a desktop, tablet, or even smart phone with data connectivity.

Using 3G or LTE, data logs in the onboard telematics server are “sent to the MAN FMS Cloud for reports and analysis of driver work status, vehicle route, fuel consumption, safety of vehicle and cargo, service due notification and more.”

In a real way, it’s about taking logistics and transportation into the age of big data analytics to unlock potentials of both equipment and personnel. For instance, drivers can be more objectively rated on metrics that would otherwise not be easily discernible or measurable.

Velmer P. Espinosa, Jr. and Michelle Tan, MACC sales engineers, said that the MAN FMS tracks (among other bits of data) vehicle information such as a speed, engine RPM, engine loading, coolant temperature, battery voltage, running time, fuel consumption, and even the driver’s on-duty time. The system also integrates with GPS, and modules like Waze. Older MAN units can be retrofitted with the system.

The sales engineers continued that the service is customizable, with a basic package including the Mobileye, MSI Funtoro telematics gadget, and a rear-mounted camera. Additional options are available such as a front camera, cargo camera (to monitor payload), and a cabin camera (for the driver). Streamed footage is recordable.

A free app is set to for release this month — affording even more convenience for MAN’s customers making the leap to trust in big data analytics to unlock bigger savings and bigger bucks.