Navistar reveals big plans for OnCommand Connect telematics

November 30, -0001 Aaron Huff

Navistar is converging its connected vehicle technologies, including OnCommand Connection, with Volkswagen’s global connected vehicle platform from Rio, beginning with a common in-cab hardware device.

Later this year, Navistar plans to install its OnCommand Connect telematics platform at the factory in all Class-8 products that include International LoneStar, ProStar and LT Series trucks.

The embedded telematics platform will provide customers with remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance, explains Terry Kline, Navistar’s senior vice president and chief information officer. The technology will also support connected vehicle functions and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

In 2013, Navistar launched OnCommand Connect as a remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance service. At first, the technology used real-time vehicle data from integrations it developed with aftermarket telematics systems like Omnitracs, PeopleNet and Geotab.

In 2017, Navistar rolled out its own aftermarket telematics platform. The name stayed the same, OnCommand Connect, but now fleets with International Trucks and models from other OEMs could install the platform to expand their fleet management technology to include an ELD-compliant application that runs on BYOD-style devices.

An integration hub

Navistar is currently in the process of developing applications that will enable its customers to optimize their vehicle configurations and driver behaviors in the areas of shifting, accelerating, braking and more, he says.

OnCommand Connect will become a central integration hub for data generated by ADAS technologies. As a truck OEM, offering ADAS technology has “quickly become table stakes in this business,” he says, and Navistar was the first truck OEM to offer the Bendix Wingman Fusion system as a factory installed option.

Bendix Wingman Fusion combines a suite of Bendix advanced safety technologies — radar, camera, the vehicle’s brake system and SafetyDirect — into a comprehensive driver assistance system.

Navistar OnCommand TruckKline says he can “easily see a future” where a OnCommand Connect will notify fleets instantly if a driver has a couple of lane departure events indicative of fatigued or distracted driving “so that someone can intervene.”

OnCommand Connect will capture video and data from the Bendix system and other cameras on the vehicle. Users will be able to retrieve event footage through its online portal. With the added functionality, fleets will be able to consolidate their subscriptions for telematics and video-based safety systems, he says.

“We view OnCommand Connection as the connection to the vehicle for those data points on safety, lane departure and collision avoidance,” he says.

From the start, OnCommand Connect has been able to pull in remote diagnostics data from any make or model of vehicle. Similarly, the telematics platform will capture driver safety and performance data from any vehicle and third-party ADAS systems, he says.

“We have been successful for a long time pulling data from different trucks into one screen,” he says. “Most fleets don’t own one truck (brand) so we do not have any reason to not continue the same strategy.”

Remote vehicle inspections

Navistar is in conversations with top-tier ADAS suppliers to utilize their data to provide fleets with analytics in an online fleet management dashboard. The dashboard will add value for customers, he says, as will in-cab driver coaching and remote vehicle inspection reporting.

“What we’ve learned is that drivers don’t mind being coached by a computer. They just do not want to be coached by their boss,” he says.

By having its own telematics platform in vehicles, Navistar plans to offer driver coaching tools and automated driver vehicle inspection reporting. The latter feature is made possible by using the telematics to electronically measure and test various systems and sensors on the vehicle such as tire pressures and lighting systems.

OnCommand Connect is already able to remotely test 60 to 70 percent of the items in the standard DOT driver vehicle inspection report, he says.

“The driver of today is not mechanically inclined,” he says. “Today, younger drivers don’t expect to have to look at stuff to see if it’s OK to drive.”

Volkswagen, a major shareholder of Navistar, has a telematics company, RIO, that is assisting with development of OnCommand Connect to have a common hardware and software platform for International Trucks, he says.

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