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Isuzu Australia prepares itself for the data road

Truck manufacturer Isuzu Australia touts telematics as the single biggest influence in vehicle technology development.

Chief engineer, product strategy at Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) says the continuously improving telematics business will be the most significant factor in how road freight transport evolves.

“Telematics will soon be viewed as part of the truck,” he said in an Isuzu press release, “just like the engine or transmission – rather than be seen as an accessory.”

Isuzu Connect and Isuzu Connect Plus, the company’s new two-tier telematics package, is the product being touted as one of those systems aimed at becoming integral to the vehicle. The base system can be retro-fitted to older trucks, and includes vehicle positioning and live locating, mechanical checks, theft alert and service reminders. It also measures speeding, abnormal acceleration and overstepped geo-fencing boundaries.

Connect Plus adds engine management data, including clutch activation, fuel consumption and idling. A driver-conscious panic button is also installed along with collision alert and an open-door monitor. The Plus package also integrates with Isuzu’s digital touchscreen. Isuzu telematics comes standard with Driver ID and two-way messaging, requiring a four-digit PIN to activate the vehicle while helping allocate and utilise drivers and vehicles efficiently.

The National Telematics Framework, designed to provide a national reference point for the introduction and development of telematics equipment, includes the Intelligent Access Program (IAP), intelligent speed compliance, on-board mass (OBM) monitoring and electronic work diaries. These measurement programs serve useful for compliance requirements among other fleet manager needs.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NVHR) is working on a national approach to the implementation of EWDs. Transport Certification 2016-nseries_lineupsmallAustralia (TCA) which administers the framework, CEO Chris Koniditsiotis says a more standardised approach to electronic work diaries will benefit the market.

“This means the introduction of EWDs will ensure transport operators do not need to purchase new, standalone systems or technologies, subject to telemetics providers offering EWD services,” he said.

An ACA Research study from November 2015 showed the popularity of telematics in the road freight industry is strong, with 36% of trucks and fleets using it in some form. The study found 91 per cent of those are fleets of over 25 trucks.

On average, transport operators use five features out of what’s available in the market. The study revealed 97% of telematics are used for tracking, 61% for fatigue management, 65% for driver management, 53% and 48% for navigation and vehicle performance respectively.

Telematics suites like Isuzu’s Connect and Connect Plus offer user-friendly systems  aimed at meeting forecasted frameworks such as the standardisation of EWDs and the increasing adoption of connectivity in fleets.