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Digital tachograph: products and solutions from VDO for more efficiency in the fleet

VDO offers fleet operators, drivers and workshops a comprehensive modular portfolio of services, peripheral devices and software for the digital tachograph DTCO, for greater efficiency in everyday fleet operation.

Hannover, Germany, 21 September 2010. For more than four years now, all newly registered trucks, vans and buses have been fitted with a digital tachograph. Together with the electronic storage of driving and rest periods in the tachograph, market leader VDO today additionally offers a wide-ranging modular portfolio of products and services for economical fleet management. They make everyday work easier for fleet operators, and also enable them to improve their efficiency decisively. What is more, fleet operators can rely on a tightly knit network of some 7,000 experienced, specially trained partner workshops across Europe to assist them with the biannual inspections and the range of solutions centred on the digital tachograph.

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

The heart of this ample range is the digital tachograph DTCO 1381. It was developed by VDO according to the specifications of Appendix 1 B of Regulation (EEC) 3821/85 and meets all requirements for the recording of driving and rest periods within the European Union. In addition to the interfaces for manual data download the DTCO 1381 has a telematics interface for fleet management systems. By means of an optional telematics unit it permits using all data in real time for fleet management applications.

The latest generation of the DTCO 1381 (Release 1.3a) offers a multitude of functions which go beyond the contents prescribed by law. For example, the latest DTCO offers appreciably faster data retrieval along with graphic printouts of speed profiles as well as status and activity reports.

Through so-called remote download of the mass memory and driver card data it is now possible to transfer tachograph data automatically either by WLAN or, all over Europe, via GPRS network, with no additional effort.

Through further processing and evaluation in a data management solution, the remaining time at the wheel permitted by the law is shown in the form of driver reports to facilitate the planning of driver use. For example, TIS-Web supplies useful operational information to fleet headquarters via an internet portal.

VDO thus enables its customers to make an easy start into efficient fleet management through the DTCO. With the DTCO and its innovative supplementary functions the market leader paves the way for vehicle owners and fleet managers to practical data handling. At the same time, VDO opens the door to a broad range of services centring on the tachograph and what it records – services that afford great potential for savings to all system partners.

Speediest path to the archives: download solutions and evaluation software

With the advent of the digital tachograph the processes in commercial vehicle fleets have changed appreciably, since the digital data of the DTCO now has to be saved electronically. For this purpose, depending on fleet size and application VDO has developed a number of tailor-made solutions which have proved very successful in everyday use and are constantly being improved. On top of that they help the fleet operator to raise efficiency.

VDO bridges the distance between the digital tachograph in the cab and the fleet computer at headquarters with various download media like the so-called download key. With this key, the customer can speedily and effortlessly read out all entries in all digital tachograph models and transfer them to the office computer. The key has a 256 MB memory and enables making some 1,000 downloads before the data needs to be saved at the office. Owing to its standardized interface it is a universal device suitable for all digital tachographs. In combination with the latest generation of the VDO DTCO it makes particularly fast downloads possible. Along with the download key, VDO also offers the option of automated data transfer. Accordingly, the company has integrated the remote download function into the DTCO, which reads the DTCO download files to be archived directly out of the vehicle and makes them available to a firm's office via a very secure radio interface. For vehicles that regularly return to headquarters there is a short-range device that transits the data via WLAN link to the company's network. If, on the other hand, the vehicles are used in international long-distance haulage, the wide-range technology guarantees reliable, uncomplicated data transfer via GPRS network. Both solutions are ideal in combination with the internet-based TIS-Web service, which additionally ensures the observance of the statutory archiving periods. Moreover, special interfaces of the service facilitate the transfer of data to management programs for further processing and offer a large number of evaluations which boost fleet efficiency.

But VDO helps not only the fleet manager. The company considers the drivers too. To make data transfer easier for them, the company offers a special download terminal that is installed in the company yard or in a break room. Drivers merely have to insert their driver card into the device, which is as small as a telephone, with few keys and a large colour display, to be prompted through a short menu – in no time all data is read out, archived and, if desired, automatically transferred by USB or cable connection or WLAN interface to the firm's computer. In addition, for data readout VDO offers further practical tools like smart card readers, which also are sold in reasonably priced packages together with the software solutions.

No matter what solution is used to get the data into the computer: drivers, vehicle owners and fleet managers always have a perfect overview with the VDO software. A few mouse clicks suffice to manage the master data of drivers and vehicles, record covered distances and check driving and rest periods. Without much ado, entrepreneurs thus can optimize their procedures and make them more efficient: to ease the burden on the payroll department, for example, the records of hours worked, including the drivers' remaining driving time, can be kept using the tachograph data. Deployment scheduling as well as the utilization of vehicle capacity can be improved. For bigger fleets with correspondingly equipped fleet headquarters there is the VDO TIS-Office program with which the DTCO data is stored in the firm's network and analyzed. VDO has established the internet service TIS-Web beside it as universal tool for all fleet sizes. This program is completely internet-based: without extra software and time-consuming data maintenance, all relevant logs are archived in specially secured VDO servers where the fleet manager can analyze them from any PC with online link, provided he has the necessary access rights (data protection). Tailored mainly to companies with few vehicles is VDO TIS-Compact, which makes data handling as easy as managing music files on an MP3 player.

A comprehensive package of services for tachograph workshops

Parallel to the technical development of the digital tachograph itself, VDO has built up a very close-knit network of after-sales and other services around the product. The majority of the 7,000 or so partner workshops in Europe have been specially trained and authorized. These authorized shops are equipped with special solutions for the installation, calibration and maintenance of the DTCO. These solutions support the shops in performing any work on the digital tachograph, prepare the official inspection certificates and the relevant stickers for the vehicle, offer an electronic archive, and help the shops manage and update the information about their customers, the inspections and the vehicles. To enable the shops to meet the requirements of the lawmakers, they also need special diagnostic systems for calibrating and programming the tachographs. Solutions range from the mobile handheld tester to roller dynamometers.

Modernizing fleets through the European service network

Through the 7,000 partner workshops in Europe the tachograph systems in the fleets also are being adapted to handle the described telematics functions, to gear them up for efficient fleet management. In the "Go for the Champion" campaign the tachographs in older vehicles are being modernized. Extended telematics functions then are available, or are coupled directly in the shops with the VDO solutions for remote download and fleet management.

Continuing training and up-to-date information by mouse click

When the digital tachograph was launched, VDO already had a multilingual information platform up and going in the internet. At all users groups find comprehensive information about all aspects of the digital tachograph. On request the website also finds a qualified service partner in the customer's immediate vicinity. A well-founded documentation also provides information about the legal provisions pertaining to the digital tachograph.



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Eva Appold

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Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket

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