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The Digital Tachograph 3.0 from VDO: Faster, brighter and more flexible


  • Market observations are reflected in many user-friendly optimizations
  • Fleet managers can set several parameters themselves with the DTCO Configuration App
  • New negative display is easy to read, even in direct sunlight
  • Faster downloads and faster handling of driver cards
  • The DTCO 3.0 can be ordered from September 2017

Villingen-Schwenningen, August 2017. The technology company Continental is currently launching the latest version of its digital tachograph, which has proven its reliability millions of times. Continental engineers at the company’s Villingen site in the Black Forest have revamped the design of the tachograph, making it even easier to operate. In advance of its release, the experts improved the DTCO 3.0 in six different areas. The display, flexibility and card handling performance have been significantly enhanced, and the unit also consumes less power than its DTCO 2.2 predecessor. Drivers benefit from faster processing when a two-man crew is in the vehicle and they can also use mobile devices to record their additional manual entries, making them much clearer, up-to-date and – importantly – reducing the risk of errors. This function was also available on the DTCO 2.2, but it has now been further improved. In the future, drivers and fleet managers alike can communicate with the tachograph. The new DTCO Configuration App allows fleet managers to change several parameters, saving time and aligning the functions more closely to the user’s requirements. The DTCO 3.0 can be ordered from September 2017, and deliveries will be made in October.

“Entering and archiving driving times and rest periods is compulsory. The drivers who have to do this want the result to be correct, but they also want to spend as little time as possible doing it,” explains Dr. Lutz Scholten, Head of Tachographs, Telematics and Services at Continental. “That’s why we’ve focused on making the tachograph as user-friendly as possible. This relieves the burden on drivers and on the managers who bear the responsibility for them.”

Fleet managers can now configure tachographs themselves

With the new tachograph and the DTCO Configuration App, fleet managers now have the option of setting several operating parameters at the VDO counter themselves, adapting them to specific company activities and saving a trip to the workshop. The company card serves as proof of identity. After successful authentication, the app connects to the DTCO via the VDO Smartlink. Now users can customize functions ranging from the VDO counter to the local time, set the pre-alarms they require and enter licenses, EU Member State and the vehicle registration number. The app’s practical sidebar also provides a quick overview of the most important settings.The DTCO Configuration App runs on smartphones and tablets with Android or iOS operating systems.

Especially interesting for many fleet managers is the fact that they can now define how the tachograph behaves when the driver switches off the engine. The DTCO always sets the device to Break, Working Time or Available automatically, depending on the setting made by the fleet manager. If, for example, the fleet manager has used the Configuration App to preset a changeover to Break, the driver doesn’t have to actively set the device to Break himself, so he can’t forget to do it and have his working time continue by mistake.

As well as being able to make settings themselves, fleet managers also benefit from the greater efficiency of the new DTCO 3.0 when downloading local data. The Continental developers have almost doubled the downloading speed.

More clarity for the driver

Drivers can operate the DTCO 3.0 faster and more easily thanks to the redesigned user interface. The new negative display is easy to read even in direct sunlight, and just before the end of his 45-minute break, the “Wake-Up” function notifies the driver that he can start driving in 2 minutes. The management of the inserted cards has also been improved: thanks to the VDO Driver App, drivers can now easily access the tachograph functions of the DTCO 3.0 – the app makes the manual entry of activities easier, since all the rest periods can be preconfigured and processed directly on the smartphone. The VDO counter also displays driving times and rest periods on the smartphone – so users benefit from considerable time and cost savings and much more clarity. The app is available free of charge for Android and iOS operating systems.

The last step on the way to the intelligent tachograph

The new DTCO 3.0 paves the way for the “intelligent tachograph”, which will be compulsory for newly registered vehicles from June 2019. With its advanced DTCO 3.0 technology, VDO has already created the foundations for the intelligent tachograph – the DTCO 4.0 – which will be launched in 2019. There will be no compulsory changeover, however, so older tachograph models can still be used after the June deadline next year.

VDO tachographs – history and innovation

An on-board digital tachograph has been compulsory since 2006 for all newly registered trucks with a total weight of more than 3.5 tons and for all buses with more than 9 passenger seats (Regulation (EC) No 1360/2002, Appendix 1B). The history of the tachograph, however, goes back a lot further than that, because tachographs have been manufactured in Villingen in the Black Forest for almost 100 years, beginning in the 1920s with the ‘autograph’ device. VDO tachographs have been on the market since 1951 and are still manufactured at the Villingen site, although VDO is now part of the Continental international technology company, so the company has the extensive experience and expertise to offer the products the market needs in good time.
“Today, the digital tachograph is more than just a device for recording driver and vehicle data,” says Dr. Lutz Scholten. “It’s the telematics heart of fleet management, enabling even small and medium-sized fleets to boost their potential for efficiency.”



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