The connected truck

The connected truck in a wireless world

Connectivity in a wireless world extends to vocational markets as well. In early June, at the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC), Pacific Gas & Electric and some of its key suppliers introduced a “connected” bucket truck that among other things features Internet connectivity via a mobile hot spot.

Developed in partnership with Altec Inc. and Telogis, the Class 5 bucket truck combines electric power take-off (ePTO) capabilities that reduce emissions and fuel usage through idle reduction and “vehicle-as-a-hub” communications technology.

The suite of communications tools that PG&E developed in partnership with Telogis provides features that encourage safe driving habits, improve productivity and allow for mobile management of fleet resources. PG&E began introducing this feature on 1,000 existing fleet vehicles this summer.

The technology suite also gives drivers tools to enhance productivity, including a mobile hot spot to allow them to remain connected while in the field. In addition, the technology makes it possible for maintenance needs to be identified in real time. For example, by sending fault codes to a shop when issues arise, the system will help ensure reliability and provide the lead time to order necessary parts before the vehicle returns.

Taking connectivity further, the PG&E connected truck also features a “digital” license plate developed by Reviver. The plate, which is undergoing testing as part of a ten-truck pilot project, allows automated vehicle registration as well as the opportunity to display public safety messages while the unit is stationary. The solution also automates digital payments, reducing administrative costs.

“The technology featured on this vehicle helps us better manage a wide-range of issues, from driver behavior to vehicle maintenance to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dave Meisel, PG&E’s senior director of transportation and aviation services. “We are constantly working to identify technologies to help us better manage our fleet while protecting the environment, and this truck is a prime example of that commitment.”

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