What does today’s truck data access mean for future truck connections?

What does today’s truck data access mean for future truck connections?

While the trucking industry has talked broadly of “connecting to the truck,” relating it to the same way a smartphone operates, the truth is that it’s been somewhat limited, either by hardware or platform or the opportunity to physically connect to a truck. Now, Daimler Truck North America is signaling a future where connections are all wireless.

The recently unveiled Virtual Vehicle allows connection to truck data via the cloud, WiFi or Bluetooth. It is the primary way that third-party applications will integrate with DTNA vehicles in virtually every fashion, from driver training to diagnostics. So what does that mean for the tried-and-true J1939?

“Before we had the J1939, but in the future it’s all going to be in the cloud, WiFi or Bluetooth,” said Sanjiv Khurana, general manager, connected services group, Daimler Truck North America (DTNA). “Think about safety systems like active lane assist and determining if a driver’s hands are on the steering wheel. Today, we know if a driver has their hands on the steering wheel and how long they hold it. Those signals are much easier to expose through Virtual Vehicle than to create additional signals on the J1939, which already has some technical limitations.”

For now, Khurana noted that J1939 will still exist on DTNA trucks.

“J1939 will continue, absolutely, for existing legacy hardware and applications,” he confirmed. “The point is, in the future, using this Virtual Vehicle technology allows us to offer those signals and data in a much more robust, secure environment and allows the developers to take those signals and without having to plug in and worry about how you retrofit devices and solutions in thousands of trucks. It’s available in the cloud.”

“The simplest way to think about it from the outside in is that there’s a vehicle provided by, in this case, DTNA. There are applications from any number of providers. And everything in the middle is Virtual Vehicle,” explained Jack Kennedy, CEO and founder, Platform Science. “What the fleet needs to access, manage, provide data to application developers, and then publish those applications, that’s in Virtual Vehicle. What the driver needs to do with their device to view, utilize and touch those applications, that’s Virtual Vehicle. And what developers need to do to access the APIs to publish their things to the fleet portal is Virtual Vehicle. There’s a truck, there are apps, and we’re everything in the middle.”

For a deeper look at how Virtual Vehicle works and the solutions it enables, click below:

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