Virtual Vehicle will enhance the driver's in-cab experience as well as make it easier for fleets...

Virtual Vehicle will enhance the driver's in-cab experience as well as make it easier for fleets to manage data, apps, and telematics, according to the company.

Photo: Daimler Trucks North America

Daimler Trucks North America's new Virtual Vehicle will make it easier for fleets to manage their telematics, vehicle data, and apps with a factory-installed open telematics platform.

The company teamed up with Platform Science (a connected-vehicle platform) to launch Virtual Vehicle, an open OEM platform that lets fleets access telematics, software solutions, real-time vehicle data, and third-party applications directly from their vehicles.

In addition, the platform provides the tools to manage those applications, connectivity, and the mobile devices drivers need to use them.

According to DTNA, Virtual Vehicle represents a platform-first approach that provides customers greater value and a significantly expanded choice of software-enabled services.

“With Virtual Vehicle, we offer our customers an open digital solutions and services platform that allows them to choose fleet applications that best meet their needs,” said Sanjiv Khurana, head of the connected services group at Daimler Truck. “The system is seamlessly enabled in our trucks, without the need for installing any additional telematics hardware, or the associated costs and loss of uptime. Through our collaboration with Platform Science, we are building on the strong connectivity already integrated into our trucks, and offering unprecedented flexibility, efficiency and scalability.”

The new platform enhances the driver experience by offering nearly limitless software-enabled and ROI-enhancing applications, according to the company. Its cloud, edge, and in-dash technology offers native in-vehicle mobile technology, so customers can easily distribute, manage and enable driver applications and connected vehicle services.

The platform gives fleets the flexibility to choose third-party apps, mix or match telematics service provider applications, or bring their own. This allows truck buyers to customize their experiences down to an app-by-app and driver-by-driver level for the first time, and to create in-cab technology experiences that best suit their specific business objectives, then evolve them whenever they choose to do so. 

Through its developer toolkit, Virtual Vehicle unleashes the potential for third-party developers to create apps that can benefit fleets and drivers. Virtual Vehicle provides the tools needed to manage the mobile devices that come and go from the vehicle, without having to install or change on-vehicle mobile gateways or telematics units.

“Before Virtual Vehicle, OEMs, enterprise fleets, and developers were restricted in their ability to innovate because hardware and software were so interconnected. It was difficult to change one without impacting the other,” said Jack Kennedy, co-founder and CEO of Platform Science. “Virtual Vehicle finally unlocks that. Fleets can now choose software anytime they want, without the inconvenience and wasted investment in hardware that customers have historically had to deal with just to get new apps.”

Virtual Vehicle is another example of DTNA’s expanding solutions that go beyond vehicle sales and service. Virtual Vehicle is currently available on Freightliner Cascadias manufactured Sept. 9, 2019, or later and will be available as a monthly subscription.

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