PHILADELPHIA – Detroit Connect has introduced new features for its Virtual Technician remote diagnostic system, including a new portal that lets users dig deeper into the data, and for some 2017 models the ability to "flash" software updates and parameter changes to the truck over the air.

“Intelligent connectivity is at the core of what we are offering to drivers and fleet managers,” said Matt Pfaffenbach, director, telematics for Daimler Trucks North America. “By adding new technologies that provide more meaningful insights and visibility, we are further contributing to increased uptime, safety and efficiency.”

A new portal will provide Detroit Connect users additional information about overall fleet health, as well as enable them to take a deeper dive into specific fault events communicated via Virtual Technician. The portal, available on all Freightliner and Western Star models with Detroit engines, will also allow users to view and archive Detroit Diesel Engine Control (DDEC) reports, which use diagnostics to further analyze driver and vehicle performance.

The portal, which will serve as the access point for all services offered by Detroit Connect, will also include options for communications, reporting and subscription management customization.

Detroit Connect is piloting the portal with select customers beginning now, through early 2016, with an anticipated rollout to all customers by spring 2016.

“Every customer has different concerns and ways of analyzing and acting on fault information, so we developed the portal to specifically make the fault information as manageable and consumable for every priority,” said Pfaffenbach.

Over-the-air updates

Farther down the road but perhaps more exciting, DTNA is developing a new telematics platform that will be available on select truck models in 2017. The platform will have new connected vehicle communications hardware that can be used globally. This will enable integration with third-party applications, and will reduce the need for additional hardware.

The new telematics platform – which will use cellular service connectivity – will mark the introduction of flash over-the-air capabilities for Detroit, including remote vehicle parameter settings, remote downloading of DDEC reports, and remote flashing of firmware for electronic controllers.

"To me this is overdue," said DTNA CEO Martin Daum. "You don’t go to the Apple Store every time you update an app, so why expect it from the truck?"

Pfaffenbach noted that fleets will also have the ability to do parameter updates, such as changing the mph limit on speed govenors. "i also hear from fleets that they want confirmation that the vehicle in operation is as it was configured, that someone has not messed with the paramaters, and this technology will give them the ability to do that," he said.

“Vehicle connectivity is going to continue to have a significant impact on how customers do business, and DTNA will continue to push the envelope to be part of that evolution,” said Pfaffenbach.