Ryder to help create ‘smart’ trucks

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Ryder System announced Wednesday, July 5, that it has entered into an alliance with Teletrac and Cingular Wireless to launch RydeSmart, an advanced onboard telematics technology designed to improve vehicle uptime, driver efficiency, highway safety and cargo security, and provide real-time tracking of customer fleet operations.

Following an initial pilot now under way in a limited geographic area, RydeSmart is expected to be expanded to customers across North America in multiple phases through 2007. The pilot includes more than 5,000 vehicles assigned to specific customers in a range of industries, including food and beverage, textiles, and building and construction materials.

RydeSmart leverages Ryder’s industry buying power and fleet size of more than 160,000 vehicles with Teletrac’s integrated global positioning system, wireless data and microchip technologies, and Cingular’s nationwide coverage area. Cingular has the nation’s largest digital wireless data network, with availability in 13,000 cities and towns, and along some 40,000 miles of major highways.

“We have developed extensive intellectual capital and highly refined processes around maximizing the efficiency of our customers’ transportation functions,” says Tony Tegnelia, president of U.S. fleet management solutions for Miami-based Ryder. “Since the 1980s, we have utilized onboard telematics to achieve high levels of transportation precision and tracking, primarily for customers whose high-value shipments necessitated a significant onboard technology investment. This new alliance brings together three world-class providers to make state-of the-art RydeSmart technology affordable to improve the performance of businesses of all sizes in every industry.”

RydeSmart is a compact hardware and software unit that is installed into a truck and connected to the vehicle’s existing computer and diagnostics systems. The unit is designed to continuously monitor the vehicle’s location, mileage and speed, as well as other performance and diagnostic data; that information is communicated every 15 minutes and on-demand, as necessary, via a dedicated and secure connection with the Cingular network to fleet operators’ desktops.

Customers can utilize RydeSmart to access real-time online vehicle fleet data and other business performance-enhancing features, including view of vehicle location at all times; view of driver routes and performance; and continuous monitoring of vehicle data, including automated transmittal of odometer readings to replace trip records for fuel tax and vehicle licensing regulatory compliance.

According to Ryder, integrated GPS capabilities also enable RydeSmart to help customers locate vehicles in case of emergency and provide central dispatch capabilities, enabling customers to assign pickups and deliveries using the closest available vehicles. Collectively, its features and benefits provide a built-in continuous improvement program for fleet operators, which enables them to continuously monitor and refine route design, enhance efficiency and increase the satisfaction of their customers, the company says.