Navigation is the next step after job orders and loads are optimally routed in the office and wirelessly dispatched to a mobile app for drivers.
In October, 2015, Omnitracs announced the addition of navigation to its portfolio, but not by way of acquisition. It developed a new product internally, starting in Dec. 2014 by using some of the intellectual property acquired from Roadnet. The development team was led by Rick Turek, chief navigation scientist, and has since grown to 20 people.
The new Omnitracs Navigation app collects truck route data from more than 250,000 customers that use the Omnitracs mobile computing systems and from both traditional and real-time data sources like traffic and weather. The app also brings driver feedback into the data-editing process with updates sent to the unit automatically.
“We want to address the issues with navigation in the trucking industry, the biggest being stale data,” says Turek. “Driver experience is poorer with old data, and we are focusing our energy on trying to solve that.”
In many ways, navigation is the central component for executing the planned routes, as the plan is simplified down to a turn-by-turn basis. It also helps when all of the elements in a route plan — the distances, road speeds, travel times, etc. — are consistent between the software in the office and the cab, which is another reason why technology companies want to offer fleets a common, integrated platform.
While owned by Trimble, ALK Technologies has an extensive integration kit for its CoPilot Truck navigation app that can be used by any third party mobile software provider. The integration capabilities allow a developer of electronic logging and telematics applications, for example, to use CoPilot as the driver interface while the vehicle is in motion while displaying dispatch messages, hours of service, driver performance and other information in pop-up tiles.
This integration improves safety by not requiring drivers to toggle through screens while the vehicle is in motion, says Dan Popkin, senior vice president of enterprise solutions for ALK Technologies.