Volvo Trucks North America discussed what’s next in its commitment toward Remote Programming as a driver of toward vehicle uptime Tuesday at ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting in Atlanta.
‘Vehicle uptime’ has been part of the Volvo’s brand strategy for more than two decades, and Remote Programming was added as one of its uptime initiatives last year for model year 2018 trucks featuring factory-installed connectivity hardware. Volvo describes Remote Programming as the ability for customers to perform over-the-air software and parameter updates anywhere in the U.S. and Canada where a cellular connection is available, and at the discretion of the vehicle’s decision maker.
More than 1,300 vehicles has received such updates since the program’s introduction, eliminating more than 600 days of downtime, the company says.
“Uptime isn’t just a marketing word we toss around lightly. It’s about the people, processes and technology we implement to meet our customer commitments,” says Conal Deedy, Volvo Trucks North America connectivity director. “Remote Programming is already delivering strong uptime improvements. We see great potential for further improving truck availability and the ownership experience as we build on the platform and capabilities we’ve developed over more than two decades.”
Deedy says Remote Programming has been successful because of its ease of use. Remote programming of software and parameter updates takes about 20 minutes, and thus far has been performed about half the time by drivers and half by fleet technicians during scheduled downtime or off hours.
In cases where cellular access is spotty or unavailable, Deedy says Remote Diagnostics will only begin when the entirety of an update has been downloaded to a vehicle, minimizing the risk of unscheduled downtime due to connectivity issues.
“We have the flexibility to make it fit into a customers business the way they want to do,” Deedy says. “We’ve received strong acceptance of the technology and update process from both drivers and fleet managers, who have truly embraced remote updates as a faster, more efficient way to help ensure trucks are updated with the latest software to support peak performance.”
Deedy also adds that Remote Programming can deliver parameter changes to the road speed configuration and allow owners to change between operating modes for optimal fuel efficiency, maximum performance, or a balance of fuel efficiency and performance.
Remote Programming comes standard with two updates per year for the first two years of ownership on a new Volvo truck. After that time, vehicles owners have the option to purchase subscriptions to the updating service.