Tech roundup: new developments aim to improve driver experience

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Updated Sep 28, 2020

Technology providers, especially those playing a role in hours of service compliance, have been busy updating their products for rule changes that take effect Sept. 29. In a larger sense, the announcements of this past week focus on how technology can significantly improve the work experience for drivers.

The EROAD Go+ driver workflow app has a new turn-by-turn navigation system from HERE Technologies.The EROAD Go+ driver workflow app has a new turn-by-turn navigation system from HERE Technologies.

In addition to updating its ELD application, EROAD announced it has expanded a partnership with HERE Technologies to add HERE’s latest navigation technology to the EROAD Go+ mobile app for pickup-and-delivery workflow. The app connects with fleet transportation management systems for dispatch and proof-of-delivery data capture.

The navigation tool will automatically import assigned stops from EROAD Go+ and generate turn-by-turn truck-friendly routing that accounts for truck dimensions, vehicle weight, number of trailers and more. The navigation also will optimize driver routes for road attributes and traffic conditions.

“By working with HERE to integrate truck-friendly routing right into the daily workflow in EROAD Go, we’re making it easier for drivers to find the best routes, which means safer driving and fewer delays,” said Norm Ellis, president for EROAD North America.

Truck parking is a critical part of route and trip planning, and Chicago-based TruckPark announced a new Enterprise Booking System (EBS) called TruckPark Reserve that it says will enable fleet dispatchers to make multiple parking reservations.

The company said the new platform offers a guarantee that each parking spot will be available when the driver arrives to park.

Joshua Walls, chief operating officer and co-founder for TruckPark, said the company is bringing on a number of fleets as customers, including Markham, Illinois-based DVL Express.

“DVL Express is excited to partner with TruckPark on this new initiative,” said Max Borisov, operations manager for DVL Express. “It allows our drivers to be more productive with hours of service regs and route plan more efficiently.”

A better way to recruit

In addition to simplifying trip planning and navigation for drivers, recent technology developments are focusing on streamlining the recruiting process.

When drivers visit the website of U.S. Xpress, a virtual assistant provides immediate answers to guide them through the recruiting process.When drivers visit the website of U.S. Xpress, a virtual assistant provides immediate answers to guide them through the recruiting process.

U.S. Xpress (CCJ Top 250, No. 15) is using artificial intelligence (AI) to give interested job applicants answers during the recruiting process any time of day while they apply for jobs on their phones.

When someone comes to U.S. Xpress’ career site or texts a number to look for a job, an AI assistant with a name offers recommended positions based on details a candidate shares via chat.

If someone wants to apply, the assistant can capture their information and screen the candidate in real time. If someone meets key requirements, that candidate is fast-tracked by automatically scheduling them for an interview through direct API integration with the company’s other software platforms.

Jacob Kramer, vice president of talent acquisition for Chattanooga, Tennessee-based U.S. Xpress, said the company didn’t want to stop at simplicity. It also wanted to ensure every candidate who applied felt welcome and included.

To that end, U.S. Xpress and Paradox collaborated on an algorithm that leverages geotargeting and real-time personalization. In a fraction of a second, the AI technology can automatically recognize the user’s location and personalize the assistant to best navigate which job opportunities are the correct fit.

“Our goal was to ensure every driver who’s interested in working with us feels included and represented, starting with the technology they interact with and continuing throughout the hiring and employment process,” said Kramer.

As U.S. Xpress continues to digitize its processes, the company also is adding assets to the vHub trailer repositioning and sharing marketplace.

“We are constantly repositioning equipment to provide efficient and reliable service to customers,” said Joe Pricer, vice president of OTR operations for U.S. Xpress. “vHub presents an opportunity to find users to reposition equipment and eliminate the cost of moving trailers back into our network.”

vHub is a growing community with more than 40,000 registered trailers that turns unused trailers into revenue-generating equipment by making them available to short-term users in a digital platform. Search results in the online platform can be sorted by location, routes and destinations, as well as the number of rental days that a trailer is needed or available. vHub creates a legally binding rental contract, handles invoicing and payments and transfers rental funds to trailer owners.

Reaching new milestones

As telematics and other fleet management technologies continue to be more driver-focused, Verizon Connect announced it has been ranked No. 1 in innovation for fleet management systems globally, according to the Commercial Telematics Vendors Competitive Ranking report from analyst firm ABI Research.

Criteria and considerations for the innovation category include preventive maintenance, prognostics and analytics; vehicle, driver and cargo monitoring; open platforms; features; technology development; user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

Also, Trucker Tools said that its free Trucker Tools Mobile Driver App has surpassed 1 million downloads among independent owner-operators and small fleets.

The app has 17 tools and features for truckers to manage their business while on the road that include: Smart Capacity for predictive freight-matching and load visibility; an automated Book-It-Now “one-click” booking tool; automated load tracking; digital document management; and “on the road” support features such as a fuel and route optimizer, a truck stop guide, rest areas and an overnight parking locator.

Among the freight brokerage firms that have adopted the Trucker Tools platform are Schneider, Werner Enterprises, Choptank Transport, ARL Logistics, Kingsgate Logistics, Blue Grace Logistics and Ryder System.