Don’t Like Factory-Installed Apps and Software? Truck Maker Freightliner Says Bring Your Own

Owners of Freightliner Cascadia big rigs can now equip them with their choice of software and apps, using the new Virtual Vehicle subscription service announced Tuesday (Nov. 9), Freightliner’s parent company, Daimler Trucks North America, (DTNA) and internet-of-things (IoT) company Platform Science announced.

An open platform, Virtual Vehicle enables fleet owners to access telematics, software solutions, real-time vehicle data and third-party applications directly from their vehicle. It will be available as a monthly subscription.

“The system is seamlessly enabled in our trucks,” Sanjiv Khurana, head of the connected services group at Daimler Truck, said in a press release, “without the need for installing any additional telematics hardware, or the associated costs and loss of uptime.”

Enabling Fleet Owners to Bring Their Own

Telematics systems help fleet managers monitor their drivers’ safety practices and prevent roadside breakdowns and other mechanical problems, PYMNTS has reported. They collect the vast amount of data generated by today’s commercial trucks, analyze it and share it through a portal.

With Virtual Vehicle, fleet owners can choose third-party apps, mix or match telematics service provider applications or bring their own, DTNA and Platform Science said. They can also use the platform to manage the mobile devices drivers use without having to install or change on-vehicle mobile gateways or telematics units.

“Before Virtual Vehicle, [original equipment manufacturers], enterprise fleets and developers were restricted in their ability to innovate because hardware and software were so interconnected,” said Jack Kennedy, co-founder and CEO of Platform Science. “It was difficult to change one without impacting the other. Virtual Vehicle finally unlocks that.”

Beyond Sales and Service

DTNA notes that the launch of Virtual Vehicle is another example of its expanding solutions that go beyond vehicle sales and service.

In another move that signals a shift for enterprise vehicle makers, rival PACCAR recently launched a global connected truck platform that it will fit into its Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF brands. As reported by PYMNTS, the company began installing PACCAR Connect in October.

“PACCAR’s new, proprietary Connect system increases customer value, increases PACCAR’s recurring revenue and is part of [our] digital transformation,” PACCAR CEO R. Preston Feight said during an Oct. 26 earnings call.