Apply telematics to cars: Billoo

Existing fleet management devices are "totally inadequate" and telematics should be extended to all vehicles, according to technology provider

By Brad Gardner | September 29, 2010

Existing fleet management devices are "totally inadequate", according to a technology provider, which says telematics should not be limited to heavy vehicles.

Netherlands-based telematics provider Billoo has urged the National Transport Commission (NTC) to support a shift away from existing electronic monitoring tools used by trucking companies.

Responding to the NTC’s draft in-vehicle telematics strategy, Billoo product development officer Jean-Marie Carrara claims the tools are not capable of tracking a large number of trucks.

"Fleet management solutions can only monitor a restricted number of vehicles that exchange information, at slow frequency, with a server. It is for this reason that all existing fleet management solutions are totally inadequate," Carrara says.

According to Billoo, devices must be able to exchange information at high frequency – on average once a minute – and process data for all vehicles on the road network in real time.

"In addition, the road transport sector cannot be considered in isolation without due consideration for the other vehicles making use of the road," Carrara says.

"For this reason, in-vehicle telematics would have to be extended to all vehicular traffic and across all road networks if it is to be seen to be effective."

The NTC is currently receiving feedback on its Draft National In-Vehicle Telematics Strategy released in June this year.

The strategy is aimed at encouraging trucking operators to move from paper-based to electronic reporting to improve compliance, efficiency and productivity.

The NTC says it wants 90 percent of trucking operators using monitoring tools by 2030.

The Australian Trucking Association supports the use of telematics, but wants any scheme to remain voluntary and for operators to be free to use their existing systems.

The NTC has recommended a national voluntary scheme in its draft proposal and says governments should provide policy certainty and leave the development of solutions to the private sector.

"If a national strategy is adopted, the NTC believes more businesses, including smaller operators, will be encouraged to invest because there will be clear and consistent government policy in this area," NTC Senior Manager of Safety Dr Jeff Potter says.

It says any mandatory monitoring program must be subjected to an evaluation of risks and cost-benefits.

However, some of the biggest names in transport want compulsory GPS devices for long-distance operations to monitor driver fatigue and speed.

Toll, Linfox and Asciano claim mandatory tracking will improve safety and compliance because fatigue management and speed are the major causes of truck accidents.

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