Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a new Actros or Arocs with Multimedia Cockpit interactive will find themselves just a click away from an innovative, fully networked world of vehicles, drivers and logistics: an overview of all the installed apps is accessible simply by pressing “Connect” on the main screen of the instrument panel touchscreen. Transport companies can use the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal to make the most of the new networking opportunities available and to equip their trucks with efficiency- and comfort-enhancing apps.

The Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal offers three types of apps: the in-house apps from Daimler, which include apps from Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Fleetboard, the selected apps from third-party providers, for example for the digital handling of processes or the handling of transport requests, and the apps from the customer. Using these apps, it is possible to effectively integrate the truck into the digital business processes of the transport company. The aim is always to make the everyday life of drivers, dispatchers and fleet managers easier.

Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal: open platform for the use of apps
The new Actros and Arocs vehicles are now offering an open platform for using apps. The customer is thus not only purchasing a truck with Multimedia Cockpit interactive, but also acquiring the technical requirements to the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal. This can then be used for the customer’s entire fleet, including models from other manufacturers. Until recently, it was often necessary to install new hardware and software in the cab in order to use fleet management or transport management systems in the truck. The introduction of the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal should motivate customers to develop their own apps or to use existing apps, such as Fleetboard, and integrate these into the vehicle. Transport companies can thus tailor their app portfolio to requirements, while regularly installing updates.

Developer Portal supports customers, partners and third-party providers with the integration of apps
Not only the customer, but also industry partners and app developers can provide useful apps for the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal. There are plenty of options: for example, apps that support the driver when it comes to loading safety or the processing of freight documents, or even apps that help the driver complete legally required training, not in the classroom but in the truck itself. In the corresponding Developer Portal, interested partners and developers will find all the information they need about the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal, as well as how to submit an app.

The Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal works with the Android operating system, because most apps within the transport sector are Android-based. Also good to know: as the vehicle manufacturer is most commonly responsible for hosting such a platform, all apps are subjected to a security check by the experts at Daimler before they are available.

Simple management and integration of apps “over the air”
The apps in the truck are designed to support the drivers and dispatchers as they go about their daily business. They are installed in the vehicles by those responsible in the company operating the truck. Several logins may be assigned for this purpose. A fleet manager, for example, can manage the apps assigned to the vehicles from his desktop computer. From here, they can see which apps have been assigned to which vehicles and whether or not updates are available. The updates are installed and updated from the office in just a few steps “over the air”. The apps can be deleted again just as easily. The vehicle does not have to be present in either of these procedures

The “Fleetboard Driver” app makes good drivers even better
For more than 15 years, the digital experts at Mercedes-Benz Fleetboard have been providing telematics services for the efficient management of drivers, fleet and transport orders. Since it was founded, Fleetboard has collected specific vehicle data in real time using telematics, with the aim of improving truck efficiency. The system is already used around the world in 285,000 vehicles from 40 countries. And now the success story continues with the integration of the Fleetboard and third-party supplier apps into the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal.

The “Fleetboard Driver” app can be used by drivers to monitor their own driving performance, with the app sending data compiled by Fleetboard Time Management and Fleetboard Performance Analysis via the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal while on the road. On the one hand, the driver is kept constantly up-to-date with his current driving times and rest periods, including his respective weekly driving times and the driving time remaining until the next stop. On the other, driving performance from the last seven tours is given a score, with detailed marks assigned and important tips given for more fuel-efficient driving. Furthermore, the driver can also download the app to their smartphone, calling up relevant vehicle data such as mileage and fuel display when not in the vehicle with just the swipe of a finger.

Truck Data Center setting the stage for connectivity
Heart of Fleetboard and moreover the basis for further vehicle connectivity solutions in the new Actros and Arocs is the Truck Data Center, an approximately A5-sized networking module. Based on the internationally standardised electric/electronic architecture, it will be installed across the various Daimler Trucks brands. Through the constant communication of all networked systems on board, several gigabytes of data will be generated per truck each day. The Truck Data Center receives the data from the sensors, cameras and control units in the truck and analyses them for different applications.

At the same time, it represents the interface for all external networking services: the module emulates the operating concept of a modern smartphone by relying on Bluetooth or 4G signals to communicate with the infrastructure, with other vehicles and with other participants in the logistical process.

Mercedes-Benz Uptime increases vehicle availability thanks to telediagnostics
The Truck Data Center not only forms the basis for the numerous Fleetboard services, but also for Mercedes-Benz Uptime, the service for sustainably increasing vehicle availability. Mercedes-Benz Uptime combines intelligent vehicle networking with intensive customer support, providing the customers of Mercedes-Benz Trucks with an innovative service product. The aim is to have the trucks out on the road for as long as possible and to complete all transport orders reliably. Workshop appointments need to be kept to a minimum and planned more efficiently. In order to avoid breakdowns, the need for any repairs is recognised early on and, with consideration given to operational planning, the customer supported in arranging an unplanned workshop appointment.

In order for all this to be possible, the fully automatic telediagnostics from Mercedes-Benz Uptime continuously monitors the status of the truck’s systems in real time. The data is interpreted, critical states identified and recommended action given. If required, the customer is immediately provided with an individual solution which has been optimally coordinated with the respective route planning and vehicle status.

Saving both time and money with the intelligent processes from Mercedes-Benz Uptime
In most cases, Mercedes-Benz Uptime manages to automatically send its recommendations within 240 seconds of the incident occurring to the Customer Assistance Center (CAC), the Mercedes-Benz service partner and the fleet customer portal. The recommendation includes information relating to the failure event and possible functional restrictions. It supports the workshop by providing diagnostic and repair instructions for the planning and implementation of the work required. At the 1500 plus Mercedes-Benz retail outlets across Europe who are certified for Mercedes-Benz Uptime, this shortens the diagnosis time for the initial test in the workshop by a factor of up to three, thus saving time and money. Recent experience has shown that, with the majority of Mercedes-Benz Uptime vehicles, unscheduled workshop visits have already been reduced by over half thanks to early fault detection.

Even where routine maintenance work is involved, customers are able to better plan their appointments thanks to Mercedes-Benz Uptime. For example, the system identifies the wear parts that need to be replaced and in which truck they are found, bundling and preparing this work to perfection. Finally, by detecting problems early on and, where possible, efficiently scheduling these workshop appointments, Mercedes-Benz Uptime is increasing efficiency and vehicle availability for customers.

Increasing integration of coupled trailer components
As maximum vehicle availability not only relies on the technical condition of the towing vehicle but also that of the trailer, Mercedes-Benz Uptime has also been monitoring possible faults at the coupled trailer for the past year, providing customers with the corresponding information. This includes, for example, indicating excessively low tyre pressure on the trailer or a tear in the brakepads. These functions are only possible, however, once the trailer has been equipped with sensors for air pressure or brakepad wear.

Last but not least, the cost-reducing impact of Mercedes-Benz Uptime has allowed for particularly favourable service rates and is an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz Complete, Select and SelectPlus Service Contracts.

All in all: The new Actros and Arocs with Multimedia Cockpit interactive, the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal and the Truck Data Center, offer connectivity at its best. The transport companies benefit from the integration of the truck in their business processes and the drivers are supported in real time as they go about their daily business behind the wheel.

Source: Daimler AG