Digital tachograph: the data allrounder

A new digital subtenant will be moving into the driver’s cab – a tachograph of the newest generation. The modern trip recorder is fully networked and provides many new applications.

Starting in mid-2019, the digital tachograph (DTCO) will be mandatory for all newly registered trucks. This regulation is stipulated in EU Regulation 165/2014. The DTCO devices are intelligent and fully networked. The use of state-of-the-art software, sensor technology, and communication technology allows the new digital tachographs to exchange data in a variety of ways. It is based on functionalities such as:

  • the DSRC interface (Dedicated Short Range Communication),
  • the connection to the global satellite system, and
  • interoperability.

The DSRC interface makes it possible to transfer the vehicle’s basic data to other systems within seconds. This can be information about speed, technical information about the vehicle, or about the driver.

With its satellite connection, the exact geographical position of the truck is logged at the start and end of a journey as well as being recorded every three hours while driving. In addition, the system can accuratly report the position every second if desired. However, the driver must agree to the use of of the latter feature.

Interoperability – meaning the exchange of data with other systems – is taken to a new level by the ITS interface (Intelligent Transportation Systems): The tachograph is able to provide more than 50 individual data points for telematics systems.

Tachograph with new services

The tachograph thus reduces costly and time-consuming checks; driving and rest times can literally be checked in passing. However, the power of the new device generation enables completely new applications. For example there are parking services conceivable in which the system books a parking space for the truck in advance at a location that the vehicle is going to reach in a precalculated timespan. This eliminates the drivers’ stress of having to search for a parking slot shortly before expiration of legitimate driving time.

In addition, data is now available for more accurate drafting of lease or insurance contracts and their respective policies reflecting actual vehicle usage or driver behavior.

The position and time information might also be used for payroll purposes – calculating, for example, night surcharges or expenses.


Source: YouTube/VDO Automotive Deutschland

More exact toll calculation

Authorities can also benefit from the technical innovation. Thus, the tachograph is suitable to take country-specific toll regulations into account. And even more: Recorded by sensors, the actual axle load – not only the number of axles – could serve as the baseline to compute tolls. High weight and thus high wear and tear of the roads could thereby determined more effectively.

Trust through data security and privacy for the drivers

Of course, the question of data security and protection is also urgent due to this diverse data exchange. Hence the new tachographs are equipped with high-quality encryption technology, employing powerful cryptographic methods. Any attempt to violate procedures is documented by the system. This ensures authentic and trusted telematics data.

In addition there is a “Privacy Button”. By pressing that, driving personnel consent to the processing of the data generated  in downstream systems. Accordingly, within the ITS interface is an integrated feature which ensures that fleet and transport management systems only work with shared data. This method complies with the EU Data Protection Directive.

The versatility of the new tachograph marks a turnaround in logistics for freight forwarders, their drivers, and even the authorities, opening up new deployment options.

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