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Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks 4/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings 4/19/2019 Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels 4/17/2019 Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business 4/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise 4/12/2019 Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need 4/10/2019 Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border 4/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules 4/5/2019 Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates 4/3/2019 Don't get scammed by skimmers 4/1/2019 Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking 3/29/2019 Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers 3/27/2019 Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy 3/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap 3/22/2019 Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising 3/20/2019 FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website 3/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award 3/15/2019 The hidden danger of looking but not seeing 3/13/2019 Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout 3/11/2019 3/9/2019 3/9/2019 Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire 3/8/2019 Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases 3/6/2019 Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness 3/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports 3/1/2019 New tax changes hit drivers hard 2/27/2019 FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military 2/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use 2/22/2019 Congress committee looks at state of America's highways 2/20/2019 Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same 2/18/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks 2/15/2019 Detention - A problem still in search of a solution 2/13/2019 February Highway Angels honorees named 2/11/2019 Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets 2/8/2019 Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage? 2/6/2019 Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage 2/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team 2/1/2019 Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly 1/30/2019 California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards 1/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers 1/25/2019 LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30 1/23/2019 2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry 1/21/2019 Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018 3/28/2018 TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award 3/7/2018 TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year 2/28/2018 Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers 2/26/2018 New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018 1/11/2018 Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup 12/21/2017 Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks 12/12/2017 Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017 12/8/2017 Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way 8/10/2017 Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road 7/18/2017 Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach 7/13/2017 Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal 7/6/2017 Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice 6/29/2017 The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers 6/15/2017 The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017 6/8/2017 We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better 5/30/2017 Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon 5/25/2017

Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates

Dave Wickenhauser on Wed, April 3, 2019

Last Updated: Mon, April 15, 2019

A supplement to Volvo’s Remote Programming, the new Parameter Plus Package, leverages Volvo’s factory-built embedded telematics platform and allows over-the-air (OTA) updates to be completed during a short meal or operational break virtually anywhere cellular connection is available.

has upped the ante in electronic connectivity with its new Parameter Plus Package addon to its existing Remote Programming feature; which now allows over-the-air updates to a large number of functions, all within the time a driver takes to eat a meal.

This new feature will save drivers and truck companies from having to make expensive and time-consuming trips to service centers. Each vehicle can download up to 50 parameter updates annually.

The new technology was announced by Daimler in a March 15 press release.

“The Parameter Plus Package is a notable example of Volvo Trucks’ emphasis on delivering connectivity solutions dedicated to maximizing uptime for customers,” said Ashraf Makki, product marketing manager at Volvo Trucks North America. “Providing the opportunity to complete numerous parameter updates remotely per year is fundamental for certain customers to ensure their fleets reach peak performance and uptime potential.”

The new system maximizes uptime and helps maintain firm cost control, Daimler announced. Powertrain updates can be completed in under 20 minutes, and parameter updates can be done in less that 10 minutes.

Examples of the kinds of updates this new addon will do include switching between operating modes to maximize truck performance depending on the type of hauls that are being made. These updates can balance fuel usage and performance, maximize fuel efficiency and reconfigure for maximum road speeds.

Programming can be changed to alter the transmission or engine parameters to accommodate for a different class of haul, like switching between dry van to liquid tankers, or for running different kinds of routes, ie, flat land running or mountainous routes, or for running across international borders to accommodate for different speed limits.

In addition to changing maximum cruising speeds, a popular request by drivers has been to be able to adjust the idle shutoff time. This OTA update can quickly handle that, altering those parameters in real time to allow longer idling for more comfort in extremely hot or cold weather.

This system can operate anywhere a cellular connection is available. The built-in telematics platform already reduces diagnostic times by 70 percent, and repair time by 25 percent.

Right now, there are nearly 122,000 Volvo trucks with the electronic platform that can accept the Parameter Plus Package addon. Last year about 1,300 trucks received this new upgrade, and Volvo says that today some 16,000 Volvo trucks are benefitting from the OTA update capabilities.

“We are excited to provide customers with this new offering and look forward to continued collaboration with professional drivers and fleet managers to deliver innovative technologies that maximize uptime and enhance productivity,” said Makki.

“Combining OTA updates with the new Parameter Plus Package presents fleets with potential to save several thousand dollars annually. The opportunities this technology creates and the benefits it produces are truly groundbreaking, and this is just the beginning. Volvo will continue to develop and implement advanced vehicle connectivity in pursuit of its goal of a more connected future.”

Some other truck manufacturers are getting onboard with the OTA technology. Tesla was an early innovator, offering OTA updates to its electric vehicles and SUVs in 2012.

So far, in addition to Volvo, truck makers implementing this technology include Mack Truck, Daimler and Navistar International Corp.

The OTA system started being used in Mack Trucks in 2017, allowing Mack owners to avoid some 1,900 days of downtime.

Interestingly, the Navistar system to be included in its A26 engines by this June will be able to download updates not only by cellular but also by WiFi, and will have the capability to update truck parameters on the go. The first time the driver stops at a safe location, the update status will be displayed on the truck's instrument panel.

Manufacturers are taking longer to adopt this new technology for trucks than for personal vehicles because so many components of a truck still require manual adjustments. But as truck innovators like Volvo begin implementing more digital components linked to the truck's engine and body control modules, the OTA updates begin to be more possible.

“With this technology, there is no need to delay important calibrations that improve engine performance, fuel economy or reliability,” Joe Edmonds, Navistar project manager for connected services, told Trucks.com.

One concern while innovating this new over-the-air updating technology has been the risk of hackers introducing malware or viruses. That's why at least two other truck manufacturers, Kenworth Truck Company and Peterbilt Manufacturing Company, are taking a wait-and-see approach to implementing the new technology.

Toward that end, cybersecurity protection programs are available that will scan the source code throughout the OTA system, and the truck's control modules can be shielded and separated from the vehicle's public WiFi network.

Daimler, maker of Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz trucks, shares cybersecurity information globally between its North American, European and Asian subsidiaries, and hires hackers to try to penetrate the system when an OTA update is taking place.

Sources: Volvo Trucks, Trucks.com

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