Navistar teases big plans for OnCommand Connection

SD Staff

April 10, 2018

OnCommand ConnectionSometime later this year, Navistar will begin installing the OnCommand Connection telematics in its Class-8 products at the factory, which include the International LoneStar, ProStar and the LT Series trucks.

The embedded technology will be capturing data to power its remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance service, explains Terry Kline, Navistar’s senior vice president and chief information officer. But that is not all the company has in mind.

An integration hub

Navistar is currently in the process of developing new applications that customers who run International trucks and other brands can use to optimize their vehicle configurations and driving behaviors in the areas of shifting, accelerating, braking and more, he says.

OnCommand Connection will be a central integration hub for connected vehicle functions and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as well. As a truck OEM, offering ADAS technology as factory-installed options has “quickly become table stakes in this business,” he says.

Navistar was the first truck OEM to offer the Bendix Wingman Fusion system as a factory installed option. The technology combines a suite of Bendix advanced safety technologies — radar, camera, the vehicle’s brake system and SafetyDirect — into a comprehensive driver assistance system.

Navistar OnCommand TruckKline says he can “easily see a future” where OnCommand Connection will notify fleets instantly if a driver has lane departure events that are indicative of fatigued or distracted driving, for example, “so that someone can intervene.”

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OnCommand Connection will be able to capture video and data from the Bendix system and other cameras on the vehicle, he adds. Users will be able to retrieve event footage through an online portal and consolidate their subscriptions for telematics and video-based safety systems.

“We view OnCommand Connection as the connection to the vehicle for those data points on safety, lane departure and collision avoidance,” he says.

The platform has already come a long way from where it started. In 2013, OnCommand Connection was launched to be a remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance service that relied on integrations with aftermarket telematics systems like Omnitracs, PeopleNet and Geotab to retrieve data from vehicles.

In 2017, Navistar rolled out its own aftermarket telematics platform with the same name, OnCommand Connection. With this development, fleets with International Trucks and models from other OEMs could expand the platform to include fleet management and an ELD application. Navistar’s ELD application uses its telematics device that wirelessly connects to tablets or smartphones for the driver display.

Semi-TruckFrom the start, OnCommand Connection has been pulling remote diagnostics data in from any make or model of vehicle. Similarly, the telematics platform will be capturing driver safety and performance data from any vehicle and from third-party ADAS systems, he says.

“We have been successful for a long time pulling data from different trucks into one screen,” he says. “Most fleets don’t own one truck (brand) so we do not have any reason to not continue the same strategy.”

Remote vehicle inspections

Navistar is now in conversations with top-tier ADAS suppliers to utilize their data to provide fleets with analytics in an online fleet management dashboard. The dashboard will add value for customers, he says, as will in-cab driver coaching and remote vehicle inspection reporting.

“What we’ve learned is that drivers don’t mind being coached by a computer. They just do not want to be coached by their boss,” he says.

By having its own telematics platform in vehicles, Navistar plans to offer driver coaching tools and automated driver vehicle inspection reporting. The latter feature is made possible by electronically measuring and testing various systems and sensors on the vehicle such as tire pressures and lighting systems.

OnCommand Connection is already able to remotely test 60 to 70 percent of the items in the standard DOT driver vehicle inspection report, he says.

“The driver of today is not mechanically inclined,” he says. “Today, younger drivers don’t expect to have to look at stuff to see if it’s OK to drive.”

Volkswagen, a major shareholder of Navistar, has a telematics company, RIO, that is assisting with development of OnCommand Connection to have a common hardware and software platform for International Trucks, he says.

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