fits conveniently into the ODB Port under the driver-side dash in most vehicles.
There is a wealth of information being stored in modern cars, with onboard diagnostic (OBD) computers able to monitor engine details and troubleshoot problems quickly. An advantage is that with a simple plug-in device, operators can access the car’s information in real time, and accumulate long-term statistics to help them better manage their fleets.
One such compact device is Car Chip Connect, which fits under the dash plugged into the ODB port. For limo operators, the safety alert features enhance the ability to manage fleets and chauffeurs. Car Chip measures how hard chauffeurs press on the accelerator and brake pedal, and even registers the G-forces when turning or cornering. The operator designates thresholds for unsafe actions. Whenever chauffeurs drive the vehicles past the set limits, the device immediately notifies the operator.
Car Chip uploads its data instantly onto the cloud, so operators can access reports on driving data anywhere, anytime. The driving behavior is catalogued and scored, with chauffeurs marked as green for a good record, yellow with some infractions, and red as multiple safety violations. Mark Barrett, director of sales at Davis Instruments, which manufactures Car Chip, says that in addition to safety, Car Chip also lets operators know who is driving most efficiently, and lowers operating costs in the field. “The reports help you identify your chauffeurs as to who is driving well, and who you maybe need to talk to,” he says. “Safety and efficiency go hand-and-hand. Safer drivers are usually the most efficient.”
The compact unit is no more than 2-½-inches, and has an in-cabin alert system (with on/off switch) that beeps if the chauffeur makes an infraction, which could be useful during chauffeur training runs.
Connect Car And Fleets
Vehicle trip recording has come a long way. Early adapters in the 1990s literally had magnets around the drive shaft to record how fast it was rotating to log vehicle speeds. Now, with plenty of onboard diagnostic information, there is more data than ever to be analyzed for fleet efficiency.
“Idle time recording is another one that is popular with limo operators,” Barrett says. “For most cars, if you’re sitting idle for more than 20 seconds, then it’s more efficient to turn the vehicle off and restart it, and that can be something the operators can put into policy among their chauffeurs.”
GPS is another valuable tool in Car Chip, so operators can check the vehicle’s location at all times. There is even a once-a-day smog check, alerting operators anytime a vehicle’s emission slips below passing. “The Car Chip essentially makes it a connected car,” Barrett says. “It gives the vehicle its own communication.”
By tapping into the onboard diagnostics, the Car Chip registers the vehicle’s engine alerts and looks up the online troubleshoot index, so that if an engine light turns on, operators will be notified by email and given details on the problem.
“It could be something like the third cylinder is misfiring, or the coolant is low, and the email will tell you what’s going on so you have more information before you take it to the mechanic,” Barrett says.
For a monthly service fee, operators have access to a cloud-based account that compiles all their fleet driving data and organizes it into charts by various safety and efficiency criteria.
The limo industry is a new market for Davis Instruments and Car Chip. So far customers say they like the system. “Limos are big for us right now, it’s a new technology,” Barrett says. “We have fleets that range from 10 to 50 vehicles, and some are using them in all their cars and some just have a few. One of the nice things is you can easily move the device from vehicle to vehicle to compile different data across your fleet.”
Car Chip Connect
Service Category: fleet data software, fleet safety and efficiency
Location: Hayward, Calif.