Technology

Driving More Dollar$ With Data

Tom Holden
Posted on November 14, 2018

Onboard intelligent tracking systems can document data for a wide range of motorcoach functions, such as engine status and maintenance, vehicle and driver performance, and driver hours, all while communicating pre-set and customized alerts and notifications in real-time.
Onboard intelligent tracking systems can document data for a wide range of motorcoach functions, such as engine status and maintenance, vehicle and driver performance, and driver hours, all while communicating pre-set and customized alerts and notifications in real-time.
The names sound alike, and so do many of the advantages offered to motorcoach and bus operators. Saucon Technologies and Samsara, the two leading intelligent transportation systems for motorcoaches, use GPS fleet tracking, onboard video, and remote engine diagnostics to create internet and cloud-enabled products that can help your bus or limo fleet run leaner and save you time and money.

I recently took a closer look at these systems for a straightforward rundown of their technological attributes and functions.

SAUCON

Saucon Technologies brings plenty of options to the group transportation industry. It has been in business for 20 years — longer than any similar company. It offers a customizable option for its clients that allows each company to choose its display preferences and report types.

With Saucon’s asset monitoring feature, each vehicle will update automatically every two minutes, but can be set to update as often as every second. The asset monitoring feature provides various types of information such as: Driver sign on and sign off, unassigned movement, idle start and stop, speeding events, hard stop, and GPS data.

Saucon monitors your drivers for you, giving you a “driver performance report” with detailed information including: Run time, miles traveled, idle time score, GPS speeding score, posted speeding score, hard stop score, HOS violations score, and an overall score. This report also includes a line graph with a year’s worth of data. In this report, you can alter the dates to a more specific range, or even a more specific employee group.

Another way Saucon aids in tracking your fleet is by providing a report for all you need. It works alongside the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to ensure you stay updated with all the regulations. Saucon provides reports that help monitor your drivers’ use or personal conveyance and adverse conditions so you can ensure your drivers stay within the mandated regulations set. They also provide reports such as driver signature, which enables you to make sure your drivers are signing their logs daily. Other reports include: Driver approval report, driver edits, driver violations, driver HOS hours, bulk driver report, and many more. These reports provide information such as when a driver manually edits his log, has approved an administrative edit, and entered his hours of service. You can pull a full PDF file providing a detailed report for the driver’s previous day driven. Saucon can issue an alert any time a driver reaches maximum hours of service; drives above a posted speed limit; stops hard; idles excessively; or any other risky behaviors.

This alert can be sent immediately or once daily, but the customer sets the parameters. The alerts can be sent to multiple employees. For example, if a driver is approaching his work hours for the day, a company can set an email alert for all dispatchers. This will keep the company ahead of the game, and the dispatcher can begin formulating a plan to arrange an alternate driver if needed.

Saucon Technologies is not only a leading system for Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs); it also provides onboard video monitoring as well. One attribute that sets Saucon apart from other companies is the number of cameras it offers for one vehicle. It can handle up to 14 cameras on one bus. Cameras dramatically increase your range of view, allowing the company to protect not only their assets and drivers, but the customers as well. Saucon also provides a two-camera system in SUVs and sedans. Real time video monitoring can be a huge aid if your vehicle is involved in an incident or accident out of state. The ability to know what happens when you are unable to be with your driver can help paint a more accurate picture for your company.

Automatic alerts/notifications can also be set up to record systematically with ones previously set. For example, a video clip can be recorded for a speeding alert, a hard stop, and even excessive idling.

Saucon has announced it will be unveiling a new super HD camera system at the LCT-NLA East Show, Nov. 4-6. Make sure to stop by their booth.

SAMSARA

Samsara for Transportation is another leading company that provides multiple options for operators. Fast-growing Samsara entered the passenger carrying industry about two years ago and is modern and user friendly. It offers GPS, onboard video, electronic logs, sensors, WiFi, and apps. It can have dispatchers view traffic data in real time, and give a driver an alternate route to avoid any unnecessary delays or relay drivers.

Another feature Samsara offers is the ability for clients to live track their trips. This lessens inbound calls to dispatch and allows the passengers to know when the driver will arrive to the pick-up or drop-off location. Additionally, Samsara went above and beyond just live tracking. This company developed the capability to not only view the real time locations to the second as the vehicle moves, but display it on a satellite map.

This depicts the vehicle as if you are watching it drive in real time instead of as a dot moving along a yellow two-dimensional map. Samsara works with a wide variety of industries such as food service, education, government, construction, passenger transit, etc. This being said, it offers limitless capabilities. Samsara can monitor multiple different features such as temperature, emergency light usage, delays, routes, and more. It is compatible with many popular applications in many school districts that simplify parent-school interactions. With Samsara’s live tracking abilities, an operator can monitor and view on-time reports. Comparing planned vs. actual arrival times to any traffic delays will help companies better train their drivers in proper trip planning and time management. Automatic alerts will be sent to the company when a stop has been missed or while detecting a late arrival.

This system also stores past vehicle trip history, giving an operator or driver the ability to review the trip in detail when done, and can be used as a worthwhile training tool. Samsara allows a company to monitor hours of service in a user-friendly way. The operator can view all drivers in a list, hours of service reports, driver duty status, amount of drive time, shift hours, remaining weekly work cycles, and how much time they will have starting tomorrow. This is a real-time status that counts down for the company making it very simple to keep up with. If a driver is in violation, the system highlights his name in red, alerting the company of a problem. Samsara allows its drivers to conduct a pre/post trip inspection on their phones with the Samsara app. This gives drivers the ability to instantly upload pictures of any damage found. This feature helps with accountability and allows office staff to maintain records of all damage found or if maintenance is needed for vehicles.

Like Saucon Technologies, Samsara offers onboard video to its customers. It uses two different styles of cameras, the CM22 and the CM12. The CM22 is a dual facing HD dash camera, and the CM12 is a front facing HD dash camera. Both cameras offer similar features including automatic uploads of incidents to the Samsara cloud storage. There’s also on-demand video of previous drive time for 24 hours on the CM12 and 40 hours on the CM22.

Another feature of the Samsara onboard cameras is audio speakers for in-cab alerts. These help in situations where the company needs to communicate with its drivers who could not be reached any other way. The camera system can also   detect a distracted driver or distracted driving. For example, if a driver is holding a cell phone, the system will begin recording and an alert will be automatically sent to the company immediately. This can help prevent accidents and ensure your drivers are more alert and aware of their surroundings.

Another important function is the ability to monitor fuel usage and efficiency, and maintenance records. Samsara provides reports and analytics for most engine data, driver behavior, compliance, safety, dispatch, and routing. Being able to monitor these reports not only helps save time and money, but can be used as tools in training and retraining. 

Overall, both companies provide user friendly products and offer excellent training products for their clients. You should thoroughly research the needs of your operation when picking the best ELD.  

Tom Holden is the GM/operations manager of Rose Chauffeured Transportation in Charlotte, N.C. He can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: buses, ELDs, GPS, GPS Fleet Tracking, GPS Navigation, How To, motorcoach operators, motorcoaches, product reviews, technology, vehicle technology

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories