If VE Commercial Vehicles (a joint venture between Volvo Group and Eicher Motors) technology catches on, there will be a big relief to one of the worst nightmares on Indian roads.
The sight of a stranded truck by the side or even on the middle of expressways is a common site in India, especially if they are running on older generation technology.
Through a technology called Telematics, the company can remotely access the vehicle and “ensure that it is up and running within four hours of the complaint.” This concept is new to the Indian trucking industry.
“About 85 percent repairs are done within four hours. We can track every vehicle with the BS-IV technology and the advanced versions. This is end-to-end technology integration,” Vinod Aggarwal, MD and CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles, told Moneycontrol.
Telematics can even generate data related to driver behaviour (rash driving, overspeeding, unnecessary idling or stopping), stress on the engine, cargo weight and route taken by the vehicle.
Engineers at the company’s first-of-its-kind uptime centre in Pithampur near Indore recently remotely solved the technical issues of a 35- tonne-tipper truck, 860 km away in Hyderabad.
The truck belonged to a premier VECV customer, having a large fleet. Though it is powered by the older and out-of-production BS-IV technology, the uptime centre was able to access the vehicle data and remotely diagnose it.
“A tool attached to the vehicle helps us gain access from the uptime centre. We get to know the complete health of the vehicle, including any fault therein,” Aggarwal said. He did not identify the tool, while exclusively speaking to Moneycontrol last week.
“We can provide remote diagnostics even to those vehicles which are not connected and do not have advanced electronic features. According to Aggarwal, not only has the uptime centre helped fleet owners manage and improve delivery schedules than earlier, it has also helped VECV improve service throughput,” he said.
The electronic database on the BS-VI-powered trucks also helps in doing predictive maintenance.
Based on vehicle data and use of in-house analytics, the truck maker is able to pinpoint a potential fault. This will help companies to pre-empt a vehicle recall and work with the parts-supplier in improving or altering the component at issue.
“We can warn the driver much in advance. If the engine is overheating, the vehicle can stop. That information is available with us and can be relayed across instantly. Once we know the intricacies, we will know which part needs improvement. We can know if the customer is coming back with the same problem,” Aggarwal added.
The much-less polluting BS-VI trucks are priced significantly higher (15-20 percent) than BS-IV predecessors but offer advanced connectivity.
India’s switchover to the most advanced emission happens at the worst possible time with the industry previously marred by a multiple quarter decline followed by a COVID-19 induced lockdown. Vehicle makers are predicting a pick-up in demand only in the second half of the year though green shoots have already started to appear.