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Detroit’s Virtual Technician turns 5, reaches 200,000 units

Posted: June 15, 2016 by Today's Trucking Staff

DETROIT, MI – Five years after its launch, Detroit is celebrating a key milestone for the Connect Virtual Technician remote diagnostic system developed in partnership with Zonar Systems Inc.

The Michigan company recently installed its 200,000th unit of the hardware into a Freightliner Cascadia Evolution truck for Penske Truck Leasing Co.

When Virtual Technician was introduced in 2011, parent company Daimler Trucks North America was the first truck OEM to deliver a remote engine and aftertreatment diagnostic service. Today, Virtual Technician serves as the foundation of the Detroit Connect suite of connected vehicle solutions. The hardware is now standard on all Freightliner and Western Star trucks equipped with Detroit heavy duty engines.

Zonar’s VTHU communications hardware platform records engine or aftertreatment fault code events and uses cellular communications to notify fleets of the severity of the problem within two minutes. This helps fleets make informed business decisions so that their vehicles spend less time in the shop, reducing diagnostic time and increasing vehicle uptime.

A new portal launching in the second half of 2016 will provide Detroit Connect users additional information about overall fleet health and let them take a deeper dive into specific fault events learned through Virtual Technician. Daimler is also developing a new telematics platform that will be available on select truck models in 2017. The platform – which will introduce over-the-air engine parameter programming capabilities – will utilize new cellular-enabled communications hardware that can be used globally.

“We are going to continue to develop new technologies that deliver vehicle performance and health insights to our customers that will have positive impacts on their businesses,” said Daimler’s Matt Pfaffenbach, director of telematics. “By deepening our telematics offerings, we will remain on the forefront of integrating intelligent solutions with our vehicles to benefit not only our customers, but the transportation industry.”

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