Real-time telematics for efficiency, safety
Jan 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
Mimamori Is Isuzu Motors' full-scale telematics fleet management system. Designed exclusively for commercial vehicles, it provides real-time access to driving and operational status. It also enables two-way, interactive interface between the vehicle and fleet management through the comprehensive use of GPS and cellular phone based systems and ICT (information and telecommunication technology) services.
A web-based online system, by simply logging on to the Internet, individual vehicle and driver information can be retrieved instantaneously, enabling fleets to make changes for more efficient operation management.
The Mimamori system monitors and records a variety of vehicle operation and performance functions, explained Akira Yamashita, with Isuzu Motors' solution sales department-telematics promotion group. Among these are fuel consumption, engine emissions level, location, and driving patterns. Also observed and documented are such driving conditions as vehicle speed, gear use, engine rpm preceding gear shifts, acceleration, and braking behavior.
The system has the capability to issue a variety of reports, analyzing such operational data as miles traveled, total fuel consumption, average speed, average fuel economy, and engine emissions, he said. Fleets can then use this information to improve their management efficiencies through fuel saving and safe driving, with a commensurate reduction in the environmental impact of its trucks.
The heart of the Mimamori system is the in-vehicle ultra high-speed communications control module, Yamashita said. It has four basic functions: safety, economy, efficiency, and assurance.
With regard to safety, the system, through interactive communication, advises the driver of unsafe conditions with both voice and LCD (liquid crystal display) message alerts. These conditions are also highlighted in the management reports.
The system can be programmed to warn the driver when the vehicle enters a user-defined high accident area.
In the event of an accident or emergency braking, the Mimamori system automatically sends an urgent alert to fleet management via cell phone and/or e-mail.
An optional wireless event data recorder can record vehicle operating information when an accident occurs, as well as capture the event with an in-vehicle camera.
To help with fuel economy, the Mimamori system monitors, in real time, a driver's fuel consumption. If the driver is doing poorly, the interactive communication system also gives an audible and visual alert, along with driving suggestions for saving fuel.
Fleet efficiency is improved because vehicles are tracked by GPS, said Yamashita. With the system's interactive data communications, drivers can be notified of scheduled delivery/pickup changes or traffic delays.
Additionally, the system can automatically monitor the replacement timing of up to 10 vehicle components, and advise when optimal maintenance should be performed. Components that can be watched include oil, air cleaner, and tires.
By receiving a notice of maintenance timing, proactive maintenance service can be scheduled, Yamashita said, which helps prevent sudden problems on the road.
There is also an option for adding temperature sensors for remote monitoring of cargo conditions, as well as refrigeration units.
Another optional feature is a theft alarm. In the event that a predetermined password is not entered by the driver before the truck is driven, the system notifies the fleet, which can track the truck's movement using GPS.
Isuzu Motors introduced the Mimamori system to the Japanese market in January 2002 as a way to promote highway safety and enhance operational efficiencies of fleet management.
Another intent was to analyze accumulated data and see how Isuzu trucks are operating, and eventually to identify potential vehicle trouble before it occurs, and then make engineering changes to allow trucks to run longer and more efficiently.
Launched in 2004, the Mimamori system has been continually updated and enhanced as telecommunications and information technologies and platforms have advanced.
The system is available on all Isuzu diesel trucks, and can be installed on other manufacturer's trucks as well.
It is anticipated that the Mimamori system will be introduced to the North American market after 2010.
This would be an enhancement to the onboard recording and diagnostic system that is standard on all Isuzu-built 2008 US model diesel-powered trucks, said Todd Bloom, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America's vice president-fleet operations and marketing.
Designed to help monitor and manage vehicle operation, the onboard system generates detailed reports, called Vehicle Health Reports, which make key operation and performance information available, including data on fuel economy and driving patterns.
The recorded information can help fleet management better understand the operation of its vehicles and drivers' operating habits, Bloom said, as well as assist technicians to make more accurate diagnosis and more efficient repairs. “All of this helps reduce costs and downtime.”
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