What is meant by on-board computer?

What is an on-board computer?

An on-board computer is a small computer that is installed inside the cab of a truck. When connecting the device to other peripherals like scanners, printers, temperature or safety sensors, or to a digital tachograph, it provides data that significantly increase the productivity and cost efficiency of a logistics company. The on-board computer display allows drivers to exchange data with the back office in real time.

Key features of the on-board computer include: trip and hour registration, trip planning, track & tracetruck navigation, messaging traffic, fuel consumption registration and the possibility to measure the driver’s driving style.

On-board computer as a tracking system

The on-board computers that are installed in trucks nowadays integrate GPS technology. As a result, the on-board computer can perfectly feature as a tracking system: it keeps the back office up to date on details like when and where a truck has stopped, for how long it remained there, where it drove next and what route it took. There’s multiple other benefits of the GPS connection too. For example, the addresses that the back office sends to the driver are automatically recognised. The asset tracking feature allows the follow-up of the position of valuable equipment like trailers, containers, roll-off trailers or swap bodies. Equally interesting – and much appreciated by carrriers – is the alarm message that the back office gets as soon as a truck enters or leaves a predefined zone (GeoFencing).

The latest generation of on-board computers

The most recent types of on-board computer also help the back office monitor conditions in the trucks and trailers, such as temperature, door opening or fuel level. As the device provides insight into the position and status of the fleet, people at the home office can quickly detect bottlenecks and, if required, adjust the planning in real time. Another handy feature is that the back office can send order numbers to the drivers via the on-board computer, which makes it much easier for them to register loading and unloading times. The times and any other relevant information are automatically processed by the Transport management system (TMS).

On-board computer and GPRS data communication

The latest generation of on-board computers communicate with one another via GPRS. This type of data communication allows users to track and trace vehicles on the road and exchange messages with drivers, at a relatively low monthly cost. By connecting the on-board computer to the CAN bus, it helps monitor fuel consumption levels and the driver’s driving style. An on-board computer with GPRS connection allows carriers to send digital tachograph data to the office, while they are on the road.

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