Volvo Trucks' Remote Diagnostics Speed Downtime, Creates Big Brother Questions


Fleet buyers, as well as any other pickup truck enthusiasts, understand how critical repair costs and downtime can affect a business. These customers typically know the ownership cost of a given vehicle down to the penny; that's why the idea of interactive diagnostics has become such an important issue with expensive big rigs.

In fact, Volvo Trucks, makers of some of the most impressive Class 8 hauling work trucks in the world, will be making its remote diagnostic system available on every truck it sells from now on. The results of the new connected computers, as reported by Volvo, will vastly improve repair accuracy and overall truck efficiency, and it'll do it with less downtime in the maintenance garage. Because the engine system can provide detailed reporting information to the service station before the truck arrives, diagnostic time can be reduced as much as 71 percent, with the average time for the service repair dropping as much as 25 percent. That translates into cash-flow when your company makes money when your trucks are rolling.

The implications to our smaller, for-work-and-play pickup trucks is obvious. As dealers or manufacturers receive more information about how we're using our vehicles, they're better able to provide the right service and support for those vehicles when they come in for maintenance, theoretically saving us money with shorter lengths of downtime in service stalls.

Of course, our vehicles have been "connected" for some time. Black box information has been an invaluable tool for investigators, vehicle manufacturers and even the government to track down safety issues or for determining vehicle behavior, and it's only a matter of time before all that available data can be used in ways we might not like. Organizations such as AAA are sounding the alarms already.

Data mining and potential governmental overreach is part of our reality nowadays, but at some point we'll have to more thoroughly address the privacy issues surrounding data-collection capabilities of our pickups. You can bet there will be more on this topic ahead.




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