Since 1986, San Dimas, California-based Magellan has been a leader in GPS navigation technology and is now extending its expertise to fleet ELD compliance. The company has developed over 200 patents in GPS technology as well as consumer and commercial GPS navigation software and hardware.

Magellan has partnered with Samsung and RAM Mounts to offer an ELD bundle that’s an affordable, easy-to-install solution for small fleets and independent operators as well as large fleets.

While there are more than 1.2 million U.S. trucking companies, 97 percent of those fleets operate 20 or fewer trucks, making fleet ELD compliance a challenge. Samsung and Magellan began working together about a year and a half ago, as Samsung identified a gap in the market for small fleets that would need an ELD solution.

These small fleets do not have an IT staff or even an administration department, so it’s a major investment of resources to equip trucks with the in-cab technology to comply with the FMCSA hours of service (HOS) record-keeping regulations.

“The market has a lot of smaller fleets and individual drivers who were not supported by any service provider,” said Mark Perini, Magellan’s Head of Fleet Solutions. “Samsung put together a solution to address the market.”

Bundling Solutions

The bundle that was created out of this partnership is available from popular resellers. It’s built around a Samsung Galaxy tablet, with cellular connectivity from the top four wireless providers, and the Magellan Truck Navigation software.

The bundle includes all hardware for installation, including the telematics dongle from Magellan and the rugged RAM IntelliSkin mount and case. The dongle connects to the truck’s ECM or engine diagnostic port. Drivers can work with a reseller or truck maintenance shop for professional installation on the floor or the dash, based on company and driver preference.

The Magellan software includes a fleet management portal to allow managers to monitor drivers’ HOS status. The manager can send reminders to drivers, and also see which drivers may have sufficient hours left to complete an additional trip. The fleet management technology includes an app that can take vehicle dimensions into account in creating a route around low-clearance obstacles or bridge weight restrictions.

The Samsung and Magellan solution provides cloud storage for both the eight-day and six-month driver records for easy retrieval. Drivers are required to display eight days of records to law enforcement agents at any time. Some cut-rate solutions may only store that data on the device, so if the driver’s phone is lost or out of service, they won’t be in compliance and could face stiff fines.

The Samsung Knox security platform helps safeguard business data kept on the device. Security-conscious fleet managers can also add options such as Knox Manage (a cloud-based MDM solution) or Knox Workspace (a containerization solution). This will help keep company data and applications protected, and employees can also use the devices outside of work hours for personal entertainment and communication.

Expanding Markets

Magellan and Samsung are also looking at offering the bundle to truck drivers from Canada and Mexico who have to abide by U.S. regulations while in the country. There is also demand for navigation in other regions such as Europe, Asia and South America that could benefit from Magellan’s routing experience to improve their fleet management.

Magellan also offers an additional application called “Return to Route” which is often used by service vehicles such as snowplows, sanitation trucks and school buses. It can track the intended route and alert the driver that a portion was missed. For example, if a snowplow bypasses a portion of a parking lot, the app will alert the driver to return to the route to finish the job. With this app, fleet managers can ensure that their vehicles complete the tasks they are assigned and continue to improve customer service.

As the ELD mandate deadline approaches, busy fleet operators do not have a lot of time left to evaluate solutions. They have to keep the trucks on the road with minimal overhead and downtime for installation and training. Investing in a solution to meet the ELD mandate from leading brand names can give operators peace of mind. Low-cost options might even end up costing more in the long run with unknown quality and compliance issues. “For any fleet not just looking for a short-term fix but a long-term investment, the brands really do speak for themselves,” Perini said.

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