ATLANTA – UPS posted an update on its blog about its telematics initiative, stating it plans to have 32,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada equipped with telematics technology by year end. Automotive Fleet spoke with Donna Longino, PR manager for UPS, to get more details about the company’s telematics system.

This telematics technology is capable of providing vast amounts of data about how the company's delivery trucks are operating. The telematics system involves vendor-supplied hardware and software developed by UPS that uses a proprietary algorithm. This telematics system can capture more than 200 vehicle-related types of data. Examples of the types of data UPS collects includes speed, RPMs, oil pressure, seatbelt use, time spent idling, and the number of times a driver places a UPS delivery truck in reverse.

“When a UPS driver returns to a package center at the end of the work day, the data is uploaded to a computer and then transmitted to UPS’ data center in Alpharetta, Ga.,” Longino said.

She explained that the company developed algorithms and proprietary firmware in the data center to analyze all the incoming information. Pertinent data, for example data related to vehicle maintenance, is fed back out to operational systems in the package centers.
The company was able to adopt a conditions-based preventive maintenance schedule by using the available data in this way. For this PM program, vehicle-installed sensors provide data on components acting outside normal parameters. After delivery trucks return to package centers, if the provided data indicates vehicles have issues, UPS service technicians will then diagnose the potential problems to determine whether maintenance is necessary.

The company said it began its telematics initiative in 2008. One metric from the program includes reducing vehicle idle time by 15 minutes per driver per day (which adds up to 25 gallons of fuel per driver annually). UPS said it’s evaluating the telematics initiative for use in its UPS Freight and European small package operation.

By Greg Basich