When Getting On-site is Only Part of the Journey

In these days of GPS, navigating public highways is a straightforward process. Load up your itinerary, optimize your route and off you go. But what if your stop off point doesn’t seem to exist? This could be due to private roads.

International airports, oil fields, large scale building projects and military bases will often have an extensive private road network not featured in standard GPS mapping applications. And all of them will have frequent requirements for pickups and deliveries.

While local drivers may know the site location drop off points, it can become a headache when the route is being driven for the first time or by a new driver. CoPilot navigation can help to ease this issue by recording the exact location for future use. CoPilot uses Latitude and Longitude coordinates for precise location recall, so that any driver can find the location at a future point.

Recording the exact location can also prove useful on public roads when a delivery location may not necessarily be at the front of the destination point. A loading bay at the back of a department store for example. Why not improve your drive with saving exact location points?

How to save an exact location in CoPilot:

From the main menu, select ‘Plan Trip’ then ‘Current Location’. Then provide a name for the location so that it can be selected as a destination for future use.

Run the River Charity Event


On Tuesday 12th September, a team from our London office took part in the 5K Run the River fundraising event for Teach First. Teach First is a charity that fights against educational inequality. The organisation works closely with schools, universities, charities, businesses and individuals to give all children a chance to receive a quality education.

Congrats to David, Federico, Matt, Giovanni and Justin for taking part in the event!

Find out more about Teach First → https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/


How to Avoid Bridge Strikes?

You’ve seen the videos.  A 53 foot trailer hitting a low bridge.  You think, “Why was that driver even routed there in the first place?” The likely answer – they were following a generic, non-truck specific navigation system, designed for use by drivers of smaller, lighter passenger vehicles. The result? Costly damages to the truck and any goods being hauled, potential harm to the driver and countless other drivers on the road, and fines for driving on a truck-restricted road.

Bridge strikes are a problem across the country

Red = major problem. Green = minor problem. Yellow = no response

In the US, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported a staggering number of 4,209 bridge strikes in 2014. In the UK  there were 1708 bridge strikes in 2013/2014. According to Network Rail, this is a 9.9% increase compared to the previous year.

Bridge strikes are a safety risk to drivers, pedestrians and train passengers and staff alike. Since critical strikes cause rail and road traffic delays as well as repair costs for vehicles and infrastructure, they are expensive for truck owners, fleets and rail operators. Here are some tips on how to avoid bridge strikes:

Know your vehicle dimensions


If you’re a fleet manager , make sure that your drivers know their vehicle height and width by heart. Please note that the truck’s weight can vary slightly according to what type of load you are hauling.  By adhering to routes tailored to the load and trailer specifications, you can avoid fines and low bridges.

Plan a truck-safe route


A truck driver can use CoPilot Truck to plan a route that is safe and compliant on truck-legal roads. First, enter the vehicle dimensions in the app. Second, plan the trip. CoPilot will calculate the best route available for the vehicle. Don’t forget to use a GPS that is built for truck drivers and not for cars and takes into account your truck’s size. When your daily life exists on the road as a truck driver, your decisions are impacted by safety, compliance and cost savings. If you are a fleet manager, you want to make sure the driver and delivery gets from A to B without interference. If you think truck specific navigation isn’t for you – guess again. It pays to have truck specific navigation.

Check traffic signs


Last but not least, make sure you always check for traffic signs and other warnings when you approach a bridge.

Practice guides for truck drivers to avoid bridge strikes

For the UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/28626/bridgestrikesprofdrivers.pdf

For the US:

Autonomous Trucking and Driverless Fleets


 Self-driving vehicles are on their way

When we talk about autonomous driving, the first thing that comes to mind are driverless cars and the advantages/safety/moral challenges that surround them. Some of us imagine a future in which we will all work, eat, sleep in our new cars while they drive us to our destination. Others are concerned about the safety of driverless vehicles.


Big companies are investing more and more in R & D

But self-driving trucks are also part of the equation, and the effort put into the automation of delivery vehicles is as important as for cars. Companies like Uber, Google and Tesla are investing millions in self-driving technologies to build trucks that could drive for longer shifts, whilst allowing the drivers to rest during the drive and reduce the number of truck-related accidents.




The challenges for navigation providers

As far as navigation is concerned, the development of autonomous or semi-autonomous trucks represents a challenge as well as an opportunity.

A crucial point for our industry is that GPS data (exact location, timing, etc) will have to be even more accurate to cover for the lack of driver in case of a detour or problem on the roads. Any geolocation problem could result in damages and an immediate danger for the the passengers and anyone in the vicinity of the vehicle.

Digital maps showing every road sign, traffic light, temporary road works, etc, need to be part of the solution.

According to Amnon Shashua, chief technology officer at Mobileye, “If we want to have autonomous cars everywhere, we have to have digital maps everywhere.”

→ Read full article here

Today’s navigation solutions will have to adapt

The loss of the driver – whether it is total or partial – means that in-cab navigation solutions as we know them today might not be needed anymore.

Instead, new technologies enabling a better synchronisation between the “smart” truck and the back-office might gain a much bigger importance.

Vehicles are already getting geared up with connected features that enable a safer and effortless journey.

But technological advances happen so fast that it is hard to predict exactly where this field will be in the next few months or years.



So, what’s next?

Even though self-driving vehicles are a trendy topic at the moment and despite all the test implemented by big companies, we still have a few years before entire fleets hit our road.

Besides, as Alain Kornhauser, founder of the ALK Technologies Inc , pointed out in this article, self-driving does not necessarily mean driverless. And it is very likely that the first generations of autonomous trucks will still require the presence of a driver in case something goes wrong during the journey.


More articles on this topic:

New ‘TruETA’ Tool From TMW Systems Enables Fleets to Solve Planning and Execution Challenges

Solution for Innovative IES, TMWSuite, TMW.Suite and TruckMate Users Calculates ETA for Each Stop Based on Vehicle Location, Hours of Service, and Real-Time and Predictive Traffic

NASHVILLE – August 14, 2017 — TMW Systems today introduced TruETA™, a powerful new trip planning and execution tool that calculates estimated time of arrival for each stop along a commercial truck’s route. The company demonstrated the new solution during the 2017 PeopleNet and TMW in.sight User Conference + Expo in Nashville.

Available to users of TMW’s Innovative IES, TMW.Suite, TMWSuite and TruckMate transportation management solutions, TruETA is a cloud-based solution that automates the calculation of ETAs based on current vehicle position, PeopleNet® driver Hours of Service and real-time and predictive traffic patterns. The solution also generates Red-Yellow-Green alerts indicating the likelihood of each vehicle to meet its customers’ scheduled delivery times, reducing the need for dispatcher-driver phone calls and mobile communications messages.

“Hitting the customer’s delivery window is no longer an aspirational goal for carriers – it is imperative from a customer service score and financial standpoint,” said Ray West, senior vice president and general manager, TMS solutions for TMW. “TruETA helps eliminate much of the guesswork and manual data that comes with the trip planning process, and helps fleets reduce the risk of a dissatisfied customer.”

Commercial and private fleets can use TruETA to help reduce operating costs while improving on-time delivery performance, according to West. The tool replaces the “local knowledge” and manual data entry with automated, fact-based calculations derived from current vehicle location, updated Hours of Service information, and the PC*MILER® industry-standard commercial truck routing engine from ALK Technologies, which includes real-time and predictive traffic speeds along each assigned route. In addition, TruETA utilizes the ALK® Maps commercial mapping platform to visualize live traffic flows, as well as weather overlays of current conditions including radar, cloud cover, alerts and road surface conditions to quickly identify potential scheduling issues.

TruETA also accounts for required driver rest breaks and calculates remaining Hours of Service at each destination with PC*MILER’s Hours of Service planning engine to support accurate, advanced plans.

To learn more about TruETA and other transportation and logistics solutions from TMW Systems, contact your TMW representative or call (800) 401-6682.

ALK Map Data: Built for Commercial Vehicles

Commercial map data is the core of our business. At ALK, we have a team of GIS and mapping specialists that dedicate every hour of every day to ensure our premium-quality, street-level map of the North American road network is the most comprehensive and accurate source for our customers. These maps form the basis of our commercial brands in North America and are relied on by millions of drivers and more than 22,000 motor carriers, private fleets and third party logistics companies every day.

Our portfolio of transportation solutions offer the most comprehensive set of commercial truck restrictions in North America. It’s what defines us as the trusted industry standard for safe, accurate and reliable routing, mileage, mapping and navigation.

Check out what our robust set of commercial map data includes:

2017 Standard Chartered Great City Race – London


Last night, our British colleagues Matt Conby and Will Colborn entered the 2017 Standard Chartered Great City Race​ along with a few fellow colleagues from Trimble Real Estate and Workspace Solutions (RE&WS).

Congratulations to both of them for getting involved in this charitable event, as the run was a way of raising funding and awareness for the Seeing is Believing charity.

A total of over 5000 runners took part in the 5km race, snaking through London’s financial district, also known as the Square Mile – around sites including St Paul’s and the Bank of England.


Official Times:

Will: 24m 38s

Matt: 24m 56s


This was the first time Will entered a 5km race, but it sounds as though he has caught the bug and wants to sign up to more of the same. Matt, however, had already participated in this particular race, and yesterday he completed it 2m 25s quicker than last year!

Brexit & Beyond – What’s in Store for the UK Trucking Industry?

It’s been over a year since the British public voted to exit the European Union. The Brexit negotiations have started and every business up and down the country is discussing the effects and risks. The road transportation sector is no exception.
The Department of Transport reports that from June 2015 to June 2016 UK HGVs lifted a total of 7.8 million tonnes of goods. Of them 3.8 million tonnes were exports and 3.9 million tonnes were imports to or from the UK. Not only are the international freight numbers impressive, the UK road haulage industry employs around 290,000 peopleThe British road transport sector is a vital part of the economy not only in terms of GDP and employment, but also in providing goods to consumers. So how could Brexit affect the road haulage sector?

The Good

Where there’s change, there’s opportunity. Although trade with the EU27 will likely undergo a period of volatility, the current government is fostering ties with markets outside of the EU. New bilateral trade agreements could increase trade with the US, Australia, India and New Zealand.
Additionally, there is a potential that regulations agreed in the past would be re-visited once the UK has exited the EU. This new autonomy could mean that the industry bodies could have more influence in UK legislation than in the past.

The Bad

If the UK will leave the free market, new tariffs and customs taxes could affect international trade with Europe: “In land transport, 99% of international road freight for the UK is to and from the other EU27 nations. As a result, any new tariffs and concurrent trade slowdown could present significant risks to both sea and land transport operations.” (Source)
Leaving the EU would mean there would be new laws affecting the UK from the outside. What would that mean in practice? For example: Longer procedures on borders causing delays, UK supply chain companies having a disadvantage compared to their EU rivals when it comes to European trade, etc.
The transportation sector does not exist in a vacuum and macroeconomic developments affect it. The Brexit decision has weakened the pound, increased inflation and dampened consumer confidence. The cost of imports has increased, consumers have shut their wallets and companies invest less due to the economic uncertainty. These developments could have a negative knock-on effect on the transport industry. UK trucking companies will be less likely to invest in long-term projects in times of unpredictability. Less trade with EU member states means less jobs for UK supply chain providers, and so on.

The Ugly

The main point of contention when it comes to Brexit and the UK trucking industry, is the potential driver shortage due to stricter immigration policies: “The hardest hit of all the transportation sectors would be trucking, where an acute shortage of UK drivers is being worsened by the prospects of an ageing workforce. Trucking relies heavily on drivers from the EU; truck owners are simply not able to recruit enough British drivers to keep pace with demand. Of the 290,000 drivers of heavy goods vehicles in the UK, approximately 60,000 are from the EU. Any reduction of the sector’s recruitment options will compromise its ability to serve the economy. Any reduction in supply will raise trucking costs for manufacturers.” (Source)
How do you think Brexit will change the UK trucking industry? Do you see any effects already? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

ALK Technologies Debuts New CoPilot Truck GPS Version 10 for iOS

Includes key truck-specific data improvements and enhanced driver safety elements

Princeton, NJ– June 22, 2017 – ALK Technologies, a Trimble Company and global leader in transportation technology and mobility solutions, today announced the latest release of its CoPilot® Truck GPS mobile navigation app for iOS. Version 10 brings truck drivers improved industry standard offline truck navigation and commercial vehicle route planning powered by PC*MILER® routing, mileage and mapping software to iOS users, allowing them to follow optimal routes based on vehicle size and load.

“Our goal is to provide solutions that make truck drivers’ day-to-day lives easier, safer and ultimately more profitable,” said Bill Nimchuk, senior product manager, ALK Technologies. “CoPilot Truck GPS enables drivers to avoid unnecessary expenses such as fines and the resultant hit to their CSA score, which can have a negative effect on their overall business and income.”

Truck drivers can hit the road with confidence, knowing that CoPilot Truck GPS provides them with:

Enhanced Driver Safety
Driver distraction has remained a huge concern as evidenced by the 2016 report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) as one of 10 critical issues in the trucking industry. This research helped ALK focus on a redesigned safety view that provides drivers only the information they need while driving. This includes information such as next turn, ETA, speed limits, distance and any approaching delays.

Simplified Interface and Menus
CoPilot Truck’s user interface has been completely redesigned to put the tools drivers need on the road a tap away. UI elements are now larger for easier tapping.  The landscape view is also redesigned to show more of the map.

Powerful Pre-Trip Route Planning Powered by PC*MILER
CoPilot Truck GPS provides industry standard PC*MILER routing to help drivers stay safe and compliant with pre-trip planning. They also can obtain an accurate estimated time of arrival (ETA) with real-time traffic speeds and any potential delays along their route. Additionally, drivers can resequence stops for optimal route planning to make the most complex itineraries simple and help improve productivity.

Essential Truck-specific Map Data Improvements
-Updated Truck Routes in several hundred cities
-Updated Weight limits across all states

-Hundreds of new truck stops and distribution centers have been added
-Thousands of zip code locations were updated

For full details about CoPilot Truck GPS Version 10, visit: www.copilotgps.com/truck.

CoPilot Truck GPS Version 10 is available now for download from iTunes.

Link to download >>

About ALK Technologies
ALK Technologies is a transportation technology company dedicated to defining the optimal route to success through innovative routing, mileage, mapping and mobile navigation solutions. From trusted industry standard data to seamless integration, ALK solutions are developed for a broad range of industries, workforces, or everyday drivers on the road. For over 35 years, its suite of powerful solutions, including PC*MILER, CoPilot, and ALK Maps, have set the foundation for safe and efficient journeys worldwide – one mile, one driver, one vehicle at a time. ALK is a Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) Company and part of its international Transportation and Logistics Division, visit: www.alk.com.

Goodbye Roaming Charges, Hello Europe!

Good news for all Europeans: From mid June onwards, roaming charges for certain mobile plans in the European Union have been dropped. That means there’s a good chance you can now travel across Europe and use your data without worrying about extra charges. Say goodbye to surprise bills from your mobile provider at the end of the month when completing a delivery through several countries.

And the best part for CoPilot Professional and CoPilot Truck users?

  1. You will now be able to use ActiveTraffic when driving abroad without paying a hefty bill at the end of the month if you have a good mobile plan.
  2. You can still take advantage of CoPilot’s offline capability if you’re driving in areas with low data coverage. Say goodbye to interrupted service when crossing borders.
  3. If you have a monthly cap on your data usage, you can still use CoPilot’s offline maps to minimise data usage. Especially if you’re a fleet manager, this will keep costs down across the board.

So check in with your mobile provider and see how your data plan abroad has changed regarding your international shifts!

PS: If you are in the US or other places around the world, roaming charges will likely still apply. So make sure to turn off your data roaming if you want to avoid hefty bills.