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Detroit Connect Analytics extended to additional truck models

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Daimler Trucks North America said Thursday that Detroit Connect Analytics has extended its services to additional truck models and can also be added to vehicles in the aftermarket.

Analytics is now available to order as a new truck option or in the aftermarket on the new Freightliner Cascadia, original Cascadia and Western Star 5700 truck models spec’d with Detroit engines.

Detroit Connect Analytics automatically translates critical fuel consumption and safety data into interactive and easy-to-understand reports that provide actionable insights for increased vehicle and fleet performance.

“We understand data is essential to making smart business decisions in todays connected world, but the abundance of data can be time consuming for our customers to study and put into action in their fleets,” said Jason Krajewski, director of connectivity for Daimler Trucks North America. “Expanding the services to other models and to the aftermarket allows fleet managers to spend less time crunching numbers and more time focusing on vehicle and driver performance across their fleet.”

Depending on the truck model, customers can opt for either fuel performance reports, safety reporting or fuel performance and safety reporting. Through a dedicated section of the Detroit Connect portal, customers will not only have access to the performance data for a single vehicle but they will also be able to understand the performance of their entire fleet.

Fuel performance reports interpret a variety of factors that impact fuel economy, such as engine speed, idle time, cruise control usage, engine power, integrated powertrain performance and driver interaction. The automated reports provide customers with more than just basic fuel economy data. The reports offer fleet managers insights into their vehicles’ performance and highlight driving behaviors that are affecting that performance so they can make informed decisions on how best to improve their operations.

Safety reporting collects data from events such as collision mitigation braking, lane departure warnings and distance violations from the safety system on the vehicle, such as Detroit Assurance, and converts it into safety reports, helping customers visualize these events either across their fleet or for a specific trip or vehicle. Onboard sensors capture events 15 seconds before to 15 seconds after they occur, further highlighting what fleet managers should focus on to help improve driver behavior.

“Our experts have developed algorithms that transform data into deep, actionable insights that can have a significant impact on uptime and the bottom line,” Krajewski said “Together with our fuel-efficient on-highway truck models and Detroit powertrains, Detroit Connect Analytics adds a new dimension to the powerful combination that DTNA provides to help customers optimize their cost of ownership.”

For the original Freightliner Cascadia and Wester Star 5700, Detroit Connect Analytics is delivered through the Zonar VTHU platform.

“By offering the advantages of Detroit Connect Analytics through Zonar telematics, users will be empowered with a growing amount of actionable data to proactively manage their engines and drivers while increasing the uptime of their vehicles,” said Gary Schmidt, vice president of business solutions at Zonar. “We are excited to support Detroit Connect Analytics through our strategic alliance with DTNA to help more fleets maintain a high level of fleet performance and safety while on the road”

Analytics is part of the Detroit Connect suite of connected vehicle services, which also includes Detroit Connect Virtual Technician and Detroit Connect Remote Updates.

All Detroit Connect services are accessible via the Detroit Connect portal. Through the portal, fleet managers can access vehicle fault event and performance data and deepen their knowledge about their fleet health.

For more information on Detroit Connect, go to .

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Minnesota House backs hands-free cellphone rule for driving

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Assuming the bill becomes law, Minnesota would become one of 18 states plus the District of Columbia that require drivers to use hands-free devices while phoning. (FOTOSEARCH)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota motorists would be required to use hands-free devices when talking on the phone while driving under a bill that passed the state House on Monday night, after sponsors said the measure will cut down on distracted driving and save lives.

The House approved the bill 106-21 with bipartisan support, though a few critics said it doesn’t go far enough because it doesn’t include tougher penalties for texting while driving, which is already illegal in Minnesota.

“There’s clear evidence from other states that these types of laws save lives,” Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman said at a news conference earlier in the day. “We’ve heard so many heart-wrenching stories from Minnesotans about family members they’ve lost because people are on their smartphones instead of focusing on the road.”

A similar bill working its way through the Senate exempts the manual use of GPS navigation systems. The House bill would limit GPS use while moving to one-touch, voice-activated apps such as Google Maps. The bill’s chief House sponsor, Rep. Frank Hornstein, said he’s confident the differences will get worked out in conference committee, adding that Gov. Tim Walz has indicated that will sign the bill.

Drivers would not need vehicles with built-in Bluetooth wireless systems, Hornstein said. For older cars, he said, hands-free mounts that comply are available online for as little as $9.

The Department of Public Safety says that at least 27 of Minnesota’s approximately 380 traffic deaths last year were related to distractions of all kinds. Experts testified during committee hearings that cellphone use is the fastest-growing distraction, causing a rising number of deaths and injuries.

Assuming the bill becomes law, Minnesota would become one of 18 states plus the District of Columbia that require drivers to use hands-free devices while phoning. A separate bill to toughen the state’s existing penalties for texting while driving is working its way through the committee process in the Senate. Hornstein said that bill may get heard in the House later.

Hornstein, a Minneapolis Democrat who chairs the House transportation committee, acknowledged that hands-free does not make phoning while driving completely distraction-free. But he said it would be a “major step forward.”

He sponsored a similar hands-free bill last year, but Hortman said Republican leaders who controlled the House back then would not allow a floor vote because it didn’t have enough GOP support. Democrats won control of the House with the November elections and Hortman became speaker in January.

Karin Ilg, of New Prague, recalled to reporters how her husband, Phil Ilg, was killed when he was struck on his bicycle from behind by a 16-year-old driver who was focused more on her phone than on the road. Ilg said she has been cutting up his bike and handing out small pieces — like one that she held up — to every 16-year-old she can “as a reminder not to text and drive. … The time is now for us to get this going and to have this as law.”

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Canada’s Lion Electric Co. introduces all-electric Class 8 urban truck

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The Lion Class 8 vehicle has a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge and boasts “zero emissions” as well as “no noise pollution.” (Photo: Lion)

MARIBEL, Quebec — Canada’s Lion Electric Co. March 11 presented its all-electric Class 8 urban truck, the Lion8, which will be delivered this fall.

The vehicle has a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge and boasts “zero emissions” as well as “no noise pollution.”

Lion also says the truck has an 80 percent energy cost reduction and a 60 percent reduction in operational costs.

Another cost-saving attribute, says the company, is “oil-free operation,” with few moving parts and brakes that last longer because of a regenerative braking system.

It’s also built to withstand Canadian winters and punishing road conditions.

According to Lion, the company has already taken orders for the truck from committed buyers.

Assisting in unveiling the new truck was Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a Kansas City Chiefs football player and Lion “ambassador.”

Lion is a manufacturer of zero emission vehicles, including all-electric school buses, paratransit minibuses and urban transportation and commercial trucks.

It’s first vehicle will be delivered to the Société des Alcools du Quebec later this year.

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Diesel Laptops launches virtual diesel technician program

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Clients that utilize this program have full, unlimited access to Diesel Laptops’ certified, in-house diesel technicians who are available via phone and live chat and can both remote access the client’s diagnostic tools, and video stream through the end user’s mobile device. (Courtesy: DIESEL LAPTOPS)

GILBERT, S.C. — Diesel Laptops, a distributor of commercial truck diesel diagnostic software, hardware and services, has launched a Virtual Diesel Technician Program.

This program is a first in the commercial truck and off highway industry and is a real solution to the current diesel technician shortage that exists, according to according to Tyler Robertson, CEO of Diesel Laptops.

Clients that utilize this program have full, unlimited access to Diesel Laptops’ certified, in-house diesel technicians who are available via phone and live chat and can both remote access the client’s diagnostic tools, and video stream through the end user’s mobile device.

The program also grants clients access to the wide array of repair information that Diesel Laptops has created.

This repair information includes VIN decoders, labor time guides, repair information on over 70,000 diagnostic fault codes, wiring diagrams, component locators, torque specifications, parts cross referencing, step-by-step repair information, and much more Robertson said.

These applications are provided through traditional desktop applications, along with websites and mobile applications.

“We all know that it is difficult to find qualified technicians,” Robertson said. “We also know it’s difficult for most shops to acquire the resources they need to properly diagnose and repair commercial trucks. The Virtual Diesel Technician Program gives repair shops access to both live, real world diesel technicians and repair information.”

Diesel Laptops is staffed with certified diesel technicians from a variety of industries, and currently handles more than 50,000 customer repair, software, and diagnostic questions every year, Robertson said.

“These are all documented and organized in the company’s database, allowing Diesel Laptops to build the world’s largest database of solutions for known symptoms and diagnostic codes,” he said.

To learn more about the Virtual Diesel Technician Program, including watching an explainer video, visit

Diesel Laptops, founded in 2014, provides specialized diesel diagnostic equipment for the commercial truck, construction, automobile, agriculture, marine, and off-highway markets. Diesel Laptops is the industry leader in diesel diagnostic tools.

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