Daimler Trucks pushes connectivity with investment in Zonar Systems

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The FINANCIAL — Daimler Trucks is stepping up its activities in the area of connectivity services and acquires a share in Zonar Systems Inc. in North America, one of the leading developer and suppliers of logistics, telematics and connectivity solutions.The investment is another milestone in the development of fully connected vehicles and value-adding data services for operators and drivers of trucks by the world market leader.

The minority interest is realized via Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), one of the leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles in North America that owns the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses brands. Together, DTNA and Zonar will bring customized applications for North American customers on the market.

With this long-term partnership, DTNA and Zonar are pursuing a shared vision: optimal transport logistics through intelligent connectivity. Zonarwill continue to operate independently. Martin Daum, President and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, will get a seat on the supervisory board of the company in order to keep a close dialogue between the manufacturer DTNA and the technology partner Zonar, according to Daimler.

“Telematics and connectivity are revolutionizing commercial vehicle operation with enormous opportunities for OEMs – especially for us as the leader of this business. That is exactly why we made connectivitya dedicated part of our strategy,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses.

“We consistently implement this strategy – and today we have reached an important milestone. Our investment in Zonar will help us to put connected services on the road with even greater speed and variety. We are partnering with a pioneer in this field,” Dr. Bernhard proceeded.

Martin Daum, President and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, added: “DTNA will benefit in this strategic partnership from Zonar’s experience and short time-to-market cycles. This combination of the technological leadership of DTNA and the innovative systems of Zonar will pay dividends for our customers in all markets.”

Daum noted further: “In future, we will advance the products of DTNA and Zonar jointly. Our immediate focus is on the customer benefit and on further improving economic efficiency and safety – to the benefit of all road users.”

“This is a relationship in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” emphasized Brett Brinton, CEO of Zonar. “The drivers and fleet managers will all benefit from combining the big data analytics and rapid technology development Zonar offers with the depth of knowledge, precision and expertise in vehicle engineering DTNA brings. It is an honor to be selected as a technology partner to the world’s best vehicle manufacturer,” Brinton added.

The Next Step in the Cooperation of Daimler Trucks and Zonar Systems

The two companies have maintained a partnership for the last five years that began with the market launch of the “Virtual Technician” remote diagnostics system and continued with the development of the all-round solution “Detroit Connect”.

The “Virtual Technician” as part of “Detroit Connect” sends a technical snapshot of the engine’s status to the Detroit Customer Service Center when warning lights come on in order to analyze the data, to identify the problem and sends out an e-mail with advice on what actions should be taken. With the “Virtual Technician”, downtime due to servicing can be reduced and thus maintenance costs can be lowered. Repair costs decline by as much as 20% and vehicle-operating time increases by 6%.

In coordination with the “Virtual Technician”, “Detroit Connect” enables a “Visibility Fleet Software” using a GPS satellite network to determine the exact location, the speed, and the fuel consumption of a truck or an entire fleet from any internet-enabled device, for example an on-board tablet.

“Detroit Connect” is the first telematics solution in the U.S. and Canada which can determine the reason for error messages during the drive. Installed in more than 150,000 vehicles, “Detroit Connect” has already traveled millions of kilometers.

The use of telematics services offers many advantages for fleets: lower fuel consumption, higher vehicle availability and improvement in the adherence to legal regulations. Both companies strive for a common vision of building vehicles which are exactly customized to drivers, route and payload. Zonar will continue to work closely with DTNA in order to build upon the success of the “Virtual Technician” and “Detroit Connect”, and to develop other integrated technologies.


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