We recently polled drivers from transport fleets throughout Australasia, and 84% agreed that Ehubo2 technology was easy to use. While we were thrilled by this response, we weren’t completely surprised – we designed all our telematics technology to be user-friendly from the start.
EROAD’s purpose as an organisation is safer, more productive roads – for everyone. And that’s where our product development starts.
“Safety is a concern for drivers just as much as everyone else who uses roads, so that drives all the decisions we make around our product,” says Chief Product Officer Sarah Thompson. “Our product strategy is about helping both our drivers and our customers be more productive and focus on the things that are important, whether that’s the act of driving or running their business.
“What drives us from a product development perspective is making that in-cab interaction with the driver as simple as possible, because it reduces their cognitive load and their distraction on the road.”
Because older-generation telematics systems were designed primarily to track location and distance travelled, many “black box”-style devices are installed under the dash, out of the driver’s sight.
“If the customer who buys the telematics device is just looking for a dot on a map, like ‘Where are my drivers?’ then an under-dash telematics device is just as easy,” says Sarah, “but we believe the driver is responsible for two things when they’re on the road: the health of the vehicle and driving that vehicle in a really safe way. If you've got a device that’s under the dash, it’s limited in the kinds of feedback it can give you.”
Unlike telematics devices installed under the dash, the Ehubo2’s driver-facing screen provides real-time feedback, including colour coding to indicate safe, borderline, and dangerous levels of speed. “It really retrains the driver, and after a period of time, that colour coding almost becomes subliminal,” explains Sarah. “You’re not really looking at the screen at all. You’re just noticing in your peripheral vision that the colour is changing.”
With a driver-facing screen, the vehicle operator can receive prompts from the moment they log in. The EROAD customer can pre-program the Ehubo2 to ask drivers questions of their choosing to determine whether the vehicle and driver are safe for deployment.
“Managers can provide five yes/no questions to the driver before they start driving,” says Sarah. “It can be things like, do you have your PPE? Are you tired? Have you been drinking?”
The in-cab device can also provide service alerts: “It tells the driver, this vehicle needs a service, its tyres need changing, it needs a warrant of fitness – or actually don’t drive this vehicle today; it’s booked in for a service. All these things help make the experience safer and more productive.”
Professional truck drivers are a valuable and increasingly scarce resource. The average age of this workforce is 56, and fewer young people are choosing to get into the sector than in the past. We recognise these industry shifts and seek to make the difficult job of driving heavy vehicles as safe and easy as possible.
“To make the driver interaction simple, we give them really simple workflows,” says Sarah, “then we make sure that they complete the task they’ve been given on the Ehubo2, which helps ensure there are no dead ends from a data perspective.” Everything done by drivers on Ehubo2 is there for managers to refer to and report on at any time, which is why ease of use is so important. If drivers don’t use the device or use it incorrectly, you run the risk of issues down the line, from missing data to penalties for RUC noncompliance.
As an approved regulatory and compliance agent, EROAD collects a significant amount of tax for the New Zealand Government – and provides significant refunds to customers for off-road miles travelled. “That’s why it’s really important that the data is as correct and complete as possible. Data reliability sits at the heart of everything we do.”