Industrial electronics giant Honeywell International Inc. continued its expansion into the transportation and logistics sector today by announcing it has teamed up with telematics technology vendor Omnitracs LLC to develop software that helps truck drivers use their smartphones to comply with the pending federal mandate that many trucks use electronic logging devices (ELDs).
The move is Honeywell's latest step in expanding from its history as a provider of industrial sensors and electronics into the transportation and logistics sector, a process that hit the spotlight in 2016 when Honeywell acquired material handling automation provider Intelligrated Systems Inc. for $1.5 billion, positioning the company to provide supply chain automation products for e-commerce and home delivery.
Now Honeywell has extended its suite of transportation software offerings to enable truck drivers to complete electronic logs and conduct vehicle inspections using a single mobile device running Google Inc.'s Android operating system (OS), the company said. Fleets that adopt the software can enhance their safety culture, reduce violations, and improve the accuracy of work processes, Honeywell said.
Honeywell's software will help fleets and drivers comply with the ELD rule by guiding drivers through the various workflows they complete throughout the day, such as completing electronic logs, communicating with dispatch, reviewing routes, and capturing signatures for proof of delivery, the company said. "By offering this Omnitracs and Honeywell solution, we can help transportation firms comply with the looming mandates, while also improving driver retention rates," Omnitracs Chief Sales Officer David Vice said in a statement.
The platform is the second product to launch in a week that purports to help drivers comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation's ELD rules, scheduled to go into effect in December. Ryder System Inc. said Friday that it had teamed with telematics company Geotab Inc. to create a similar software platform.
The ELD mandate will require most motor carriers' truck drivers to electronically document their hours of service. The intention of the mandate is to keep both truckers and other drivers safe by monitoring and limiting the amount of time drivers can operate their vehicles, thus preventing exhaustion, according to Honeywell.
Honeywell's menu of products for the logistics sector has been expanding quickly in 2017, including the launch of its "Connected Freight" shipment tracking tool for high-value and perishable goods, collaboration with chip maker Intel Corp. to develop Internet of Things (IoT) systems for the retail industry, and rollout of a new family of rugged handheld computers for distribution centers, retailers, and transportation and logistics providers.