The Rolling Laboratory
One of the keys to decarbonization synergy, is integrating human and technological factors. A powerful example of this integration is our advanced use of telematics. We have created a proprietary system of telematics that combines a wealth of information about the behavioral and mechanical variables that affect fuel efficiency in the delivery process.
This enables us to use our delivery vehicles as "rolling laboratories" in which we collect data, test ideas, and hone our performance.
Simply put, telematics refers to a set of technologies innovated by UPS to monitor performance of our package cars. These delivery vehicles are equipped with sensors to provide information on how the vehicle performs mechanically and to report on:
- Performance of specific parts and components of the engine and drive train
Maintenance teams then use this information to perform maintenance on each vehicle only when required, as opposed to on a set schedule. This saves time and money and reduces waste (parts, oil, etc). In addition information is gathered to optimize efficiency of delivery routes and driver behavior such as monitoring seat belt use. Drivers also receive detailed reports enabling them to compare their performance with benchmarks.
Maximizing What We Learn
In addition to vehicle performance, telematics allows us to analyze information from the vehicle in combination with GPS data, customer delivery data, and driver behavior data. The resulting insights we gather enable us to make small adjustments with big payoffs, because we can put them to use with more than 100,000 drivers around the world.
The more we know about our vehicles and routes, the more we can optimize them both. For example, we can match a route with a vehicle that gets better mileage at the speeds the route requires. We can also design routes to reduce the number of stops and starts required to deliver packages on time.
Telematics has other benefits as well. One is enabling us to isolate different sets of circumstances in which the same action is likely to lead to different results. Backing up to a commercial loading dock, for example, can add to safety and efficiency. In contrast, backing up in a residential location (full of other vehicles, fixed objects, people and pets) can detract from safety and efficiency.
To maximize the benefit of telematics, we bring our drivers into the process. We give them and their managers' detailed reports on how their behaviors stack up against the results we strive for, such as accelerating and braking smoothly to conserve fuel. Having concrete data empowers them to optimize their behavior behind the wheel and make their "rolling laboratory" even more efficient.