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As part of our ongoing series on the new tachograph, we asked IRU member Continental to unpack the retrofitting process and what’s next in store for this technology.
Germany | Hannover

Smart tachographs in the EU: The technology leader perspective

10 Apr 2024 · Prosperity

As part of our ongoing series on the new tachograph, we asked IRU member Continental to unpack the retrofitting process and what’s next in store for this technology.

On 21 August 2023, the new smart tachograph 2 (G2V2) was made mandatory for all newly registered commercial heavy-duty vehicles in the EU.

The new SMT2 comes with a host of benefits, including additional features such as the automatic registration of border crossings and the possibility for enforcers to monitor driving and rest time hours remotely.

Vehicles equipped with the smart tachograph 1 are now being retrofitted with G2V2 devices.

Here’s what Continental had to say about the new tachograph and the ongoing retrofitting process.

What is the role of the tachograph in modern logistics?

The role that tachographs play in this highly sensitive field should not be underestimated. Tachographs maintain and increase compliance in road transport and contribute to road safety.

The tachograph is a secure and trustworthy source of data for regulatory audits as well as for payroll accounting, significantly simplifying the administrative handling of the most important asset in road transport logistics: drivers.

Tachographs are also a reliable source of data for the optimisation of business processes for which clearly identifiable driver and vehicle data are required. This makes tachographs a facilitator of supply chain automation. Tachograph data meets the highest security tamper-proofness standards.

The digital generation has also considerably improved planning certainty and efficiency for freight forwarders by making data available much faster. 

How are operators adapting to the constant changes in tachograph technology and requirements?

Technology and legislation are subject to constant change, adapting to the very dynamic progress in the transport and logistics sectors and Europe’s ever-growing traffic volumes.

The transport industry’s complex processes have led to complex legislation which have initiated changes in tachograph rules. 

Tachographs help drivers and companies comply with the rules and regulations. Tachograph technology is constantly evolving to meet the changing legislative landscape. However, while for the people in the transport industry it may feel that they must adapt to frequent changes in the handling of tachographs, this is, in most cases, due to changes in legislation, not technology.

 While tachographs constantly improve technologically to keep up with the high security standards, these constant improvements are not usually noticed by tachograph users. There really has been only one radical shift in technology: the switch from analogue to digital. Everything else has been a mere adaptation to legislative changes.

How is the retrofitting process advancing?

There are enough DTCO 4.1 smart tachograph version 2 devices available on the market. The workshop network is ready to support fleets by retrofitting commercial vehicles engaged in international transport with the smart tachograph 2. 

What we have not seen so far are fleets using their mandatory periodical inspections to exchange their old tachographs for new ones, such as the VDO DTCO 4.1. We strongly recommend doing so. Otherwise, we may end up in a situation whereby workshops are overloaded.

A lack of reliable information and rumours circulating in the industry are a challenge for companies. We recommend that operators use their regular tachograph inspections to retrofit vehicles used in international transport. 

Many managers wonder whether they must exchange their vehicles’ tachographs. On our myVDO service portal, we’ve made available the “DTCO Retrofit Check” tool to help fleet managers comply with EU retrofitting requirements under Mobility Package 1 and determine which tachograph they will need.

What should the ideal tachograph of the future look like?

The tachograph of the future will be a connected and online system with a dedicated, highly secure unit in the vehicle, with harmonised interfaces for continued and reliable exchange of data between all the players engaged in road transport. 

New technologies will further enhance digitalisation and connectivity. Artificial intelligence will play a strong role, especially in the evaluation of data and process optimisation. The tachograph of the future will be part of these changes, offering a flexible, scalable, user-oriented, transparent and trusted system.

In the first article of the series, IRU member TLN provided the Dutch perspective.