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The importance of a CAN Bus connected Truck Camera Solution


Today’s fleet camera solutions feature amazing capabilities that have greatly elevated the potential for more efficient fleet management and overall safer driving. From utilizing AI technology to detect collision risks and alert drivers and managers in real time, to picking up infractions such as stop-sign and red-light violations to help prevent future accidents, these devices allow fleet managers to sit in the passenger seat with all their drivers, no matter how many miles away they are. Click here to see the complete benefits of AI camera solutions.


However, AI cameras alone are only one piece of the complex puzzle that is fleet management and fleet safety. Proper telematics is also critical to many operations in fleet management, and to achieve the full promise of a telematics solution, devices with direct connection to the vehicle’s CAN Bus are all but necessary. You may recall a previous article of ours that dove into what the CAN Bus is and how it works, but as a quick refresher, the CAN Bus is essentially the network that allows many of the vehicle’s smaller systems (Electronic Control Units, or ECUs) to communicate. If you think of a car like a body, each ECU can be thought of as a different organ, and the CAN Bus is akin to the nervous system: it is a central path for each part to communicate with each other.


Since it is football season, let us consider this example: A ball is thrown up to a receiver who is running towards the end zone. Now, as the receiver turns their head and sees the ball coming towards them, their brain has to send different messages to many different body parts in order to secure this catch and score a touchdown. It needs to tell the legs to prepare to jump, the arms to extend at the correct angle that it sees the ball coming, the hands to open to receive the ball, and a lot more (but we will just keep it to these three for now). Instead of the brain needing an individual connection with each of these parts – which would be six different connections in this case – it sends its messages along the central nervous system pathway, and the parts themselves determine whether they need the info or not. It’s like a highway where the exits are there, and if it is the right one, then the car takes it, but if not, it keeps moving. This is the same thing with each ECU in the vehicle.



As you can see from the above diagram, point to point connection leads to an overly complicated system (and a lot of wires in the car!).


CAN Bus & Truck Cameras


We understand now that the CAN Bus network is a clever way to efficiently operate a car, but why and how does that factor into fleet management, and even more, AI truck cameras? First let us begin with how the CAN Bus network allows for telematics solutions to integrate with ease. Utilizing this central pathway, we can think of a device such as Positioning Universal’s FT7500 as just another ECU that can be plugged into the CAN Bus network. With one simple connection, the device has access to all of the data from every ECU in the vehicle. This is critical to unlocking the potential of a device such as the FT7500. Imagine the headache of having to connect a tracking & telematics device to each of the 80+ ECUs in a given vehicle. Luckily, the FT 7500’s compatibility with the CAN Bus network allows for easy installation and a wealth of fleet management features.


Building on that, Positioning Universal’s PosiVision EdgeTM AI Camera Solution connects to the FT7500. In essence, this solution is completely tapped into not only what is going on around the vehicle, but also what’s going on inside it. It is a truly complete solution. Now, fleet managers can harness a plethora of valuable tools and insights from this complete solution that can make a significant difference in overall fleet management.


Advantages of the connected two-part solution


We have discussed before about the many advantages of a dual-facing truck camera, the hot, new commodity in the fleet management world. But, with CAN Bus connection via its gateway partner FT7500 device, Positioning Universal’s PosiVision EdgeTM AI Camera Solution can provide fleet managers added reliability and efficiency during their operations.


True Odometer



The first big advantage of having a CAN Bus connection is that this solution comes with “true” odometer readings. That is, instead of a camera solution trying to decipher miles driven through GPS calculations, Positioning Universal’s solution pulls the data right from the engine, making its numbers much more reliable. So, no matter what conditions the vehicle operates in, the fleet manager will know the true odometer readings, which is extremely helpful for proper preventative maintenance practices.


Telematics & ELD


Odometer readings are just the starting point to the capabilities of the connected solution. Similarly , by connecting to the CAN Bus, the PosiVision EdgeTM AI Camera Solution can easily detect when a vehicle has started and stopped. Without connecting to the CAN Bus, a device would need to engage accelerometers and attempt to calculate when a vehicle is switched on based on movement and other factors. However, in situations such as idling, a CAN Bus connection is necessary to detect the vehicle’s true state. In fact, idling is a situation where a complete AI camera/telematics solution can really show its capabilities. The FT7500 detects the engine state (on/off) and lack of movement through the accelerometer. Then, the AI Camera records footage to confirm whether it is true idling or a different circumstance (for example, stopped traffic on a highway). Detecting idling and finding the source of the issue is critical to reducing fuel consumption and maintenance costs.


And because this solution is connected to the CAN Bus and therefore receives its odometer and engine status right from the vehicle’s engine ECU, it is also ELD compatible, something that is required in virtually all fleet operations. So, fleet managers can enjoy their new, cutting-edge camera technology and check off their ELD requirement. It’s a true two birds with one stone solution.


Other Benefits


Having a CAN Bus connection allows for many other useful features to be integrated into the camera solution. By connecting to the CAN Bus, the FT7500 can also receive Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) that the vehicle transmits. These codes can be communicated in real time to fleet managers and help tremendously with planning maintenance, managing fuel consumption and reacting quickly to potential mechanical issues. On top of that, other indirect fuel efficiency metrics can be picked up, such as the mass airflow sensor volume, engine coolant, and more.


Conclusion


Overall, equipping a fleet with a camera solution is a great step to improving overall fleet management and fleet safety. However, by utilizing Positioning Universal’s PosiVision EdgeTM AI Camera two-part fleet management solution, many more benefits can be reaped, and the fleet will have increased vision, insights and reliability. It is a truly complete solution that allows fleet managers to see everything on the road and everything in the machine.

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