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Volvo, Mack each share how remote software, parameter updates are helping fleets reduce downtime.

ATLANTA. Two truck manufacturers said more fleets are beginning to benefit from remote over-the-air software updates.

Speaking at individual media events during the Technology & Maintenance Council’s annual meeting, Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks each said these updates have reduced downtown by thousands of days, a figure certain to grow as these programs continue to expand.

“We see great potential for further improving truck availability and the ownership experience as we build on the platform and capabilities we’ve developed over more than two decades,” said Conal Deedy, connectivity director for Volvo Trucks North America.

Deedy said that more than 1,300 vehicles have received software and parameter updates through Volvo’s Remote Programming system since June. It has cut downtime by more than 600 days, with downloads averaging about 20 minutes.

Volvo’s Conal Deedy and Saia’s Jason Plume discuss remote-over-the-air updates at a TMC press event. (Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner)

The updates can be conducted anywhere in the United States and Canada where a cellular connection is available. Once the truck is parked, the engine needs to be turned off with the key in the “on” position, and the parking break engaged before an update could begin.

Deedy said the system also offers parameter changes for road speeds, or to shift between various operating modes.

Jason Plumlee, director of maintenance for Saia, touted the possibilities of over-the-air updates during Volvo’s media event. He confirmed it is resulting in reduced downtime by allowing calibration and other updates without the vehicles having to visit one of the firm’s 35 maintenance facilities.

Since going live in October, 20 customers and about 3,500 vehicles have benefited. There have been more than 380 updates, saving more than 500 days of downtown and decreasing the time needed to do a software update from days to minutes.

Mack’s David Pardue updates the media on Mack’s connectivity offerings during TMC. (Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner)

“Mack Over The Air enables customers to ensure their trucks are operating at an optimal level without disrupting their schedules in today’s hypercompetitive just-in- time economy,” said Pardue.

The company said Brooklyn Ready Mix recently updated engine and aftertreatment software on all 10 of the company’s concrete mixers during a single day.

The service is available with Mack trucks equipped with the company’s 2017 or newer engines. Mack Over The Air is provided at no charge during the initial two-year base engine warranty.