• New RIO brand integrates digital solutions for the Transport & Logistics ecosystem;
• Open platform also incorporates competitor vehicles;
• Significant boost to the transparency and efficiency of the transportation industry;
• As the initiator of the RIO project, MAN is responsible for developing the brand within Volkswagen Truck & Bus.
For the first time ever, all parties involved in the supply chain - from the shipper to the recipient - through haulers, carriers, loaders, dispatchers and drivers, can be networked via a uniform information and application system which includes predictive functionality. RIO uses smart algorithms to combine and analyse data from a wide range of sources. By consolidating data on tractor units, trailers, superstructures, drivers and orders, and combining this data with traffic, weather or navigation information, for example, RIO can deliver real-time advice to its users. Significant improvements in transport and handling processes will be achieved in the process, which will give a substantial boost to the efficiency and transparency of the entire transport ecosystem.
An "operating system" for the global supply chain
The transparent use of data has previously been almost impossible to achieve within the transportation industry because the different stakeholders use several different software systems for tasks such as cargo and vehicle management. RIO is the first of its kind as it provides a shared platform which can be used with any vehicle brand or telematics system, meaning that customers with mixed fleets will now be able to use a single solution to access digital services. In addition, retrofits can be seamlessly performed in all vehicle types. Existing systems used as stand-alone solutions, for example, for vehicle data management, maintenance, spare part inventories or driver scheduling, can be transferred to the joint platform.
According to Andreas Renschler, CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus,"RIO will shake the very foundations of the transportation industry as we know it and act as a game changer by providing a standardised platform for the capture, management and integrated use of all the data and information available in the transport system. This is good news for our customers, because it will boost their profits. It’s also good news for the environment, because there will be fewer empty trucks on the roads. RIO will be available within a matter of months, so we don't have to wait until 2025 to see the future of transport it starts here and now.”
RIO is the result of an MAN initiative and will fall under the remit of the MAN Digital Solutions Department. The ultimate aim is better profitability for customers. In the words of Joachim Drees, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus AG and Member of the Management Board of Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH,"We're creating a platform which generates customised added value for every user and which makes it completely irrelevant how a vehicle fleet is structured, which vehicle is paired with which superstructure for a particular customer order or which logistics software is used." He makes a particular point of noting that,"Logistics 4.0 will only be a success if we can find a way around the artificial hurdles and data silos. That's why RIO has our absolute support."
From spring 2017, new MAN trucks will be fitted with RIO as standard. Additionally, all Scania customers will be able to connect to the platform upon request. Any vehicle with an FMS interface will be able to join the network by means of a retrofit box. RIO will be updated at any time automatically via the cloud. There might be up to 40 updates within the year.
Digitisation has never been easier - RIO leads the way through the data jungle
RIO's benefits are not limited to the owners of large fleets. It also offers a unique possibility to small and medium-sized transport companies to leverage the benefits of digitisation without having to invest on extensive IT know-how or specially trained experts. Similar to smartphone operating systems RIO can be used to run various intuitive apps that can be accessed via any standard web browser. Vehicle-specific services will be offered by manufacturers such as MAN and Scania, but there will also be a marketplace for vendor-independent and third-party developer apps. Another unique feature of RIO is the uniform user interface across all functions. The idea behind this is not only to have an easily recognisable platform but also to provide an intuitive interface for the various stakeholders involved in the process of this ecosystem in order to ensure broad user acceptance.
Markus Lipinsky, in charge of the RIO project in his role as Head of Digital Solutions at MAN, explains the underlying principles,"What we're bringing to the market is not just another telematics system. We've deliberately designed RIO as an open platform which consolidates the numerous stand-alone solutions which exist at present. It's quite clear to me that no technology company acting on its own can ever conquer the complexity of the logistics industry. Our aim is therefore to establish links with as many other partners as possible who follow the same goal, which is namely to optimise the global transport chain in order to cut costs and reduce emissions."
Some of the partners involved in the RIO project since the beginning are Continental, Schmitz-Cargobull, Krone, Meiller and Tom Tom. Solution providers such as Microlise, Telogis and Idem will also be on board as partners, with BNS and LIS collaborating on the software side. RIO is also working together with start-ups such as Synfioo, ParkHere and Loadfox.
Examples of future applications
Driver’s Connectivity means that drivers can receive relevant updates, e.g. new orders, via a smartphone app. They can then plan a route to the customer with a single click.
The Truck Share functionality meets the demands of the shared economy and makes it possible for vehicle handovers to take place using a digital access code entered directly into a smartphone.
Loadfox is an intelligent order management app which tackles the problem of partial cargoes. It can help ensure that truck capacity is better utilised by adding loads en route to only partially loaded trucks. This cuts the number of vehicles on the road at the same time as increasing efficiency and helping to reduce emissions.
The IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover will be the setting for a demonstration of these and many other RIO functions. Upon release the apps will offer a varied range of functionalities in areas such as truck sharing, driver coaching, vehicle load optimisation, trucker communities, DTCO downloads and geo-fencing. Further information can be found at my-RIO.de/.
MAN will present the new RIO brand in the Innovation Area at the IAA using a Connectivity Truck, which is a TGX 18.560 tractor with a semitrailer that displays information about the new brand on a holographic projection screen. The Connectivity Truck also features a further innovation in the form of a prototype camera-based mirror replacement system, offering a first glimpse of developments that we might see in MAN trucks in the future.