Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Zonar Systems Inc announced that DTNA has become a minority investor in Zonar. This investment marks a milestone in DTNA’s development of smarter connected vehicles and in Zonar’s continued role as a leader in telematics and connectivity services.
The long-term strategic partnership aims to help DTNA and Zonar to achieve their shared vision of optimal transportation logistics through intelligent connectivity. Zonar will continue to operate independently of DTNA, with Martin Daum, chief executive officer of DTNA, becoming a member of its Board of Directors.
“Telematics and connectivity are revolutionizing commercial vehicle operation with enormous opportunities for OEMs – especially for us as the leader of this business,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses. “That is exactly why we made connectivity a dedicated part of our strategy. We consistently implement this strategy--and we have reached an important milestone. Our investment in Zonar will help us to put connected services on the road with even greater speed and variety. We are partnering with a pioneer in this field.”
Daum added: “The strategic partnership provides DTNA the ability to leverage the agile development and rapid innovation cycles for which Zonar is known. Zonar’s solutions, combined with DTNA’s industry leadership in engineering, will benefit customers across all markets. The future of DTNA’s and Zonar’s products will evolve, but our ultimate focus is on increasing efficiency and safety--benefitting everyone on the road.”
Brett Brinton, Zonar chief executive officer, said: “This is a relationship in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The drivers and fleet managers will all benefit from combining the big data analytics and rapid technology development Zonar offers with the depth of knowledge, precision and expertise in vehicle engineering DTNA brings. It is an honor to be selected as a technology partner to the world’s best vehicle manufacturer, aligning their philosophy of ‘the best or nothing’.”
The companies have partnered for more than five years, starting with the launch of the Virtual Technician remote diagnostic system. Today, Zonar’s products can be factory-installed in Freightliner Trucks, Western Star trucks and Thomas Built Buses. DTNA and Zonar will continue to co-develop new products and expand Zonar’s product suite, both as an OEM and independently.
The investment also underlines the ongoing evolution of Zonar’s diagnostic, safety and tracking systems that are seamlessly integrated into all DTNA vehicles. The collective vision includes vehicles tailored for each driver, route and payload. Every new DTNA vehicle coming off the line will benefit from this relationship, including vocational vehicles, school buses and on-highway trucks.
Zonar’s current solutions offer unparalleled visibility into fleet operations--including fuel savings and increased safety and uptime--across several market segments. The added resource of DTNA’s expertise will enable Zonar to expand on its present product line, as well as build new technology solutions for additional connected vehicle systems.
DTNA and Zonar are heavily involved in the technology revolution associated with connected vehicles and foresee significant benefits from their deepened relationship for fleets and individual drivers alike. Zonar’s technology provides fleets with benefits such as reducing fuel usage, increasing uptime, and improving compliance. Drivers powered by Zonar see tangible takeaways such as increased safety, easier HOS logging, and verified inspection records. Zonar’s 2020 tablet--which includes apps for HOS to meet the ELD mandate, EVIR, driver behavior coaching, and more--is an example of the customizable smart technology that connects drivers to their vehicles and back offices.
Zonar will continue to work closely with DTNA to build on the success of Virtual Technician, and to develop additional embedded technologies. DTNA’s complete telematics solution, branded Detroit Connect, was developed by and is powered by Zonar and is used in more than 150,000 vehicles, accounting for billions of miles driven.