Volkswagen Truck & Bus has launched a MAN-developed, cloud-based vehicle management system which the company claims will significantly change the transportation industry
Volkswagen’s new cloud-based RIO operating system is said to bundle digital solutions for the transportation and logistics industry that encompass vehicles manufactured by competitors as well as a variety of telematics platforms.
Developed by truck maker MAN – one of Volkswagen’s subsidiaries – RIO is billed as a first for all players in the transport supply chain: shippers, dispatchers, carriers, drivers and recipients. The system comprises a uniform information and application platform that includes forecasting features and which uses intelligent algorithms to combine different sources of data.
Feeds into the system come from trucks, trailers, drivers and logistics centres and is pooled with real time traffic, weather and navigation data to provide users with concrete recommendations regarding routes, time tables, loading schedules and a host of other functions.
The system, which is scheduled to become operational in April next year, is aimed at improving transportation and logistics processes with a view to significantly increasing efficiency and transparency within the industry. According to MAN’s claims, the ability to harness data from within the transport sector is often not possible due to the fact that operators involved use different software systems – whether for cargo related applications or fleet management purposes.
“RIO is the first to offer a common platform and thus one that can be used regardless of the vehicle brand or telematics system. This means that fleet customers with mixed fleets can use digital services in one single solution,” the statement says.
“In addition, all vehicle types can be refitted without any difficulties. Systems that already exist and that are used as single solutions – for instance to manage vehicle data, maintenance schedules or a spare parts inventory – can be transferred to the common platform.”
Andreas Renschler, CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, said RIO would fundamentally change the world of transportation. “For the first time, our unified platform enables the registration, management and integrated use of all data and information available in the transportation system.
“That is beneficial for our customers because it makes their business more profitable. And it is good for the environment, because we will see fewer empty trucks on the road. RIO will become available in Europe in a few months. The future of transportation does not begin in 2025, but right here and now.”
RIO is managed by MAN’s Digital Solutions function. “What we see emerging here is a platform where each user will benefit individually from its added value – regardless of how the fleet looks, which vehicle with which body is carrying the sales order, and which logistics software is used,” said Joachim Drees, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus AG.
He emphasised that Logistics 4.0 could succeed only if artificial barriers and data islands were overcome. “That is why we are making every effort to support the development of RIO,” he said.
MAN trucks released after April next year will be equipped with RIO as a standard feature; in addition, any customer at sister brand Scania can connect with the platform on request. Using a refit box, any vehicle can be integrated into the network with an FMS interface.
“RIO is programmed to automatically receive updates at any time and easily via the cloud. Updates will be carried out around 40 times per year,” Drees said.
He added that the system provided an opportunity for transport and logistics operators to take advantage of the benefits of digitisation without the need to have strong IT skills or trained experts. Similar to operating systems of smartphones, various apps could be used with RIO that were intuitive in their operation and accessible through any standard web browser.
“There will be vehicle-specific services – for instance from MAN or Scania – but also a marketplace for cross-vendor apps or those for third-party providers. Another special feature of RIO is a consistent user interface across all functions,” he said.
Markus Lipinsky, Chief Digital Officer at MAN, said RIO was not about launching another telematics system. “Instead, we deliberately designed the system as an open platform that brings together numerous island solutions.
“I am convinced that one technology company alone cannot master the complexity of the logistics industry. We are therefore looking for as many partners as possible with the same objective – to optimise the global transportation chain, thereby reducing costs and emissions.”
According to Drees, examples of future applications included:
- Driver Connectivity – an app sends relevant information to the driver’s smartphone, such as new transportation orders. Following one click, the app directly navigates to the customer.
- Truck Share is designed for shared-economy requirements. Vehicles can be handed over with a digital access key directly via a smartphone.
- Loadfox is an app for the smart order management of partial loads, with trucks better utilised through the allocation of additional cargo along the route, reducing the amount of traffic, increasing efficiency and helping to cut emissions.
- RIO and its features were demonstrated at last month’s IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover.