Volvo solves lockout woes with Smart Access solution for truck drivers

In News, Volvo3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 23, 2023

Volvo Group has developed a Smart Access solution to help truck drivers locked out of their vehicles.

Volvo says lockouts and lost keys are common pain points experienced by truck drivers, resulting in long delays and downtime. This prompted Innovation Lab at Volvo Group in Silicon Valley to develop a solution called Smart Access that would eliminate lockout incidents and promote uptime for drivers and fleets.

The team began by interviewing over 17 truck drivers and fleet managers from around the globe to understand the challenges and frustrations caused by truck lockouts.

Through the insights gathered by these need finding activities, the Innovation Lab team was able to develop use cases rooted in personal experiences and based on events customers had actually experienced in the field.

Nine solutions were identified as possibilities to provide value to the customers. The solution chosen was called Smart Access, which aims to keep drivers driving by providing access to the assets and facilities they need to do their job, which saves time, cost, and improves the driver’s experience.

To test the viability of the proposed solution, Volvo partnered with a startup called OTA Keys, which was later acquired by Continental. In conjunction with Nextran, a Mack dealer in Orlando, FL, hardware was installed on 20 trucks in the Carroll Fulmer fleet to remotely unlock the driver door and track lockouts over a six-month proof of concept (PoC) period.

Based on feedback from the Road Service Manager and the Shop Manager at Carroll Fulmer, the team at Innovation Lab was able to track the lockout incidents and assess the financial costs associated with them, including lost productivity and downtime.

“I think that when exploring new service opportunities, the Innovation Lab is a perfect collaboration partner. They have the ability to think outside of the box and a good understanding of analysing customer pain points to evaluate future viability for Volvo Trucks,” said Urban Lindh, VP Parts, Services & Technology Strategy. “Smart access is a good example of where we were quick and agile, we can test and then move into scalability faster.”

At the end of the six-month PoC, the Innovation Lab produced three main outcomes from the Smart Access project. The learnings helped validate use cases for the My Truck App, highlighted future value for existing offerings such as Volvo Action Services and Mack One Call, and defined potential opportunities for the roadmap of services for Volvo Trucks.

Through the standard Innovation Lab process, they were able to conduct substantial need finding, identify pain points, run a PoC with real customers, and deliver solutions with tangible value.