Serco is a FTSE 100 international service company, working extensively on large public sector projects both in the UK and abroad.
Serco’s requirement was to fit a computerised job dispatch and tracking system to a fleet of around 70 waste collection vehicles in their Environmental Services division.
The main Serco account lead for the project explains more: “At the start of the project we looked at various hardware solutions, including hand-held and removable devices. We chose In-CarPC’s system because we felt it provided the best value for money, was more robust than hand-held solutions, and gave the greatest level of flexibility by virtue of being a fully featured PC. After running a trial system successfully we settled on In-CarPC’s hardware, and then developed a PC-based software application that would ultimately run on the computer in each vehicle.”
The software application that was developed performs many functions, including:
- Prompts the driver to run through a safety checklist at the start of each day
- Records the names of the driver and crew for auditing purposes
- Sends the location of each vehicle back to HQ in real-time and records historical track information
- Provides a 2-way messaging system
- Allows staff at HQ to dispatch specific jobs to each vehicle (e.g. if a resident requests a special collection, the nearest vehicle can be sent to do a pick-up)
- Allows vehicle crews to log events in real-time (e.g. if there is a dangerous obstruction on the route)
The PC solution provided by In-CarPC comprises the N3160 vehicle PC running Windows XP Embedded, a 7″ on-dash touch sensitive display and a GPS receiver, with 3G internet connectivity being added by the client. The computers automatically turn on with the vehicle ignition, and wait 30 minutes after the engine has been turned off before shutting down, so that the driver can complete his end-of-day check list.
The account lead continues: “Due to delays with other areas of the project, when the go-ahead was given for the procurement of the in-vehicle computers we were under enormous pressure to receive the PCs as soon as possible. In-CarPC worked to very tight timescales and delivered all the PCs on time, with our software preinstalled and ready to go. We are very pleased with both In-CarPC’s machines and their high level of service, and I am more than happy to recommend the company.”
The fleet of vehicles mainly consisted of Mercedes Econic trucks, DAF 7.5 tonne trucks and Ford Transit vans. The above picture shows the final installed solution in one of the Mercedes trucks. The PC’s 7″ touchscreen is the left-hand screen, and is capable of displaying the output from the existing rear-view camera system if required in the future. This would allow the rear-view camera screen (on the right in the picture above) to be removed, so that only a single screen would need to be mounted inside the cab. The PC was mounted out of sight behind a panel, out of reach of the driver and crew.
Client’s website: www.serco.com