With new state-of-the-art diesel engines, school districts can now measure engine health, prioritize maintenance needs and decrease their total cost of ownership in a way that has never before been possible.
With the debut of the long-awaited Detroit DD5 and DD8 diesel engines suited for Thomas Built Buses’ Saf-T-Liner C2 and Saf-T-Liner HDX, a new wave of school bus connectivity will hit the market this year with the Detroit Connect Virtual Technician remote diagnostic service. This new service, which will be standard and factory-installed on all school buses equipped with either the DD5 or DD8 engine, helps take the guesswork out of bus maintenance—which increases uptime and reduces maintenance costs.
Virtual Technician provides real-time engine diagnostic data and delivers key insights to the transportation manager, which can help a fleet identify maintenance issues, trends and root causes. With this information, fleet managers can make informed decisions like servicing buses only when needed, based on the actual health of the bus, or if necessary, pulling a bus off the road immediately for service.
“We are seeing connectivity advance at a rapid pace,” said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “Fueled by the commercial transportation and automotive markets, many of the advancements we see in what we call ‘connected buses’ today are focused not only on delivering fault codes and diagnostic information but also on delivering analysis that gives the fleet manager actionable information. On-board remote diagnostic services are extremely advanced today and are becoming more so with new developments on the horizon.”
In a real-world application, a Detroit Connect Virtual Technician notifies fleet managers within minutes after a fault code has been triggered, as well as the severity of the fault. The notifications are delivered either through the Detroit Connect portal, mobile app or even email.
The Detroit Customer Support Center further analyzes the critical faults and provides fleet managers with the cause of the fault code, recommendations for fault resolution, and if necessary, the parts needed to fix the issue and where to find them. This allows a fleet manager to service buses when needed and prioritize severe maintenance issues—which saves time and money.
“Many of our customers are finding that the benefits of having a remote diagnostic service on their school bus not only makes their jobs easier, but also decreases the total cost of ownership of their fleet,” said Edgerly. “Real-time transmission of fault data provides huge savings in maintenance costs. Being connected in this way is becoming invaluable for many of our customers and soon will be a must-have for all districts across the country.”
To learn more about Detroit Connect Virtual Technician or other innovations on Thomas Built buses, school districts should speak with their local Thomas Built dealer.