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Uncover the Top 5 Ways Commercial Navigation Improves Fleet Efficiency

Truck drivers put themselves and their companies at risk whenever they use consumer navigation systems.

Drivers that followed voice-guided consumer navigation had more than 3,200 bridge strikes between 2007 and 2017. Furthermore, 12 fatal crashes occurred when drivers struck overhead bridges between 2014 to 2018, according to data analysis by Trimble MAPS.

Consumer applications also put fleets at risk of getting a $11,000 company fine by putting drivers on roadways with truck restrictions.

Commercial navigation platforms account for vehicle heights, weights and local roadway ordinances to avert these risks, said Rishi Mehra, director of operations & strategy for Trimble MAPS, during a recent FreightWaves webinar.

Mehra said the benefits of using commercial navigation go beyond driver safety.


“There is a very big misconception out there in the market that navigation is just a tool for the drivers,” he said. “It also is a great tool for fleets.”


Mehra presented the top five ways fleets can use commercial navigation to keep their loads, equipment and drivers safe and performing efficiently. He explained several key features of the Trimble MAPS’ platform that combine driver navigation with back-office workflows for route planning, execution and analysis including:


  1. Controlled Application Settings

Fleets use a web portal with the PC*Miler and Trimble final mile routing systems to control their navigation settings. The settings ensure fleetwide safety and consistency, he said. Users can “not leave anything to chance” by setting vehicle profiles, specifying load type (53’ dry van, hazmat, etc.), and selecting options to minimize use of toll roads and avoid areas of risk, he said.



Navigation settings in the web portal are synced to CoPilot navigation in the cab. The navigation can automatically re-route drivers in severe weather events as updates come from state-issued road closures and traffic flow guidelines.


  1. Verified Commercial Location Data

Trimble MAPS did a survey and found that 25% of the customer location data that fleets use is inaccurate by more than one-half mile for entrance and exit locations.

Data engineers and scientists at Trimble MAPS use precise GPS data to mark shipper and receiver locations with geofences. With the pre-defined locations, the navigation routes drivers to entries, docks, and exits based on vehicle types and preferred travel paths.

The ongoing development is removing guesswork that otherwise would add time to routes and increase driver frustration and dangerous vehicle maneuvers, Mehra said.


  1. Site Guidance in the Last Mile

Once drivers arrive at truck-specific entry locations, the navigation routes them on truck-specific paths to docks to avoid dangerous maneuvers.

Fleets can use Trimble’s pre-verified, site-specific notes for arrivals as well as create their own customer notes and voice-guided information. The CoPilot Truck application can give drivers pop-up messages with contact names and numbers to call, detailed site procedures, expected wait times and more.

The information helps drivers improve efficiency and safety. It also helps shippers and carriers track detention and optimize relationships, he said. To date, Trimble MAPS has gathered metadata for site guidance on 65,000 locations.

“All of that rich information brings a new dimension to a navigation solution,” he said.


  1. Dynamic ETAs and Automated Notifications

Fleets can automate communications between drivers, dispatchers and customers for estimated time of arrival (ETA) of shipments.

The initial ETA is calculated with the route plan and updated dynamically when drivers encounter weather events, traffic incidents or take longer breaks than planned, for example. Dispatchers also receive real-time alerts if a driver deviates out of a route plan.

Real-time visibility of shipment ETAs and route compliance helps fleets improve customer service and asset utilization, Mehra said.



  1. Real-time Visibility and Post-trip Insight

After a load is delivered, fleet managers can review the plan versus the actual trip to see results for distance, drive time, toll costs and more. Managers can use the reporting for coaching drivers and to improve routes to remove guesswork, he said.

Trimble MAPS did a plan versus actual analysis of 155,000 trips from five long-haul carriers. The analysis showed the fleets could have saved a total of $222,763 and 3,117 hours per month, on average, if drivers had followed the route that was sent to them.


To summarize, Mehra explained that Trimble MAPS commercial navigation solutions help fleets improve safety, efficiency and driver relationships by taking control of route settings and by giving drivers better guidance down to the final mile.

CoPilot Truck navigation is available on all major telematics providers. Fleets can customize and embed the application in their own workflows and configure the look and feel of the driver UI by using an SDK kit from Trimble MAPS, he added.


Experiencing the Power of Commercial Navigation

For these reasons and more, harnessing a commercial navigation solution can help your drivers stay safe and productive throughout their journey.

Interested in learning more about how to select a navigation system that can fit your needs? Discover how CoPilot® Truck by Trimble MAPS can help you eliminate the concept of “lost” in your fleet.