Interest in the mandatory electronic logging device (ELD) regulation has soared in the past several months, as the clock will soon be ticking for drivers required to install an ELD on their vehicle. That’s where KeepTruckin Electronic Logging Device Inc. comes in, and it’s just one of many startups that have sprung into action to develop a new solution to meet the requirements of the impending mandate.
KeepTruckin, a San Francisco-based company founded by Shoaib Makani and Ryan Johns, offers a product that helps companies manage their fleets and ensure that their drivers quickly, easily — and legally — log their hours of service (HOS). After all, the ELD law will require that truckers keeping a record of duty status (log book) comply with the regulation within the next two to four years, following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s final rulemaking.
To-date, TechCrunch says the startup managed to raise a total $10.3 million in funding, thanks to Index- and Google Ventures. Its device is available now, and the system’s companion (the Electronic Logbook App) has been approved by the Department of Transportation. Furthermore, TechCrunch reports that 150,000 vehicle operators are already using the technology.
Rivals are aplenty and include companies such as Omnitracs, PeopleNet, Rand McNally, Teletrac, Big Road, FleetMatics, Verizon’s Networkfleet, J.J. Keller, and many more. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, which has been described by TechCrunch as a 4.5-million-person market.
But even with all the competition, the San Francisco startup is at an advantage, since purchasing its product will cost you zero dollars, and the monthly service fee (per unit) is only $20 per month. In addition, Overdrive says there’s a $0 lease arrangement and the hardware can be connected to a free Android- and iOS-compatible mobile app.
In comparison, KeepTruckin states that Omnitracs’ device has an upfront fee of $799, plus $20 per month; PeopleNet will charge an initial $1,950 for its technology, in addition to $35 per month; Rand McNally’s product will cost more than $500, with a service charge of $30; and Teletrac's product charges a service fee of $52.
The Pros & Cons
DOT-approval, great pricing, and a free app that allows vehicle operators to easily log their HOS information are only some of the highlights of KeepTruckin’s hardware/software combo. Fleets can also view the logs, along with real-time driver location, while a “GPS breadcrumb trail” allows them to keep tabs on where the truck has been.
What’s more, you can monitor your vehicle’s performance. And with all the available data, TechCrunch says, “You could, for example, identify and sell excess capacity in trucks,” so that driving around with an empty container is no longer an issue.
All that being said, the only real concern regarding KeepTruckin’s technology may be the possibility of driver harassment, as its product “automatically audits your drivers' logs for Hours of Service violations and form and manner errors,” at which point fleets are immediately notified if an error or violation is detected. Fortunately, the final ELD rulemaking should address this issue.