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Smart tachograph: What you need to know


A new EU law introducing a smart tachograph took effect in June 2019. What does it mean for your business?


Smart tachograph is here. A new EU law requires all goods and passenger vehicles registered on or after June 15, 2019 to be fitted with a new generation of tachograph, the mandatory on-board digital recorders that measure the driving and resting times of goods and passenger vehicle drivers. Those who don’t comply risk heavy financial penalties.


The introduction of the new smart tachograph is designed to make enforcement of the law easier. The aim remains safer driving conditions and fairer competition across Europe among haulage, bus and coach companies.


The new tachograph is called ‘smart’ because manipulating the system is more difficult, there is much more data to process, and there is a series of new features. These include an Intelligent Transport Systems interface that in the future will allow sharing vehicle data or other data with other systems, and an enhanced geo-location software in the form of a Global Navigation Satellite System as a second source to minimise the possibility of manipulation.


In the next update of the smart tachograph automatic recording of the start (switching on) and end (switching off) locations of the driver’s journey will be introduced, as well as recoding every third hour in between these stages. It will enable remote access to some tachograph data via wireless data transmission to control authorities.


“The main thing from Scania’s point of view is to follow the European law that was introduced on June 15,” says Niclas Juthage, Project Manager responsible for the smart tachograph hardware.

Niclas Juthage Södertälje, Sweden Photo: Kjell Olausson 2018

“Every truck and bus going out on sale to the EU market from now on is legally bound to have a smart tachograph. Without it you’re not able to register your vehicle.”


So, how does smart tachograph affect your business? Here are some answers for Scania customers.


If I buy a new Scania vehicle, will it have a smart tachograph?

“All new Scania vehicles for the European market have or will have smart tachograph fitted. The law was introduced under a tight timetable, but we’ve had such a good team working on this to make it happen,” says Niclas Juthage.


Which vehicles do not need to be fitted with a smart tachograph?

The legislation only affects the EU and post-15 June trucks from outside the EU but which drive EU roads. The systems in the rest of the world remain unchanged.


EU market-vehicles that were registered before 15 June 2019 do not have to be fitted with smart tachograph and can continue using the previous-generation digital tachograph, even after they are serviced.


But if you bought a new Next Generation Scania (6-series) vehicle with a digital tachograph before 15 June 2019 and haven’t yet registered it, you’ll have to take it to the workshop to be fitted with a smart tachograph.


What if I need to retrofit a smart tachograph?

According to Niclas Juthage, “It’s 100-percent possible to retrofit Next Generation Scania (6-series) trucks and current buses (5-series) introduced from the end of September 2016 with this smart tachograph because we have built up a system to redo the Scania Onboard Production Specification data files inside the truck, which communicates with the vehicle’s control system and is essentially the truck’s DNA. We want to ensure that we don’t leave anyone behind.


He adds, “Bigger companies may well want smart tachographs retrofitted in all of their fleets all across Europe, so they can monitor them in the same manner, and because there is so much more information monitoring through this system.”


Who can fit a smart tachograph for me?

If you want to retrofit a smart tachograph a Scania dealer can help.


Who stores the data and what is it used for?

Customers who subscribe Scania Tachograph Services have their tachograph data collected and stored on their behalf.


A paid subscription covers the activation of the data, including individual data.


“Scania handles the storage of these files with great care, and we can also do the analysis for our customers if they would like this service,” says Lara Johansson, Tachograph Services Business Manager.


Is the driver card compatible with smart tachograph?

The new version of the driver card works with smart tachograph and with the previous generation digital tachograph, and the older generation driver card is also compatible with smart tachograph.