Mack makes driver-activated OTA updates standard

Updated May 21, 2021
200622 – Geotab Connected by Mack

Mack Trucks on Wednesday made its driver-activated Mack Over The Air (OTA) updates feature standard on the Mack Anthem, Pinnacle and Granite models, enabling customers to implement software updates themselves at a time when it’s most convenient for them.

“Mack continually looks for new ways to develop solutions that help improve our customers’ total cost of ownership,” says David Pardue, vice president of connected vehicle and contract services, Mack Trucks. “Driver-activated Mack Over The Air updates, the next evolution in remote programming, allows flexibility, along with the ability for customers to initiate software updates and the setting of vehicle parameters when it’s most suitable to their schedules.”

Mack says this driver download activation feature is factory-equipped on models built beginning Nov. 30, 2020, at its Lehigh Valley Operations, in Macungie, Pa., where all Mack Class 8 models for North America and export are assembled. Software retrofits for 2019 Model Year and later Anthem, Pinnacle and Granite models also are available. The company says the service is free for the first two years of ownership and can be extended by subscription after that time period.

Mack OTA remote programming was launched in 2017, and the driver display activation feature now further enhances the capability. Mack says OTA offers customers the ability to implement software updates and vehicle parameter settings remotely through Mack GuardDog Connect, Mack’s fully integrated telematics platform. Driver-activated updates eliminate the need for coordination phone calls with Mack OneCall agents, and updates are completed in less than 13 minutes, greatly reducing the amount of time the customer previously needed for updates, the company adds.

“With this driver-activated feature, fleets can conduct onboard updates via the truck’s instrument cluster, offering customers greater flexibility and efficiency,” Pardue says. “Each customer identifies who is able to activate the update, whether it’s the driver who receives notification that an update is available through the instrument cluster, or a designated technician who activates the update via a unique password.”

Additionally, Mack says Mack OneCall agents remain available 24/7 to assist whenever needed for scheduling and activating updates. Multiple vehicles also can simultaneously receive the updates.

Regarding performance of Mack OTA, the truck maker says it conducted thousands of internal tests before launching a successful four-month, two-phase pilot program with 15 fleets. During that time, more than 500 driver-activated updates were successfully conducted on each truck, resulting in zero issues.

The company states the driver-activated feature can be retrofitted on Mack Model Year 2019 and newer vehicles through Mack Premium Tech Tool, a Windows-based application designed to test, calibrate and program engine parameters. And through Mack OTA, customers also may set an extensive list of vehicle parameters such as maximum road speed, multiple idle shutdown parameters and kits, as well as parameters that control the Mack mDRIVE automated manual transmission.

The system also enables Mack-initiated software updates used to continuously enhance product performance to be downloaded and installed at the customer’s convenience, the company says.

Finally, OTA parameter changes also are available for previously purchased vehicles with Mack EPA 2017 engines, the company says.

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