Belgian innovator monitors all Volvo trucks worldwide


Real innovators cannot be stopped. Real innovators do not allow promising ideas to gather dust on a shelf. Pieter Gheeraert is such an innovator. The 29-year-old manager at Volvo Trucks convinced the Swedish headquarters to launch a project worth millions in Belgium.

Present-day garages keep track of the cars and trucks they service as this data helps with troubleshooting and maintenance. But why not prevent breakdown through real-time monitoring?

Collecting data worldwide

If all Volvo trucks transferred real-time data on the truck’s health status and if the data was managed centrally, logistics companies, garages and Volvo Trucks should be in a better position to respond to potential problems.

This was precisely the idea nurtured by Pieter Gheeraert, Manager Connected Services Support in de Ghent department of Volvo Trucks.

After completing the Vlerick ‘Take the Lead‘ training, he managed to convince Volvo’s Swedish headquarters to monitor all trucks worldwide in real time from Belgium.

Central monitoring from Belgium

The new application monitors the technical data of trucks centrally, we read in De Tijd newspaper. This is used to compile a list of vehicles requiring maintenance which is sent periodically to garages. Belgium-based central monitoring also helps prevent unexpected breakdowns, by warning the driver that there is a strong risk of a breakdown occurring, for instance.

15 people develop the platform

Belgian innovator Pieter Gheeraert lobbied for months. “At first I was given the message that I was going far too fast. ‘We’re getting there’, was the answer from Sweden. After I refocused my pitch and digital strategy, I was able to convince Karin Falk, Senior Vice President at Volvo Trucks. “

“She thought my project was the right way to go. She decided to shift other projects aside and asked me how many millions I needed.”

Now, Gheeraert has a few millions to invest. With a 15-strong team from Ghent, he will develop a platform that continuously monitors all trucks in real time via GPS or the Internet.

For truck updates, like AppleBijkomend, they are also testing whether Volvo can update the software remotely in the trucks. “We want to evolve into a system allowing us to press a central button to enable all trucks to download a general update, as you do on your iPhone. We are already testing this and have received the green light from Sweden to fully deploy it,” Gheeraert told De Tijd.