SAN DIEGO. A variety of upgrades to Rand McNally’s TruckPC mobile communication platform as well as for its other products have been announced here at the 2011 Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) convention.

Introduced in October, Rand McNally’s TruckPC – developed in partnership with DriverTech – combines an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) with navigation, workflow systems, in-cab video training and two-way communication capability.

The latest upgrade includes a digital on-board scanner that can be attached to the TruckPC so drivers can immediately transmit bills of lading, fuel receipts, and other paperwork back to operations right from the cab of their truck, explained Amy Krause, Rand McNally director of communications.

“We’re finding this kind of functionality is adding 40 minutes of time back into a driver’s day,” Krause told Fleet Owner. “It also allows them to get paid faster by getting all of their paperwork back to the office quicker.”

Proprietary truck-specific routing, points of interest, road construction, turn-by-turn directions and mileage calculation capabilities are now fully integrated into the TruckPC as well, she added. For a one-time fee of $89, the device can also be fed real-time traffic updates from around the country to further enhance routing selection.

“We’ve found one of the biggest problem areas for drivers is getting from the highway to the dock at their final destination – that’s when directions really become crucial,” Krause stressed.

The TruckPC update alsofeatures enhanced alerts to drivers about sharp curves, steep hills, speed limit changes, state boundaries, road construction, etc. For example, the “workflow” part of the system now can be customized in greater detail to provide driver with step-by-step instructions for loading/unloading at specific customer locations.

The company announced enhancements to its other products as well at the TCA show. One is the inclusion of 14,000 Mexican postal codes for its MileMaker and IntelliRoute software system, which allows fleets to calculate mileages and arrival times with much more specificity throughout North America.

A new “multi-stop, dock-to-dock” routing tool allows fleets to import more complex delivery schedules into those software packages to optimize their routes, taking advantage of appropriate truck-specific roads to maximize asset utilization and reduce cost per mile.

Finally, an “enhanced spreadsheet export” function allows fleets managers to analyze lanes based on true lane costs – including highest-cost tolls – and export them to a Microsoft Excel report for simpler auditing.