Japanese trucking firms implementing GPS to help reduce emissions

Japanese trucking firms implementing GPS to help reduce emissions


Nikkei News reports that major Japanese trucking companies are introducing GPS devices in their fleets to measure emissions accurately and to optimize truck routes, with the goal of reducing CO2 emissions.

Nippon Express has installed such systems in all of its 17,500 trucks at a cost of ¥2.5 billion ($23.8 million, or $1,360 per truck). The trucking firm estimates that using the new system will help slash CO2 emissions by nearly 10%, and plans to use it in another 10,000 trucks owned by group companies.

Hitachi Transport System and its group firms will introduce similar systems by next spring in all 250 trucks operating in the greater Osaka area. The costs, including those for software development, are estimated at ¥400 million ($3.8 million, or $15,200 per truck).

Hitachi Transport (which began introducing hybrid trucks in 2004) operates its truck transport service on a regular time schedule on more or less fixed routes in the Osaka area, which the company believes makes it easier to monitor the results of its emission-reduction initiative. The group also aims to have its subcontractors use the GPS system for their 750 trucks within two years.

Transport accounts for 20% of Japan’s total CO2 emissions. The sector’s emissions are increasing—the amount emitted in fiscal 2003 was nearly 20% higher than the fiscal 1990 level. The government is targeting a five percentage-point reduction of transport sector emissions by 2010 to a level 15% higher than in fiscal 1990. The government is requiring transport companies and their clients to submit their reduction plans and also report on their progress.

Automakers and researchers have been working with the notion of using a GPS system and telematics in general in transport fleets in a variety of applications to reduce fuel consumption and emissions for a number of years.

DaimlerChrysler researchers, for example, began working with an experimental cruise control system in 2002. The result is “Predictive Cruise Control” (PCC), a cruise control system that not only maintains a preset speed, but also regulates the engine by assessing driving conditions ahead (via GPS) and adjusting speed accordingly, delivering significant fuel savings.