Amazon uses a custom logging device to keep track of the trucks that are carrying its cargo


According to The Information, Amazon has developed electronic tracking technology for the trucks that its partners use to monitor their movements and hopefully improve driver safety. Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are federally mandated to prevent fatigue-related accidents on trucks, but now Amazon appears to be offering its partners a bespoke ELD offering that may give Amazon direct access to much more data from a self-managed tool.

Amazon’s Relay ELD – named after the company’s relay platform for booking delivery orders – works by plugging hardware into the diagnostic port on trucks to process information from the engine directly, The Information writes. It then communicates this data via Bluetooth in order to be logged in an accompanying app. ELDs typically track the location, movement, and turning on or off of a truck to monitor drivers’ working hours. When asked, Amazon did not explicitly confirm that it had developed its own ELD hardware. “As with many solutions, we use a third party hardware manufacturer,” the company says.

ELDs are required whether or not they are made by Amazon

According to The Information, Amazon’s ELD product is being offered to members of the Amazon Freight Partners Program (who often also lease the company’s trucks) with plans to install them on hundreds of tractor units by the end of the year. Amazon was able to confirm to The Information and The Verge that it has started testing new ELDs:

“We are actively investing in safety mechanisms in all of our operations and have recently begun testing new electronic logging devices required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with a select number of carriers to record driver compliance with working hours. “

According to Amazon, the new ELDs are currently being piloted on six tractor units to monitor operating hours (HOS) compliance – essentially the maximum time a driver is on duty, including breaks. The company did not disclose whether the data will be used for other purposes.

The location and movement data that Amazon sees could help drivers take rest breaks when traveling long-distance or potentially help the company make other logistical decisions. Previous plans to put cameras in the cabs of its vans and semi-trailers have also raised the question of what kinds of Amazon surveillance go too far.

Still, an ELD seems far less invasive than a camera – and again, the ELDs would be there anyway – but it’s still a valuable piece of a larger information puzzle to ensure driver safety and on-time Amazon parcels.


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