The easiest way to improve products is to communicate directly with users and respond to their needs and wishes. This especially applies to the smart tachograph from VDO – and who could make better suggestions for optimising user guidance than the drivers who work with this device every day. The result of this close cooperation between users and VDO has now resulted in the DTCO 4.0e.


More comfort


The DTCO 4.0e received its official authorisation in January 2021 with the design approval. The special feature of this new version of the smart tachograph is that it is based solely on a basic software upgrade for the DTCO 4.0. Manufacturer Continental emphasises above all enhancements in performance and user guidance, and the improvements are available to buyers without them having to buy and install a new device.

The basis for the optimisations was provided by the users themselves, who had shared their handling experiences with the previous version. The results can be seen in many details, thanks to which the DTCO 4.0e will make the drivers’ everyday work easier in the future. “It is a pure comfort upgrade, not a safety-critical one,” says Ralf Dohmen, Head of Customer Management at Continental, so the upgrade was not legally compulsory. However, if you want to do your drivers a real favour, just have the workshop install the update for you during the next periodic inspection.


With a love for detail


The many little things that make the DTCO 4.0e much more pleasant to use will be evident right from the start. The “Welcome” display now shows the driver’s name and the timeout for manual entry has been extended to ten minutes. The entire card handling process has also been simplified – in multi-driver operation, the cards are now no longer read in individually and one after the other before the journey can begin. The cards are now only read in after both drivers have made their manual entries and – if they wish – have already started the journey. This is an advantage that bus drivers in particular will appreciate.


A better overview of working and driving times


A special feature is the display of the remaining working time. In addition to the daily driving time, the accumulated pause and rest periods and the weekly driving time, the DTCO 4.0e can also display the working time. Fleet managers can also have standby time counted as working time, and even more alarm functions can now be set for continuous driving time, daily driving time, weekly driving time and the daily and weekly rest periods.


Looking for the “time thieves”


Drivers also joined VDO in the search for “time thieves” in the device. For example, the mechanical card ejection has been accelerated and the adjustment of comfort functions such as the individual seat and exterior mirror settings of the current driver (in vehicle models offering this option) via driver ID has now been drastically shortened from 18 to 3 seconds. The process of inputting the country setting has also been improved. In accordance with EU regulation 165/2014 for tachographs in road transport, when drivers make a manual entry, the symbol of the country in which the daily working time begins and ends is displayed. Thanks to the integrated GNSS receiver and a stored European map, the device now recognises when a country border has been crossed and offers drivers the relevant country for selection by default. This eliminates the time-consuming scrolling.


Since no new hardware is required, installing the new version at the next workshop inspection is a relatively simple task. Those who will benefit most from this manageable investment in the software upgrade are drivers in the transport, logistics and coach industries – and they will be extremely grateful for the comfort functions the upgrade provides.