Isaac Instruments says it has secured third-party certification for its electronic logging devices (ELDs), currently making it the largest supplier to meet a federal mandate’s underlying technical standards.
The approval follows testing by FPInnovations, which along with Commercial Driver Technology and CSA Group is one of three recognized third-party certification bodies. Only five suppliers including Isaac Instruments have had devices certified so far.
Isaac Instruments says it has already equipped 40% of Canada’s large carriers with ELDs. And it was one of the early supporters of Canada’s approach to an ELD mandate.
Unlike the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which allow suppliers to self-certify devices, Transport Canada introduced the third-party certification process to limit potential tampering with Hours-of-Service data.
“We got involved very early and we know we were among the first, and somewhat paving the road,” Isaac CEO, chairman and co-founder Jacques DeLarochelliere said in an exclusive interview with Today’s Trucking and Transport Routier. “It’s been a two-year journey.”
The certification process itself involves more than 450 test cases, and Isaac was confident that its devices were fully compliant as early as January.
“We’re fine with the fact that it’s rigorous and it’s strong,” DeLarochelliere said of the certification process. But Isaac Instruments devices faced additional test-related hurdles because of their automated capabilities.
“We believe this is the time for automation,” he stressed. “The screen touches are reduced to a minimum, so that’s something that the test cases were not aligned with.”
Many of the underlying tests were also based on technology developed almost a decade ago, reflecting rules established in the U.S. But in the years since then, the technology has evolved to include wireless gateways, he added, noting that Isaac devices incorporate a wireless network that doesn’t require a cell signal.
Isaac has also certified all its legacy systems. Existing users will be able to prepare the related software through over-the-air updates that are being offered at no extra charge. And DeLarochelliere recommends that fleets phase in the updates over several months.
“June 2022 is coming quickly,” he said.
While the federal mandate was officially effective June 12, 2021, provinces agreed to defer enforcement because of a lack of certified devices and challenges associated with Covid-19.
The mandate will apply to all federally regulated truck drivers that cross provincial or federal borders – including drivers based in the U.S. But Canadian fleets already dominate such cross-border activity, he noted. The U.S. fleets will need to decide whether to update all their trucks with certified devices, focus on units that cross into Canada, or partner with a Canadian carrier using certified devices.
“I don’t think it’s going to change the dynamics drastically,” he said.
For its part, Isaac Instruments is in the midst of a dramatic expansion plan south of the border. This year it opened an office in Cleveland, Ohio, and in the first six months of 2021 it hired 53 additional staff. “We are committed to that market just like we are committed to the Canadian market,” he said.
And now it is able to focus on such activities.
“It’s no longer about ticking all the boxes and getting certified as a priority, so that’s a relief,” DeLarochelliere said. “Now it the time to turn the page and move forward.”