U.S. Xpress is a Tennessee-based truckload carrier with a reputation for delivering excellent customer service and using innovative technology to do so. In the mid-2000s, the company deployed an in-cab solution that automates engine diagnostics and provides communication, navigation, and training-video presentation capabilities. The solution was so successful that U.S. Xpress decided to expand its effectiveness by redesigning the user interface using Windows® Presentation Foundation (WPF) and other rich-client technologies from Microsoft. Having deployed the new version of its solution to roughly half of its 4,600-truck fleet, the company anticipates that the enhancements will help it boost the productivity of key employees, retain skilled drivers in this high-turnover industry, enhance safety management, and significantly reduce IT costs.

Benefits

  • Boosts employee productivity
  • Enhances customer service
  • Helps retain skilled drivers
  • Reduces IT maintenance costs by 35 percent
  • Simplifies application targeting

Hardware

  • DriverTech DT4000 TruckPC devices

Software and Services

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Compact
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server
  • Windows XP Embedded
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1

 

Interesting quotes

In this business, time is especially precious; so, for the company to work most effectively, [employees] need to be accessing the same information at the same time. Thanks to this solution, they are.” - Ken Crane, Systems Manager, Mobile Technology, U.S. Xpress

According to Davison, developers were unsure whether WPF would run successfully on the DriverTech DT4000 TruckPC hardware. “The device relied on an embedded video card with limited memory that wasn’t designed to support desktop-level graphics performance,” he reports. “So we decided to develop and deploy a quick WPF-based prototype—and it ran beautifully. This made the decision to use WPF an easy one.”…

 

Like Taliaferro, other solo drivers feel much the same way. As Crane explains, in up to a dozen different cases, a driver was so impressed after using the newer version of XPE Truck that he or she was unwilling to move to a new truck that did not have that version installed. “In every case, the driver liked the new vehicle, but didn’t like that the vehicle was installed with a hardware device running the older version of XPE Truck,” Crane reports. “So before agreeing to the move, the driver asked that the shop manager replace the older device with a newer one that was running the enhanced version of XPE Truck.”…

“With LINQ, we were able to build route-tracking capabilities into XPE Truck in two weeks, from conception to pilot,” Davison says. “Without LINQ, we would have spent four times that long just dealing with edge cases and state-machine management.”…

To manage data persistence in the original version of XPE Truck, for example, the company relied on XML files—historically, a “nightmare” to maintain, according to Davison. By using SQL Server Compact for data management in the enhanced XPE Truck, the company can manage data persistence with the help of a full relational data store. “As a result, we are anticipating IT maintenance savings of 35 percent,” he says…

 

Case Study