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Martina Morawietz

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From the North Pole, over the equator to the South Pole: Telekom networks Kässbohrer's all-terrain vehicles

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  • Over 1,100 vehicles are already equipped with a SIM card
  • Increasing connectivity for more safety
  • Telemetry data from the vehicles increases reliability
A Kässbohrer Pistenbully

No UFO or Alien but a Kässbohrer Pistenbully. © Kässbohrer / Deutsche Telekom

Kässbohrer, one of the leading manufacturers of off-road vehicles and market leader in the field of ski-piste machines, is increasing the connectivity of its off-road vehicles with SIM cards from Deutsche Telekom. This means that most areas of operation worldwide can be covered by Deutsche Telekom or its roaming partners.

All-terrain vehicles from Kässbohrer are not SUVs

When Kässbohrer talks about all-terrain vehicles, it does not mean the standard SUV vehicles that parents use to take their children to kindergarten or school. They are high-tech and highly developed special vehicles that are used in the most impassable, difficult and hard-to-reach areas of this world. Covered here by way of example: Ski resorts.

In the beginning there was operational safety

The transmission of telemetry data from the vehicles was the first argument for networking. In ski resorts, for example, snow groomers – Kässbohrer calls the product category PistenBully – are on the road all winter. The number of groomers is designed for the size of the ski area. So if one groomer were to break down, part of the ski area would not be prepared and tourists would be left disappointed. If a race of the international ski federation FIS was scheduled, the consequences would increase dramatically. With the evaluation of the transmitted telemetry data, Kässbohrer, and thus also its customers, obtains an overview of whether all vehicles are in perfect working order and avoids such failures. This saves the local or regional operators of ski resorts trouble and costs.

Safety and efficiency in deep snow and on steep slopes

To ensure an even snow cover, a special system – with which any vehicle can be equipped – measures the snow depth in the entire ski area. With the data visualised in real time, the driver can directly implement the instructions for the corresponding areas. In addition, the control centre evaluates the recorded data. On this basis, those responsible decide whether, for example, it is sufficient to move snow from elsewhere. In this way, they can reduce the cost-intensive use of snow-making equipment and save money. Depending on various parameters, data volumes of up to 40 GB per machine per month are accumulated. 

Fleet management also helps to analyse and optimise existing work processes with the help of the data. This reduces duplicate passes, for example, or even avoids them completely. The demographic shift of one generation of drivers to the next, imminent almost everywhere, is also made easier by allowing newcomers to be deployed much more quickly and in a more targeted manner.

For the mutual protection of the vehicles and their drivers, the location and deployment data are transmitted in real time. This requires network availability - even in extreme weather conditions - at an altitude of over 3500 metres. On a live map generated with this data, the vehicle pilots can see where drivers are currently situated. On steep slopes with a gradient of up to one hundred percent (45 degrees), the snow groomers are additionally secured with steel cables against slipping and accidents. The real-time overview prevents emergency vehicles from getting in each other's way. It is a great contribution to work safety. 

Kässbohrer has been working to reduce the CO2 footprint of its off-road vehicles for over ten years. To achieve this, they rely on efficient conventional, hybrid or even purely electric drives. Energy consumption can be further reduced by networking and thus precisely calculating the areas of use. 

The networked vehicles provide a vast amount of telemetry data. Recorded downtimes, malfunctions and other special incidents can be evaluated to keep vehicle downtimes as low as possible. This ensures that the fleet is operational every day.

You can find more information here.

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