Blog Post

AOBRD vs ELD: What’s the Difference?

Stephen G. Eick

AOBRDs Meet FMCSA’s 395.15 Regulations
An Automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) is an electric, electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical device capable of recording driver’s duty status information accurately and automatically as required by § 395.15. The device must be integrally synchronized with specific operations of the commercial vehicle in which it is installed and, at a minimum, must record:

  • Engine Use
  • Road speed
  • Miles driven
  • Date and Time

AOBRD’s are defined in § 395.2 and regulated in § 395.15.  These regulations were introduced in 1988 and are nearly 30 years old.  The systems that implement  AOBRD technology tend to be based on older technology and will become obsolete on December 18, 2017.

ELDs Meet FMCSA’s 395.20 Regulations

Last year in the ELD Mandate, FMCSA introduced a new class of devices, Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), that are defined in § 395.20 regulations.  These new devices are required to be used by drivers who are subject to record of duty status (RODS) regulations by December 18, 2017.

ELDs represent the latest in technology and are much more sophisticated than the soon to be outmoded AOBRDs.  Among other things ELDs must be integrally synchronized with the engine on a commercial vehicle and must capture:

  • Engine power status
  • Vehicle motion status
  • Total miles driven
  • Total engine hours
  • Engine power status
  • Vehicle speed
  • Vehicle location

ELDs are more advanced than AOBRDs and are required to automate the capture of RODS data automatically at each duty status change, every 60 minutes while the vehicle is in motion, at engine power-on and off events, and at the beginning and end of personal use and yard moves.  In addition, ELDs must be capable of automatically transferring RODS data to FMCSA and must monitor themselves for diagnostics and malfunctions.

VisTracks ELD implementation uses an Android or iOS device that connects wirelessly to an dongle or telematics device that is connected the the vehicle bus.  To meet the vehicle monitoring requirements, vehicle data is streamed continuously from the vbus device to the Android or iOS mobile device.  The mobile device processes this information on a background thread, performs the necessary calculations, presents the information to the driver using the familiar grid chart, and synchronizes it with back office servers that run on Amazon Web services.