What is the Qualcomm for Truck Drivers?

Qualcomm device for truck drivers

Qualcomm, was invented many years ago, July 1985, and has since developed its way into a piece of equipment used by truck drivers all around the country. Put simply, Qualcomm is a wireless telecommunications device with a touch screen interface that has revolutionized the trucking industry.

What does Qualcomm do for the driver?

Before Qualcomm, drivers spent hours on the phone with a dispatcher or trucking company to get directions, obtain load information, and report that the load had been delivered. Now, all that is handled by Qualcomm.

This incredible device gives the company and driver information about the load. Any of the following information can be easily and instantly communicated through the Qualcomm:

  • Truck arrived at the shipper and is ready to pick up load.
  • The load is picked up and on the way to consignee.
  • The load arrived at consignee and waiting to be unloaded.
  • The truck is unloaded and waiting for next load.

Once the truck driver gets their assignment, they would also get information for picking up the load (usually the address and directions), the load number, and any additional information needed to pick up the load, .

Before Qualcomm, delivery instructions regarding the freight were shared from driver-to-driver through the dispatcher. This was unreliable and inefficient.

When writing instructions down, wrong or bogus information was given either by accident or by bad drivers that held a grudge against their company.

Now, Qualcomm eliminates these concerns.

What Features Does Qualcomm Have?


In addition to receiving load information, the Qualcomm is also a communications device, similar to Messenger on Facebook for example. Truck drivers can send text messages back and forth to the company for any reason.

Drivers can ask for additional directions, inform about breakdowns, discuss personal problems, and more.

The wireless communication

Qualcomm touchscreen
Qualcomms now have a touchscreen

gives the driver an instantaneous way to communicate with the company so they don’t have to find a pay phone or use up their cell phone data (if they even get reception).


Many companies have started using Qualcomms as electronic log books. E-LOGS, as they are called, takes time tracking out of the driver’s hands.

This takes the worry out of whether you are driving illegal or not. Your Hours of Service can easily be sent in over the wire, eliminating the need to mail in trip and logs sheet anymore.

Miles and Driving Habits

The Qualcomm can even track your miles per gallon to keep you informed on how well you handle the truck. Everyone learns to drive differently, and sometimes we are not taught by the best instructors.

Older drivers over-revved their engines to help in shifting, which is no longer needed with the high torque low RPM engines we have today. So if you’re still shifting that way, you are just wasting fuel and destroying your safety bonus.

Web Browsing

The Qualcomm also has a built-in web browser. This is especially useful to check Google Earth and get an actual picture of the street or highway that you are looking for. Sometimes the Qualcomm even gives you the picture of the place that you are delivering to. This ensures there are no surprises when you get there.


Much like the Garmin or the Rand McNally units used by drivers everywhere, the Qualcomm has a GPS within. It seems to take all the work out of driving a truck!

These units can mess up, however, and send you down a dirt road. Depending on the unit, it is not always up to date on the latest information. As a driver, you need to be completely prepared.

Once you get your information for the next load, don’t just input it into the GPS and take off. First, look for the general direction you will be heading. If you just picked up in New York and you are heading to Florida with your next load, you have a little time to plan your trip.

Compare the trip information from the GPS with a Truckers Atlas to make sure it’s heading on the correct roads. Later when you shut down for the night, you can plan your trip more closely. Always have a Plan B just in case something goes wrong with plan A.


Today’s units have vocal messages that the driver can listen to while going down the road. With the older units, when you got a message from the company, you had to pull over to read it. Now the Qualcomm actually reads the message aloud to you, and all you need to do is listen.

Manifest Scanner

If your truck is equipped with a scanner, the driver can scan in the manifest, and the company has a copy of the paperwork. This allows them to start processing the fee, which in turns gets you paid faster. And in the rare chance you get into an accident, you don’t have to worry about finding the manifest if the company already has it.

How Do You Use the Qualcomm?

Modern Qualcomm’s are high-tech with touch screens, so if you know how to use a smart phone, you can use this.


Qualcomm are mostly designed to cut out the paper trail and move your work to the electronic world. These units use alphanumeric codes, and your trucking company usually sets up which code does which. Just ask.

Vehicle Inspections

Your Qualcomm may have a built-in trip inspection sheet. This will give you a record that you did the pre-trip inspection. Also, when you send the inspection form, the maintenance department receives that information and can use it to plan the maintenance for your truck.

Some units are wireless and can be carried out of the truck. This allows you to do your inspection with the Qualcomm unit in your hand and check off each item that was checked.

At the end of your day, before shutting down and going to bed, you can do your post-trip inspection and send that in. We highly recommend doing it this way.

Many truckers don’t do the post-trip. These drivers just make it up and check off what needs to be checked, only to wake up the next morning not able to roll because they had a flat tire or a ruptured airline. Can you honestly say that you didn’t pick up a nail while rolling down the highway today? Do you really know if something flew up and damaged one of your airline?

What if you are running retreads on your trailer and a cap started to come off? How do you know unless you look? Finding these problems at night allow for maintenance to get them fixed while you are shut down, instead of the next morning. This saves you time and money.

Clocking In and Tracking Hours of Service

To start your work clock, all the driver needs to do is enter his/her personal code to clock in and out as they do their job. The e-log will keep track of your driving and work hours, and then the Qualcomm will let you know when you need to shut down to take your break. The unit can even call up all your most recent logs for a DOT inspection if you need it.

Overall, Qualcomm has replaced the need for a phone, logbooks, an alarm clock, and GPS unit. In the old days, the driver had to supply these things, except for the logbooks, to make life a little better and easier while on the road. Now, the Qualcomm handles everything.

Even if you don’t like technology, embrace the Qualcomm and, most of all, learn how to use it. Back in the old days of driving, a lot of truckers complained that they couldn’t just punch a time clock, instead of having to draw all those lines in the logbook. Well now with the e-logs and Qualcomm, you can.


About The Author
Contributor: Franklin Thompson (10+ experience in OTR truck driving, training, and technical writing).