ZF seeks to raise the IQ of commercial trailers with its intelligent anti-lock braking system and automated driving systems-based telematics solution, TrailerCast.
Part of ZF’s commercial vehicle solutions division, TrailerCast monitors data from the iABS and other integrated trailer products and sensors to determine if there is a critical issue and alert the fleet via cloud connectivity or through an application programming interface.
TrailerCast, which also provides GPS position tracking, is available with or without an integrated battery-backup system. The integrated battery version allows ZF to use the telematics unit as a wireless receiver for tire pressure monitoring systems, explained Nicola Zingraf Bolton, head of digital solutions, CVS Americas, ZF, during ZF’s recent Technology Day event at the Transportation Research Center located just outside of Columbus, Ohio.
“For a fleet, it is very important to be able to monitor tire pressure—even on a parked trailer,” Zingraf Bolton said. “With our functionality of having a battery integrated in the telematics, it will continue to monitor the trailer after it has already been parked.”
For instance, even before dispatch assigns a driver a certain trailer—which may have been parked for a week or two—the dispatcher could tell whether the trailer has a flat tire and get it fixed before the driver begins his or her trip.
“The system doesn’t know who the driver is, but the fleet knows,” Zingraf Bolton added, noting the system ties data together to help fleets plan and check on load status at any given time. “The fleets are the ones that have control. They can take the data from our system, and they can forward it into the truck telematics system or whatever system is already on there. That’s how our system can make that data available to the driver.”
Ultimately, Zingraf Bolton said TrailerCast’s compact, retrofittable design was intentional and gives fleets the option to order through the OEMs. The key, she added, is keeping parts and equipment simple so fleets can just connect and go.
“By making an API available for all the data that can be captured with this device, it allows the fleets to pick and choose which parameters are important to them,” Zingraf Bolton pointed out. “Then, they can incorporate the data into their systems.”