Paul Menig, Business Accelerants™
“It’s going to be more than just a box in which goods are hauled. Smart trailers are becoming mobile treasure troves of data containing information on many different aspects of the freight logistics process and the trailer itself.”
Menig organized the TMC 'Smart Trailer' panel to include perspectives from the trailer manufacturer to the telematics system supplier to the vehicle diagnostics provider and finally to the end user.
Aaron Wood, US Xpress
“So what we’ve been able to do with the tracking and monitoring of this equipment is get more of our trailers through our shops, to get their preventative DOT maintenance done, rather than paying for somebody else to do it over the road. And with tracking we know where that equipment is and we’re able to do it easily.”
Reduced maintenance costs
With trailer telematics, the rate of scheduled outside service fell from 68% in July 2016 to 54% by December 2018, with in-house scheduled service increasing from 32% to 46%, according to US Xpress data.
Mark Erlich, Wabash National
“We’ve got to be ready as trailer OEs. These are different skillsets. My engineer that does the wheel-end assembly is not going to be doing my smart trailer integration. That doesn’t carry over. So that is a perspective we’ve got to gear up for. This is a massive amount of change. And we always want to be in the forefront of moving the industry toward better productivity and efficiency—we don’t want to be in the way of that.”
Trailer connectivity means up-front decisions have to be made regarding trade-offs in various elements of the complete system.
Wally Stegall, Morey
"Even before ‘smart trailer’ became the hot phrase in the last few years, we had TMS systems, tire inflation systems, door sensors, solar panels, wireless temperature sensors in the trailer, video, cargo sensing—there were a lot of different individual things, but they were not part of an integrated whole.”
In the beginning
Trailer technology was very simple.
Schematic of a smart trailer system
Today’s systems have already “maxed out” the network bandwidth afforded by 125 kB/sec.
Dave Covington, Noregon
"Ultimately, our goal for reprogramming should be to have something that’s so automated that we know where the truck’s going, we know what it’s hauling, we know its current state, and we can have a real-time calibration built and deployed to those vehicles so that you get optimal performance. Yeah, that’s Nirvana, but maybe we’ll get there.”
Slow to Evolve
Smart diagnostic tools will provide answers, not add to the confusion of maintaining increasingly complex systems.