The long awaited untethered trailer tracking system from Qualcomm Inc. has been officially introduced with the announcement that Schneider National has begun installing units in its fleet of 48,000 tractors.
The T2 Untethered TrailerTRACS asset management solution combines GPS positioning with land-based wireless communications to provide trailer location and status. Initially, coverage will be limited to the contiguous U.S., but both Canada and Mexico will be added once network agreements are finalized in those countries, according to Qualcomm officials.
The new Qualcomm trailer system features a tri-mode modem that can send and receive data over digital and analog cellular CDMA networks, as well as the Aeris MicroBurst network. The unit's battery can provide power for up to 60 days without being hooked up to a tractor for recharging and is designed to last five years before replacement.
Other standard features include trailer connect/disconnect notification, over-the-air upgrades for the unit's software and firmware, and handheld field service tools for diagnostics. A Web-based stand-alone tool for managing trailers will be available by Jan. 2005, and the system can be directly integrated with a variety of dispatch and fleet management systems running on the AS400 platform.
An optional cargo sensor can be used to remotely locate empty trailers. Other options available also include door sensors and geofencing alerts that can be individually set by trailer. A standard I/O port will allow future addition of new sensors such as RFID readers and chemical “sniffers” in the future, according to Qualcomm.
The leading provider of wireless communications services in the trucking industry, Qualcomm says its customers operate over 900,000 trailers. Installation of the Schneider trailer units began in August, and the company expects to have approximately 8,000 units in the field by the end of March.
Qualcomm has also announced new security features for its original onboard OmniTRACS satellite communications system. Intended for high-value and hazardous materials carriers, the vehicle immobilization device (VID) allows authorized operators to switch trucks to “restricted mobility” using the system's wireless panic button feature.
A new security integration package allows fleets to customize location report frequencies based on commodity codes, out-of-route violations, or proximity to high-risk areas. It can also deliver exception alerts to dispatchers and others if trucks make unauthorized stops or trailer drops, if ignitions are switched off before scheduled delivery times, or if drivers fail to meet reporting deadlines.