State of the art

Breakdown tracking added to Fleet Assistant The Enroute Road Repair module for Freightliner Corp.'s Fleet Assistant AS/400 vehicle maintenance software package allows users to track repair costs while a truck is on the road. The module enables breakdown departments to quickly access a vehicle's recent repair history, warranty information, and preventive maintenance records before authorizing road

Breakdown tracking added to Fleet Assistant The Enroute Road Repair module for Freightliner Corp.'s Fleet Assistant AS/400 vehicle maintenance software package allows users to track repair costs while a truck is on the road. The module enables breakdown departments to quickly access a vehicle's recent repair history, warranty information, and preventive maintenance records before authorizing road service. It can also help dispatchers make quick decisions about repowering loads to meet customer delivery schedules.

The module was developed by Innovative Computing Corp. with help from fleet executives serving as an advisory group for the Fleet Assistant system. In addition to interfacing with Freightliner's maintenance package, the Enroute Road Repair module can be used with ICC's Innovative Transportation System accounting and operations software, as well as third-party vendor locator systems.

Mileage software expands database The database for the revised mileage program PC*Miler Version 11 includes more than 638,000 North American road miles, 252,000 accessible locations, and all five-digit U.S. ZIP codes. In addition, latitude/longitude positions for every road segment and location have been verified for better integration with global positioning satellite (GPS) systems, according to the developer ALK Assocs. Inc.

Other enhancements for the program include a 32-bit version for faster processing in Windows 95/NT environments, faster route optimization calculations with an unlimited number of stops, and 13-ft., 6-in. height restrictions for all U.S. and Canadian highways.

The company's AS/400 version of PC*Miler has also been revised, adding a satellite tracking interface for real-time map displays with vehicle status indicators for all the vehicles in a fleet. In addition, the AS/400 version can now compare generated routes to actual routes traveled and can produce reports on ETAs, out-of-route mileage, and other fleet performance standards.

GPS tracking with wireless options The Locsys Embedded Operation System (LEOS) is an integrated vehicle tracking system that combines PC-based mapping software and a programmable on-board control unit with a GPS receiver that can communicate over satellite, cellular, packet data, trunked radio, and other wireless systems.

The system's software, called WinAVL, can track up to four billion vehicles, zoom in on single vehicles, automatically follow a vehicle's movements, and be used as a front-end viewer for any SQL data. The single user license fee, which includes street maps for all 50 states, is $1,500, according to Locsys.

The on-board 386 Rover Unit incorporates an Intel 386EX microprocessor and GPS receiver with flash ROM. It can be preprogrammed to alert the host computer if vehicles exceed user-defined limits on speed, distance, or other parameters, and can even be programmed on the fly with a built-in 1200-baud wireless modem. The wireless capability also allows the Rover to operate as a mobile node on the Internet or a fleet Intranet.

The off-the-shelf 386 Rover Unit, which works with most common RF links, sells for $955.

LEOS also comes with a base unit modem, called a Data Manager, for transferring wireless data to the fleet's host network.

Link phone searches with street maps Offering both business and private phone numbers for the entire country on seven CD-ROMs, Phone Search USA 3.0 from DeLorme can be linked to the company's Street Atlas USA 4.0 to display both phone numbers and addresses on street level maps.

The phone book program supports reverse searches, finding names and phone numbers from street addresses, as well as searches by name, phone number, and SIC code. In addition to seamless links with DeLorme's mapping software, the program can export data in a variety of formats for use in databases, and can print information on Avery labels.

The retail price for Phone Search USA 4.0 is $29, while the mapping software sells for $39. Both require a 486 or higher PC running Windows 3.1 or 95.

Fuel inventory control on a PC Fuel management software from the Veeder-Root Co. allows fleets to store real-time inventory data on an office PC. A Windows program, TLS-PC collects total site-wide inventory readings and compliance information from single- and double-wall tanks and line installations. Once stored on a PC, the data from various sites can be polled from a central location for data manipulation and improved operations management.

Veeder-Root has also released an upgraded version of RemoteControl, a communications program for monitoring fuel inventories, alarms, and leak detection reports from remote sites. Improvements for the new version include faster site connection times, compatibility with the latest TLS software, the ability to monitor wireless pressurized leak detection systems, and customizable alarm reports.

Scanner designed for freight documents The Copiscan II Package Freight Documents Scanner from Bell & Howell Co. has a special automatic-feed mechanism designed to handle thin, coated documents such as bills of lading.

The feeder's skimmer assembly and contact rollers are able to grip thin papers one sheet at a time, which reduces scan times by eliminating double feeds and misfeeds, according to the manufacturer. The industry-specific Copiscan model comes with a 100-sheet capacity feeder. A simplex version can scan up to 50 pages a minute, while a duplex model can handle 100 pages per minute. Both feature Bell & Howell's adaptive contrast enhancement technology, which is said to make scanned images more readable than the original documents.

Fleet management software for wireless dispatch Intended to complement Geotek Communications' wireless data and voice services, Mobile Manifest helps small to medium-size fleets manage their business. The integrated business program monitors and displays job status updates from vehicles, time stamps and archives all dispatched jobs, organizes daily work assignments, and generates reports on fleet productivity, according to Geotek.

Designed to operate on a desktop PC, Mobile Manifest integrates with Geotek's tracking, messaging, and voice communications software. The company offers wireless voice and data communications service throughout the Boston to Washington, D.C., corridor, as well as in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Cross-dock tracking for LTL The Synergy Cross Dock Tracking System monitors LTL shipments from arrival at a terminal to departure on an outbound trailer. Developed by Synergistic Systems Inc., it uses Windows 95 software and mobile data terminals (MDTs) communicating with the host by spread-spectrum radio or a hard-wired network.

As freight is unloaded, shipment bar codes are scanned and, drawing on freight billing information stored on the host computer, the MDTs show the load's destination and load door. Bar codes are scanned again on loading to verify the trailer assignment and to allow the system to calculate total trailer weight. HazMat, food, and freezable flags are also noted during loading.

Other features include a reweigh process, either manual or automatic, which can increase revenues by as much as 2%, and dockworker assignment by supervisors.

It is estimated that elimination of misloads can save a carrier as much as 1.5% of gross revenues.

Program calculates trip profits Information Software Inc.'s Prophesy Mileage and Routing for Windows 6.0 includes a reporting module that can plan and calculate profit or loss for individual trips.

The module, called Trip Information Planning System (TIPS), can make its profit and loss estimates based on user defined costs and charges per mile for loaded, unloaded, deadhead, and other types of trip legs.

It also automatically computes arrival times and dates for each leg of a trip, or if scheduled delivery dates are supplied, indicates precise departure times needed to meet those schedules, taking into account sleep time, layovers, unload time, and driving time.

Wireless terminal reads messages to drivers The Acknowledger from Wireless Links Inc. is a one-piece mobile data terminal that can convert text messages to speech. The 14-oz. unit includes a wireless radio modem for communicating over RAM Mobile Data's Mobitex network, and features a back-lit LCD and a full keyboard. An RS232 port can also be used to attach a bar code reader, GPS receiver, printer, or signature capture pad.

Designed for use as a portable terminal or with a vehicle docking station, the Acknowledger is packaged with wireless dispatch and e-mail software, as well as an applications generator for building custom applications.

RF yard system comes with hardware, software The YardMan I from MessageXpress is a yard management system based on radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Offered as a turnkey package, it includes vehicle RF tags, stationary RF readers, and software.

Intended for gated or open yards, the asset management system uses active tags broadcasting over spread spectrum frequencies and does not require an FCC license. The system's reader reportedly can pick up tag information at distances up to 2,000 ft., giving it a 250- to 300-acre coverage area.

The system can monitor activities at multiple yards or terminals from a single location operating with a stand-alone PC or over MessageXpress' network.

Program helps write fleet safety manuals The software package Transport Policies Customizer from J.J. Keller & Assocs. Inc. is designed to help small and midsize fleets develop and publish company-specific safety policies and procedures.

Using a question-and-answer format, the Windows-based program will generate a fleet safety manual covering accident tracking, dispatch operations, driver recruiting and retention, hours of service, drug and alcohol testing, and other fleet policies. Cost is $249, including one annual update.

Wireless networking for NT Managing how and when wireless messages and data are delivered to mobile workers, KeyWare Workgroup Server Version 4.2.2 from Racotek Inc. is the first release that runs on the Windows NT operating system.

Other enhancements for the new version of KeyWare Workgroup Server include a response time filter that reroutes a message to a second mobile worker if the first does not respond within a set period. Longer response times can be specified for lower priority calls.

Routing for fuel fleet system A logistics software package specifically developed for petroleum, gasoline, propane, and other fuel distribution fleets will be getting optimization and real-time dispatch capability under a new partnership agreement between Advanced Digital Data Inc. and Lightstone Group.

ADD has been offering management software and hardware packages to fuel delivery fleets since 1973.

Lightstone will now add its RIMMS dynamic dispatching and routing software programs to those packages in versions that are customized for fuel-fleet vehicles and operations.

Lightstone has also announced that RIMMS will soon add the MapObjects library of software components from ERSI, a major developer of geographic information system mapping software. The addition of MapObjects will improve geocoding accuracy, map and route visualization, and data integration, according to Lightstone.

Driver's Daily Log Tracker from Transport Software is used by log auditors to capture and store log information. The program handles all calculations and records violations automatically, but allows auditors to override any discrepancies.

Halberstadt & Co. Inc. has released a bar-code data collection module for EMS/400, the company's vehicle maintenance management software application for the AS/400 midrange computer.

The multi-mode 9840 UHF mobile radio from E.F. Johnson operates in conventional, LTR trunking, and talkaround modes. The 40-watt portable features a scan mode, large display, and programmable function keys.

ZipZapp Plus software from True Basic Inc. provides population, area code, time zone, and ZIP code information for every city and town in the U.S. It also calculates distances between cities and can list cities surrounding any destination. Available for both Macintosh and Windows environments.

Bar-One Platinum 4.0 allows users to design and print bar code labels using information from a variety of sources, including legacy and client/server applications. The Windows-based program from Zebra Technologies Corp. meets ODBC standard for sharing data between applications and supports 2-D symbologies, including PDF-417.

The DB810KRR(E)-XT is a compact high-gain omnidirectional antenna for trunked radio systems. Manufactured by Allen Telecom Systems, it's designed for 806 to 869 MHz systems and has an oblong radiation pattern for coverage along roadways, rivers, or valleys.

FleetAnalyzer provides participating public and private fleet operations with an electronic benchmarking database. PC-based software allows participants to review and analyze data from comparable fleets on preventive maintenance, repair, vendor costs, labor hours, and other cost factors.

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