The Great Dane FleetPulse processing unit on display at NACV

Great Dane rolls out FleetPulse integrated smart trailer system

Oct. 30, 2019
"At the end of the day, smart and connected trailers lead to safer trailers on our shared roads, and it's incumbent upon the trailer OEMs to collectively take advantage of the cutting-edge technology that is available to us," said Great Dane's Mike Molitor.

ATLANTA–Combining its 120 years’ experience in building trailers with feedback from fleet customers on what they need from rapidly evolving smart-trailer technology, Great Dane has developed FleetPulse, a fully-integrated, end-to-end hardware and software solution that enables communication between all critical components of a trailer. The system, designed to help fleets improve the health, safety, and efficiency of fleet operations through the use of data, was introduced at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show here this week.

“FleetPulse is laying the foundation for technologies beyond telematics,” said Mike Molitor, Great Dane’s director of business development. “The transformational shifts that will occur in our industry, such as autonomy, electrification, and smart distribution centers, will require the trailer to be designed and wired differently than it is today. And we’ve built FleetPulse with these technological advances in mind.”  

During the “ground-up” development of FleetPulse over the past three years, the trailer-tracking space has become “a bit more crowded” with a number of new players offering various trailer data solutions, Molitor noted.

“While these new players are competitors, we think it's great for the industry that there is more attention and funding being dedicated to connected trailers,” Molitor said. “At the end of the day, smart and connected trailers lead to safer trailers on our shared roads, and it's incumbent upon the trailer OEMs to collectively take advantage of the cutting-edge technology that is available to us.”

The system is much more than a GPS tracking device, Molitor emphasized. Indeed, FleetPulse enables fleets to get better usage of their equipment investment, and to lower the cost of ownership.

The platform provides a “high-resolution view” into the conditions of the trailer components, tracking tire inflation systems, open doors, cargo weight, burned-out lights, ABS fault codes, and actual mileage. FleetPulse pairs those inputs with other proprietary information on the asset, including things such as specs.

The data is collected and reported via a robust 4G platform, so fleets are alerted to potential issues and receive reports on what maintenance needs to occur and when. This totally integrated telematics system helps fleets to solve problems faster and increase uptime by leveraging each trailer’s usage and health data with access to Great Dane’s parts list.  

“We’ve spent a tremendous amount of time with each component supplier to ensure that every piece of the system is robust and reliable,” Molitor said, referring to the various sensors and subsystems the feed data into central “brain” that is FleetPulse.

He pointed specifically to Wabco's next generation ABS system, the iABS, and to Grote’s Guardian technology, “the most advanced light-out detection device in the industry.”

A “handful” of other suppliers are currently testing their components on trailers with FleetPulse, Molitor added. Other sensors will become available once they are fully vetted by Great Dane and validated by the market.

“We are only going to integrate products that have the durability and reliability that fleets demand,” he said. “Our value proposition to the fleet is that we will do the quality control work to make sure when you spec a smart trailer, the sensors and data are robust, reliable, and supported in the aftermarket.”

Molitor also emphasized the “commonality” that underlies FleetPulse.

“We have been very thoughtful and deliberate about only using components that are common to the entire industry,” he said. “We recognize that fleets want data from across all makes of trailers, not just Great Dane trailers.

“We are not using proprietary sensors that are slapped on to various areas of the trailers, and we are not building sensors that are exclusive to Great Dane trailers.”

Similarly, Great Dane recently announced a partnership with Coretex, a global provider of supply chain compliance and fleet management solutions, to offer customers a comprehensive package for refrigerated trailers, including insight into critical refrigerated components such as the reefer unit and temperature controls.

Also this week, visitors to Great Dane’s booth had the opportunity to learn about and sign up for the company’s AdvantEDGE Aftermarket Parts and Service program. The AdvantEDGE program connects members to a nationwide network of authorized service locations. Members have access to 24-hour emergency roadside assistance, controlled ordering and invoicing, up-front estimates, competitive labor rates, and signature parts price protection. 

And Great Dane highlighted its Pre-Owned Trailers program in the booth. In the past year, the company has bolstered its pre-owned trailer program. This program utilizes the company’s nationwide network of branches and dealerships to help customers quickly and easily expand or reduce their fleets to meet business demands.   

Finally, Great Dane displayed six pieces of equipment in its booth, including a 53-foot Champion Composite dry van equipped with FleetPulse and Great Dane’s aerodynamic system prototype; a 53-foot Everest Single-Temp refrigerated trailer equipped with FleetPulse and Great Dane’s aerodynamic system prototype; a 48-foot Freedom LT steel-aluminum combo flatbed trailer; a Sahara Sheet and Post dry freight truck body designed exclusively for Reyes Holdings, LLC; an Alpine refrigerated truck body designed exclusively for Performance Food Group; and a Johnson R-Series composite refrigerated truck body.

Learn more about FleetPulse at fleet-pulse.com.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

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