A new fuel purchasing and validation system developed by Zonar and TCH, LLC, makes use of sensors, radios and computers to automate the fueling process. The system, called Z-Con, is designed to help customers eliminate diesel fuel theft at the pumps, improve information accuracy and increase reporting back to the fleet.
“It turns trucks into fuel cards,” said Chris Oliver, vice president of marketing for Zonar.
Pilot Flying J truck stops and travel plazas will be the first to get the Z-Con automated fueling solution, which is scheduled for launch in June of 2011. As an equipped vehicle approaches a Z-Con equipped fuel island, an ultrasonic sensor detects the presence of the truck, activating a radio in the fuel island canopy and an infrared transmitter. Once the infrared transmitter and the receiver in the truck are aligned, an LED on the windshield of the truck indicates to the driver that fuel purchase authorization is in progress. After validation, the same LED indicates that the driver is authorized to begin fueling. The entire process takes seconds, noted Ted Jones, TCH president.
Z-Con is designed to eliminate the need for drivers to swipe fuel cards or enter data to initialize a fuel purchase transaction. It also terminates the fueling process when the truck leaves the pump area, to help ensure that only the authorized truck is fueled, making the process more efficient and secure for drivers and truckstop operators.
At least initially, TCH will pay for installation of the system components at truck stops, according to Jones. The addition of Z-Con will also lower the overall cost of Zonar’s onboard telematics system.
Z-Con users will not have to pay an up-front service fee to take advantage of the automated fueling system, although there will be an up-charge for the incremental security and convenience at each fueling. Fleets interested in learning more can call 1-877-628-1512.