Rob Phillips, president and COO of Phillips Industries, discussing philosophy underpinning the company's decision to create the PCT division. (Photo by Sean Kilcarr for Fleet Owner)

Phillips Industries getting into the intelligent vehicle game

Feb. 27, 2017
Company launches new division, Phillips Connect Technologies (PCT), to invest in a range of Internet of Things (IoT) focused systems for commercial vehicles.

NASHVILLE. There is a “tidal wave of change” heading for the trucking industry, according to Rob Phillips, president and COO of Phillips Industries: “We’re going to experience more change in the next five years than we did in the last 50,” he explained during a press conference here at the 2017 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting.

That “disruption” in trucking is going to be driven by a range of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, Phillips argued, and for that reason, his family’s company is launching a new division: Phillips Connect Technologies (PCT).

“We’ve been working for several years to develop this; to figure out ways to help make the industry safer and more efficient,” he said, adding that the company is developing several different packages of products that will tap into patent-pending “plug and play connectivity,” with an “open platform” design that aims to work seamlessly with many sensor-driven components supplied by various component manufacturers. 

Sensor data can be transmitted to the driver, to the fleet’s operations team, or even the trailer OEM utilizing various telematics options PCT is developing, Phillips noted. Two of those include:

  • Connect:Security – This patented trailer lock-down system aims to stops theft by locking the air brakes on a trailer when power is disconnected from the tractor. In order to release the brakes and pull the trailer, a PIN code from dispatch has to be keyed in from a smart device to a control box designed by PCT. Other items in this package include remote trailer door lock/unlock as well as a theft-deterrent video surveillance system.
  • Connect:Diagnostics – PCT is developing this package to collect sensor data from many components on the trailer and broadcast them to the driver, dispatch, or the trailer OEM. Using patent-pending plug and play technology, Connect:Diagnostics will not only be able to “read” PCT sensors but just about any sensor on the trailer, delivering information to a fleet instantly about components that may be reaching a critical level before they fail. 

Phillips noted that PCT is in the midst of finalizing prototype production for those systems and hopes to have them on the market by this time next year.

“We’re going to go through adequate testing; we’re not going to rush it,” he said.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean reports and comments on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry -- light and medium duty fleets up through over-the-road truckload, less-than-truckload, and private fleet operations Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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