Accelerating Trends in Trailer Technology

An illustrated graphic showing a truck passing between a computer and a smart phone

What would your job be like if some of the small inconveniences of your days were eliminated? Imagine if the trailers in your fleet performed self-diagnostic tests to determine preventative maintenance needs before they left the yard for the day.

Or, imagine that smart sensors could communicate with your fleet along their routes and automatically redirect them away from traffic congestion, alleviating delays. Your days would likely involve fewer headaches from dealing with preventable fines and downtime due to problems like lights out or weight capacity violations.

Perhaps you would have to field fewer phone calls from unhappy customers about delivery delays. And maybe your drivers would be happier if they were following more efficient routes and spending more time at home.

Thanks to current trucking and trailer technology trends, these inconveniences may soon be a thing of the past. Innovations like telematics, electrification, and smart cities are rapidly being infused into the supply chain. Let’s take a closer look at these new technologies and their impact on the future of transportation.

Telematics Offers a ‘Smart Trailer’ Overhaul

Telematics systems are nothing new for automobiles and semi-trucks, but they have just recently begun to make an impact on trailers. Beyond simply reporting GPS locations, the trailer telematics systems on the rise today are complete “smart trailer” systems that can send alert notifications about maintenance issues, set geofences around certain locations, and much more.

Great Dane’s latest innovation – FleetPulse – is a smart trailer system that can do all of these things and much more. What is unique about FleetPulse is that it is the first and only trailer telematics system developed by a trailer OEM.

FleetPulse has been designed from the ground up so that every piece of hardware and software either increases the safety of the trailer, increases the utilization of the trailer, or decreases the total cost of ownership of the trailer.

FleetPulse collects and reports critical trailer health information such as:

  • Real-time location
  • Active faults on the ABS brake system
  • Lights-out detection
  • Tire inflation activity
  • Preventative maintenance notifications

All of these data points are sent to fleet managers, mechanics, and the driver to make the fleet safer and more efficient.

Electrification Lowers Emissions

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the transportation industry accounts for 29% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which is a larger percentage than any other sector. Implementing elements of electrification into the industry could help to slash these excessive emissions rates.

From electric powertrain components to fully integrated hybrid-electric drivetrains, the industry is slowly but surely investing in advanced trucking technology trends. There are still many hurdles to overcome in the journey to making electrification a feasible option for the industry, such as:

  • High upfront costs
  • Charging infrastructure challenges
  • Battery technology capabilities

However, if and when these barriers are crossed, the extensive potential benefits of emerging transportation solutions could include lower maintenance and fuel costs, lower total cost of ownership, and lower emissions rates while improving sustainability metrics.

Smart Cities Promise Safety and Efficiency

Smart cities use a series of IoT sensors and technology to connect objects and machines to transmit data to improve citizens’ overall quality of life. For the transportation industry and supply chain, smart cities have the potential to be a game changer when it comes to safety and efficiency.

For example, smart stoplights that communicate with vehicles and control braking could help prevent intersection crashes. Intelligent traffic systems could help to reroute traffic and alleviate congestion on the roadways. And weigh-in-motion systems, where smart trailers automatically transmit the load weight of the trailer in advance, could eliminate the need for weigh stations, improving supply chain efficiency.

Innovations in transportation solutions are leading the industry to a greener, safer, more efficient future. Fleets need to operate with the latest trailer technologies to remain competitive.

Learn more about our Trailer Telematics solution FleetPulse by visiting the website.

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