Is that really your driver?

TransCore (www.transcore.com), which operates a leading freight matching network, and Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) said they will bundle document scanning and freight matching services to increase convenience for brokers and third-party logistics providers. TransCore will be the exclusive reseller of ACS’ FreightForm Express, which uses
the TripPak Scanning software and infrastructure at more than 350
full-service truck stops.

Terion (www.terion.com) was granted a patent covering the FleetView Cargo Sensor, which is designed to detect cargo throughout the entire length of the trailer in one to three modes: short range, long range and proximity range. It also can detect cargo located flush against a front or rear wall of the trailer, or anywhere in between, the company says.

GeoLogic Solutions (www.gogeologic.com) said Theodore, Ala.-based Accelerated Freight Group (AFG) significantly improved its fuel economy using ADV Monitor, an optional feature of the MobileMax Multi-Mode communications and tracking system. With real-time information on
vehicle and driver performance, management at the 70-truck fleet has increased fuel economy by .5 mpg and saved more than $230,000 in six months, says AFG President Robert Bowman.

Atlantis Data Systems (www.atlantisdata.com) unveiled its GPRS Fleet Management Solution. The GPRS system is complemented by a satellite-based solution that uses the Inmarsat Satellite System for full coverage with the economy of the GPRS network. Key features of the system include GPS tracking, two-way communications, customized forms, geofencing and maintenance reports from the engine management system.

As one of the nation’s top motor carriers (ranked 33rd on CCJ’s Top 100 in 2005), Celadon has attracted several “high value” customers through its service record – a record that President Tom Glaser intends to keep for many years to come.

But with cargo theft exceeding $10 billion a year, Glaser and many other fleet executives know that simple, innocent mistakes in securing a load can leave their businesses exposed to thousands – and even millions – of dollars in cargo losses, as well as damaged reputations.

Celadon uses Qualcomm’s OmniTracs in its tractors and Qualcomm’s T2 trailer-tracking system to maintain a “high degree of attention to the freight we move,” Glaser says. However, physically securing equipment in transit is more complicated, because even the best drivers are prone to human errors – such as leaving vehicles unattended.

“Organized crime is just that – well-trained, organized and out there looking for the easiest mark,” Glaser says. “Because we are all human beings, we tend to let our guard down.”

Glaser has looked at many technologies, from locks and bolts to electronics, designed to improve security for vehicles and drivers. But he says most systems have a common weak point: They require human activation. In addition, many systems do not protect drivers who, when faced with danger, may feel obligated to defend their equipment rather than flee for safety.

“We don’t want to have anyone jeopardize their life or well-being,” Glaser says.

During the past year, Celadon has been testing a new system in its tractors – Magtec’s M5K – that Glaser says effectively eliminates the risk of human error with its active and passive security controls.

The M5K is activated automatically when a driver sets the tractor or trailer parking brake. When activated, the M5K secures the vehicle by disabling its movement. To protect the proprietary circuitry and preserve the secrecy of the M5K, Magtec executives declined comment on what electrical and mechanical vehicle systems the M5K actually disables, and how it does it. One example they did give is that drivers cannot release the parking brakes when the system is active.

To operate the vehicle, drivers must enter a matching six-digit code into a numeric keypad, which is part of the M5K’s keyless driver authentication system. The keypad – the only visible hardware in the cab – is mounted on the dash and connected to a covert M5K onboard unit that is integrated with the vehicle’s electronic and mechanical controls.

The M5K system uses a feature called Unattended Idle Protect to automatically secure the vehicle 20 seconds after it is left idling, with the parking brake set. Driver authentication is required to return to normal vehicle operation.

Another security feature in the M5K is an acceleration control system (ACS). The ACS feature can be activated remotely, by a fleet manager, to bring a vehicle to a safe and controlled stop. ACS remotely limits the acceleration capability of the vehicle by reducing the vehicle’s speed in preset increments.

Magtec executives declined comment on the specific details of how ACS works, citing security reasons. But the general concept goes like this: Suppose a driver is going 50 mph when the feature is activated. The vehicle maintains acceleration control up to 50 mph for a number of seconds, after which acceleration control would drop to a lower speed threshold – say 40 mph – for a set time period. The acceleration controls continue to drop until 10 mph, at which point the driver has 30 minutes of acceleration up to 10 mph before the accelerator is cut off completely. When the driver no longer can accelerate, he must bring the vehicle to a safe and controlled stop.

Magtec developed its shutdown methodology with testing and input from fleets such as Celadon and from the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations. Its proprietary methodology takes into account safety hazards such as hills, urban traffic and other situations, says Magtec President Bob Morriset. Once ACS is activated, the vehicle’s marker lights and brake lights flash, and a siren can sound to warn other motorists to stay away from the vehicle, he says.

“We spent a lot of time and effort to make sure we did it right,” says Mark Ochitwa, Magtec’s general manager of operations and product development.

Qualcomm recently announced it soon will release a Web-based vehicle security and driver management tool called Vehicle Command Control (VCC) that will integrate with the Magtec product through its OmniTracs platform. A dispatcher at the office would be able to use the VCC to manage driver authentication codes and truck identifications, change codes over the air and even disable a moving vehicle, if necessary.

Celadon has a controlled approval process set up in the event that a moving vehicle needs to be disabled. In the event a driver at Celadon is in an unsafe environment, he can run away from the tractor and know that the main office can take steps to shut down the tractor, Glaser says. After an extensive testing and evaluation period, Celadon recently announced its plan to use the system throughout its fleet. Says Glaser, “It is a level of security that all carriers should have.”


TeleNav offers handheld tracking
TeleNav Inc. (www.telenavtrack.com) is offering TeleNavTrack GPS, a tracking and management solution for mobile workers, on BlackBerry 7520 and 7100i wireless handheld devices from Research In Motion (RIM). TeleNavTrack is the first Web-based service available on the BlackBerry platform that provides real-time turn-by-turn GPS navigation and tracking capabilities, the company says.

The price per phone/device starts with the TeleNavTrack Basic plan at $9.99 per month, which includes GPS tracking, timesheets and location reporting. The TeleNavTrack Plus plan, which adds two-way messaging, is priced at $12.99 per month. The $15.99 TeleNavTrack Enhanced plan adds barcode scanning, wireless forms and job dispatching and scheduling capabilities; and TeleNavTrack Premium, priced at $21.99 per month, includes turn-by-turn audible and visual navigation. All plans have a one-time $19.99 activation fee.