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Trailer fleet management

A bird’s eye view

VDO provides additional functions for its Fleetvisor software using Continental’s Trailerlinc hardware. This ECU features CAN connectivity.

The Trailerlinc unit is always active, sending its position to the dispatch department (Photo: Continental)

Continental will present Trailerlinc and other fleet management services at the Transport Logistic tradeshow in Munich (Germany) on the VDO booth. Continuous location monitoring for increased safety and efficiency – haulage companies and fleet operators can now see the locations of their trailers at a glance due to a trailer service by VDO, a product brand of Continental. Qualified personnel first install the hardware on the trailer, after which Trailerlinc unit transmits the trailer’s GPS data to Fleetvisor fleet management software. The hardware design is rugged and waterproof. The battery automatically recharges when the trailer is in motion – and the ECU (electronic control unit) is equipped to provide even more information via CAN in the future. Software updates can also be installed on the device wirelessly (over-the-air).

Truck and trailer fleet management is also the topic of a task force of the VDA association of the German automotive industry. Recently, in a first meeting, body builders discussed the need for an open truck and trailer network to link their sub-systems via a telematics box to the cloud. This could be used for geo fencing opening the tail doors only at specified positions, but also to download software updates from the cloud into the body ECUs.

Early detection of thefts

The Trailerlinc ECU is always active, sending its position to the dispatch department at pre-defined times – and drivers don’t have to start the unit themselves before beginning their tours. It provides dispatchers with information about the location of their trailers. How often the location is updated is adapted to the situation at hand; if the trailer is standing decoupled in the yard, for example, the unit sends a signal every 24 hours. If it’s attached and moving, the device sends the current position every minute, enabling the accurate determination of arrival times at customers’ premises. If the trailer is moving – but not attached to a known truck – the dispatch department receives an hourly location report, so any suspicion of trailer theft can be dealt with fast and the dispatchers never lose sight of the trailer. The ECU uses an integrated motion detector and a GPS sensor to collect location, speed, and tractor data, which it then sends wireless to the fleet management system. Dispatchers can see the trailer ID and the tractor to which it’s attached on their screens. Mileage driven can also be acquired, enabling vehicle utilization and maintenance intervals to be determined.


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