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More Data On The Road

Schneider uses sensors and wireless communications to track trucks and trailers

Incomplete data costs Schneider National Inc. money. That's why Schneider, one of the nation's largest trucking companies, this month started to outfit its 45,000 truck trailers with a tracking system, complete with data-collection sensors that transmit over a multimode cellular network.


Tracking system will provide location and other data on Schneider's trailers.

Tracking system will provide location and other data on Schneider's trailers.
Schneider has been turning away new customers because it isn't always sure how many trailers are available. The trailer-tracking system, from Qualcomm Inc., includes sensors inside the trailer to tell if it's empty or full and sensors near the floor to detect if it's connected to a truck or riding on a railroad car. The company also will give customers access to information gleaned from the trailer-tracking application in September, says Paul Mueller, VP of technology services for Schneider.

Other trucking companies are deploying similar systems. National Freight this fall will equip up to 4,000 trailers with Qualcomm's asset-management tool to wirelessly pinpoint the location of trailers. Truck manufacturer International Truck and Engine Corp. plans to offer a satellite truck-tracking system in October and is talking with trailer manufactures to offer trailer-tracking, too. "Any fleet company with more than 50 to 75 trucks is interested in the technology," says Jeff Bannister, International's director of truck electronics, "but they're trying to figure out the efficiencies it brings."

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