Wabco expands trailer telematics platform

by Today's Trucking

Building on its Intelligent Anti-Lock Braking System (iABS) introduced late last year, Wabco now offers a connected intelligent trailer platform that not only provides fleets with actionable intelligence from the trailer, it opens up opportunities for third-party system integration and allows fleets more spec’ing and diagnostic flexibility.

Wabco announced the intelligent trailer platform and TrailerCast Feb. 23 at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting.

The trailer platform is a key milestone Wabco’s mission to provide a more robust connection between the truck and the trailer, enabling fleets and other strategic partners to identify and proactively manage critical safety and diagnostic issues. Along with WABCO’s extensive portfolio of trailer products, strategic partners such as vehicle diagnostics provider Noregon and trailer axle manufacturer Hendrickson have agreed to integrate their products and services into the connected trailer platform.

The intelligent trailer platform is built on four key technologies – an Intelligent Anti-Lock Braking System (iABS), trailer Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Intelligent Trailer Program (ITP) and TrailerCast – as well as open software architecture.

iABS contains a premium processor that supports 5V controller area network (CAN) communication ports which can have multiple outlets for information, and four generic input/output (GIO) ports. Wabco has built more processing power into a device that every trailer must already have, which the company says is a cost-effective way of enabling additional functionality.

“We have made the brain capable of processing a lot more information from the trailer itself and we’ve also made it very simple,” says Jon Morrison, president of WABCO Americas. “Not only are we generating relevant brake system information, we can now bring in third-party inputs through the CAN connection or the GIO connection.”

Systems such as Hendrickson’s Watchman wheel-end sensing technology, developed by Sensata Technologies, can now flow data on the status of the wheel-ends, such as temperature and vibration levels or brake lining condition and tire pressures.

“What we hope to be able to do is craft that information into a way to provide a more predictive level of information for trailer diagnostics,” Morrison says.

Wabco says simplicity is one of the key differentiators of its intelligent trailer platform from other telematics systems.

“We already have the brains and the computing power on the ABS. When you look at competitive systems, there’s a need to add processing power, gateways, and ways to get the information to and from a communications device,” says Collin Shaw, director of business development and marketing at Wabco North America. “We already have that capability. The iABS processing power translates the messages coming from our intelligent trailer products, be it a door ajar sensor, or our axle load information. We simply add those sensors. When it comes to third party integrations, we work with them to help define their messaging, and that messaging is compatible with ours, so we’re not adding additional gateways or hubs.”

TrailerCast

WABCO also introduced its TrailerCast trailer telematics device to enhance customer access to critical trailer information. TrailerCast has been available in Europe since 2019, but will begin trials in North America in March followed by an expected mid-year roll-out. The TrailerCast device provides GPS and 4G cellular connectivity to iABS and its associated intelligent features. Available with and without battery backup, TrailerCast can provide a GPS location for trailers across North America and transmit critical trailer information to Wabco’s data cloud. Fleets can access this information in real-time through Noregon’s TripVision.

“All the data we collect flows through the iABS unit which can send that information through a trailer cast and transmit it into a cloud environment which fleets can tap into through a fleet maintenance service provider such as Noregon’s TripVision,” Shaw says.

Citing figures from a recent fleet survey that showed only about 20% of fleets currently use trailer telematics, Morrison says Wabco goal is to make adoption as easy and as seamless as possible.

“We understand that most fleets already have a system that they like using, they want to log into one system,” he says. But with PLC [power line carrier], you’re pretty limited. with our intelligent trailer platform, they can really expand and also integrate the third party. That makes us unique compared to a pure telematics solution.”

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