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Partnership aims to improve brake safety through radio frequency

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Two companies have partnered together to develop a radio frequency identification (RFID) inspecti...

SEATTLE, Wash. — Two companies have partnered together to develop a radio frequency identification (RFID) inspection system, which could allow trucks and buses to identify and fix brake problems sooner.

Seattle-based Zonar Systems is partnering with Spectra of Toronto to co-develop an RFID-enabled brake diagnostics system, based on Spectra’s brake sensor technology. The new product leverages the company’s extensive experience with heavy-duty brakes and Zonar’s patented RFID verified visual inspection system.

The inspection system is designed to work on all air brake equipped trucks, buses, trailers and container chassis, with electronic sensors mounted at key locations on each truck or bus. The driver uses a hand-held electronic monitor to “check in” and inspect each sensor position, entering into the system any safety or maintenance concerns. Information then is electronically transferred instantly to a central database to provide immediate problem alerts and a permanent record that the checks were performed.

“It also eliminates the considerable paperwork burden of manual inspection and reporting, and is more reliable. Visual inspection is the gold standard for safety and operational efficiency,” said Mike McQuade, director of research and development at Zonar. “RFID makes it even better.”

“We will offer the trucking and bus industries, and federal and state regulators who monitor the safety of these vehicles, a better way to ensure safety compliance during the more than 2 million commercial vehicle inspections that are conducted annually,” stated Andrew J. Malion, Spectra chairman.

According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, brake problems account for about half of all safety defects resulting in heavy vehicles being put out of service.

“Brake problems on trucks and buses are a safety concern, plus a huge maintenance and cost issue for operators,” said McQuade. “Our existing inspection product is proven on fleets, and adding this new sensor technology will revolutionize the way brakes are checked. Soon, drivers will be able to check the brakes daily with a simple push button test.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of what will be a quantum leap forward in how big trucks and buses are inspected and maintained,” added Malion. “I predict that electronic vehicle inspection will be welcomed with open arms by the commercial trucking industry because it will impact safety and revenues dramatically.”

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