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TransCore tracking is moving out of this world

OTTAWA, Ont. -- The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected TransCore and Novacom Services to lead the development...

OTTAWA, Ont. — The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected TransCore and Novacom Services to lead the development of an asset tracking prototype that will provide continuous visibility of intermodal containers and eliminate the line-of-sight complication that hinders global tracking of containers while in transit.

The prototype is expected to be completed by end of 2008.

TransCore provides satellite asset tracking on three continents through its GlobalWave technology, while Novacom Services is a subsidiary of Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), the exclusive operator of the Argos system and the CNES (the French Space Agency).

“Both companies already have successful contracts with our ESA Telecom department in their specific domains, said Norbert Hubner, project manager of mobile application projects within the ESA Telecommunications Department. The combination of TransCore’s research and development strength and Novacom’s expertise designing versatile application server platforms for the implementation of such a compelling service promises to be an excellent showcase of the capabilities of our industries as well as of the strengths of satellite communications.”

The worldwide container traffic by sea, rail and truck is estimated to reach approximately 19 million units by 2012, yet there is no way to track and monitor individual containers from the point of origin to the point of destination on a continuous basis. While there has been an emerging growth of existing terrestrial and satellite asset tracking products, there is currently not a product that can continuously track containers across global international boundaries without times of outages or lost communications due to blocked line of sight when containers are stacked.

The current inability to provide constant tracking creates several logistical problems, including security risks, loss of containers, inefficient utilization of fleets, poor quality of service to shippers, and theft. Increased monitoring of containers is crucial for shippers, operators and shipping lines to improve the transportation chain and the security of shipments.

“Being selected by ESA for a project of global importance is a privilege, said John Worthington, president of TransCore’s Commercial Technology Group. Our heritage in research, development and manufacturing along with our commercial transportation expertise is well suited to the task.”

TransCore and Novacom Services have a long-standing partnership ideally suited for this development, which will combine GlobalWave satellite communications technology with the application serverplatform developed and used by Novacom for clients worldwide supporting a variety of terminal products and satellite systems for tracking and remote monitoring applications.

TransCore, as lead contractor, will use its power efficient satellite core modem as the foundation for the mobile terminal, and the GlobalWave network will provide two-way communications and tracking in North America and Europe. Further development work will focus on the addition of terminal-to-terminal communications for containers in transit.

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