KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Volvo Trucks has released details on a multi-year research project it’s involved in that would allow safe and “trusted” trucks to bypass inspection stations.
The Trusted Truck program is a partnership with the National Transportation Research Center, Volvo Trucks North America, Volvo Technology North America and the University of Tennessee which looks to improve truck efficiency by determining which vehicles should be allowed to bypass scales, freeing up enforcement resources to concentrate on high-risk trucks.
The project was launched in 2004 and recently concluded with a demonstration in Knoxville Aug. 13.
“Trusted Truck wireless roadside inspections would provide greater efficiencies to both the public and private sector,” said Jan Hellaker, vice-president, business development and government programs for Volvo Technology North America. “Carriers that have a strong commitment to maintenance and safety can expect to see immediate savings in time and fuel costs. At the same time, the highway inspection stations can have a greater impact by focusing on trucks whose condition is unknown.”
The latest version of the system that was tested required vehicles to be registered as Trusted Trucks. Their credentials were then sent wirelessly to roadside inspectors, confirming the driver, tractor, trailer and cargo all met FMCSA standards. When monitoring systems confirmed the vehicle and driver had up to date credentials, the driver would then be signaled to proceed through the inspection station without stopping.
If any problems are flagged, the driver would be instructed to report to the inspection station.
The program’s leaders say it was designed to be integrated with existing technology already in use today.
“We developed the Trusted Truck technology to be used with any fleet management system,” said Tom Richter, Volvo Technology’s principal investigator for Trusted Truck. “By developing the system to work with technology that is already available and already in-use by many fleets across the US, we’ve largely overcome the cost and compatibility barrier.”
For instance, Volvo Link, which is already standard on Volvo Trucks, could be tied into the Trusted Truck system with a software addition, Richter says. The program also uses existing wireless technology so it could be put into place quickly.
“The Trusted Truck system can be used with existing on-board technologies, but would also operate effectively using other ‘smart’ communication technologies being developed under the US DoT-led IntelliDriveSM program,” Hellaker noted. “The goal is to encourage fleets to leverage their commitment to good maintenance into significant savings in efficiency and fuel costs – not to create an additional reporting mechanism,” explained Hellaker.
Now that the first phase of the program has concluded, the partners are hoping a public-private partnership will be launched for full-scale deployment of a pilot project involving one or more major US fleets.
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