Achieving Harmonic Convergence

New technologies make onboard computers more powerful.


GeoLogic is also currently working on a truck-specific onboard vehicle navigation system which it expects to introduce this summer. It is similar to the systems available in many cars, but will be customized to include road restrictions and other considerations that specifically affect trucks.

"While some view it from an efficiency standpoint, as a way of keeping drivers from getting lost, many of our customers tell us it is also important as a safety consideration," Lewis notes, "because it will help keep drivers from going down roads where they shouldn't be going, as well as minimizing left-hand turns, which are a prime cause of accidents."

In another customer-specific application, GeoLogic is currently working with a provider of safety and training videos to create a system that will allow it to deliver those videos to the driver via its onboard computer. The videos will be loaded onto the device in batch mode using a USB stick.

"We'll be able to load up to three months' worth of videos onto the computer. It will then track the driver's viewing of each video, and communicate that information back to the office wirelessly," Lewis notes.

The use of onboard computers to create electronic logbooks, automate fuel tax reporting, and manage drivers' hours of service is already well established. McLaughlin of PeopleNet notes that managing hours of service is a safety factor and a compliance tool.

Another area where OBCs will probably play a bigger role in the future in the food industry is in assuring compliance with HACCP rules.

"We currently offer wireless temperature monitoring for trailers, to help insure and document HACCP compliance," Lemke of Cadec notes. "Temperatures in multiple compartments are monitored and recorded minute-by-minute, providing a record of conditions inside the truck that can be kept for future use." The temperature monitoring system can also alert the driver via the OBC if there is a problem, as well as notify the office in real time.

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