The research will begin with the trailer rental and lease companies, because they represent a healthy chunk of the trailer population. - Photo: XtraLease

The research will begin with the trailer rental and lease companies, because they represent a healthy chunk of the trailer population.

Photo: XtraLease

How quickly is the trailer rental and leasing industry adopting the smart trailer technologies that are becoming increasingly available throughout the industry? American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council has decided to underwrite a research effort to answer that question.

The eSmartt Trailer Survey will focus on:

  • currently deployed intelligent trailer products and brand preferences,
  • future plans for additional product offerings, and
  • rental/lease customer feedback and guidance.

ESmartt will also look at rental/leasing companies' views on retrofitting existing trailers, powering intelligence systems in an untethered status, tractor/trailer connectivity issues, the challenge of matching legacy equipment today's rapidly changing technology, and calculating return on investment on their technology purchases.

ESmartt (which stands for enhanced safety, maintainability and readiness through technology) is a collaboration formed earlier this year by Paul Menig, CEO of Business Accelerants, and Charlie Willmott, CEO of WillGo Transportation Consulting. It’s dedicated to researching and understanding new technology tools for the transportation industry, and the many complex issues around future technological standardization and equipment interchangeability.

“ESmartt is not is not the answer; it's the search for the answers,” said Willmott. “We’ll be surveying all the stakeholders to get some perspective about moving intelligent systems forward.”

Menig and Willmott plan to begin their research with the trailer rental and lease companies because they represent a healthy chunk of the trailer population, but will expand the study to include different carrier audiences such as private carriers, truckload and the LTL sector as they all have very different business models. They will also be speaking with full-service truck lessors as well as a multitude of system and component suppliers.

ESmartt will look at complex issues around future technological standardization and equipment interchangeability for smart trailers. -

ESmartt will look at complex issues around future technological standardization and equipment interchangeability for smart trailers.

The eSmartt survey of trailer rental/lease companies will be launched in January 2021 and conclude with a summary report to be presented at TMC’s 2021 Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition, scheduled for April 12-15 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Further detailed and customized reports will be made available to interested parties through TMC.

By contrasting and comparing data and opinions from each major trucking and trailer owning segment, Menig and Willmott hope to help the industry chart a faster, more efficient transition to the fully integrated intelligent trailer of the future that enhances safety, maintainability and readiness for the North American trucking industry.

“We feel that if we can collect and analyze their thoughts on the path forward, then on a combined an aggregate basis, we might be able to find some common territory,” Willmott added.

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