Phillips Connect CEO Rob Phillips said that Phillips Innovations, a new stand-alone company,...

Phillips Connect CEO Rob Phillips said that Phillips Innovations, a new stand-alone company, will focus on providing “smart trailer” support products for the next generation of high-tech commercial vehicles.

Jack Roberts


The formation of the new Phillips Innovations business was announced by Rob Phillips, CEO of Phillips Industries and founder and CEO of Phillips Connect, at a Feb. 26 press conference  at the annual meeting of the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council in Orlando.  

“As we move more to alternative powertrains, alternative fuels, and autonomous technologies, the trailer has to have a voice,” Phillips said. “Phillips Innovations is all about investing in leading tech companies, bringing them into the trucking industry, and building sales and leadership teams to create specialized products using real technology to make a real difference for fleets.”

He noted that the company has the “foundation to bring new and exciting ideas to market with a reputation for quality and reliability, solid OE and fleet relationships, a strong distribution network, and a ‘what’s possible’ mentality to see and pursue these opportunities.

Smart Trailers

“We’re all about collaboration,” Phillips continued.” He said the company’s momentum in the smart trailer space led it to invest heavily in the launch of Philips Innovations. “As our industry evolves, we’re presented with an entirely new set of challenges that we can solve with the right partners.”  

At launch, Phillips Innovations will have two key areas of focus: sustainable energy technologies, including solar power and electrification products for trucks and trailers, and patented vision systems including what the manufacturer termed “the industry’s only truly universal and easy-to-install backup camera using open-source software and mobile applications.” Phillips said that product is to be released in Q2 2023.

Joining Phillips Innovations are these partners:

  • Merlin Solar. Per Phillips, Merlin’s partnership with Phillips Innovations will bring to market the most advanced, purpose-built solar-powered solutions for smart trucks and trailers. The Merlin solar-grid patented technology is currently being used to power creature comforts in the cab of Class 8 vehicles and on trailers to power liftgate batteries. Initially, Phillips Innovations will develop solar-power kits to market through the OEM dealer network and aftermarket distributors. The partnership will progress to marketing options for powering reefers and electric drive axles as it increases market share on trailers and becomes a viable option for trucks.
  • ProEV: This alliance combines Phillips Industries' experience in Class 8 commercial truck and trailer components with ProEV's expertise in high-voltage harnesses and electric vehicle technology to develop high-voltage and cable customer harness assemblies for electric and fuel-cell Class 8 trucks and trailers.
  • Spartan Radar: As Spartan Radar’s exclusive partner for Class 8 trucks and trailers, Phillips Innovations will launch trailer blindspot detection devices and layer its patented radar technologies onto its trailer cameras to “drastically improve situational awareness for trailers to reduce accidents.” This partnership combines the power of Phillips connected trailer, safety lights, and vision technologies with Spartan’s advancements in radar to bridge the gap between truck and trailer safety solutions.

According to Phillips, the collaborations starting in 2023 are only the beginning. “As new and promising technologies appear, Phillips Innovations will encourage new partners to find the best applications to benefit commercial fleet operators.”