HELP Inc. is gearing up a three-state pilot project to test a communications system that will add driver and credentialing information to its portfolio of wireless roadside services.

HELP, best known for its PrePass weigh station clearance system, will use a 5.9 GHz communications protocol to collect a wider range of data than just the PrePass truck weight and identification information.

The project will start next month along I-70 through Indiana, Ohio and Illinois, according to Rick Clasby, president and CEO of HELP.

In its opening phase, it will collect the standard weight and pre-clearance credentials, as well as driver data such as name, license number and medical status from participating fleets, Clasby says.

After three months the pilot will start to collect what Clasby describes as "vehicle health" data such as brake and lighting status, as well as credentialing data such as fuel tax and registration status.

The pilot builds on HELP's new 360 SmartView system, which uses cameras to read the license plate and DOT number of a truck.

Some 50 trucks will be involved in the pilot, from Venture Logistics, UPS, Old Dominion, Indiana Western Express and Ultimate Logistics.

The project launches HELP's move from the current 915 MHz communications protocol used in PrePass to the more robust 5.9 GHz standard. Clasby has noted that the new standard offers a bigger bandwidth, more functions and more speed.

HELP (Heavy Vehicle Electronic License Plate) is a not-for-profit public-private partnership. Its partners include federal agencies such as FMCSA, and industry organizations such as state and national trucking associations. In addition, it is partnered with Xerox and Kapsch, the Austria-based intelligent transportation systems provider.

Related Story:

10/28/2011 - Making a Smart Roadside Even Smarter