PeopleNet introduced what it says is the only trailer tracking offering by an onboard computing provider that requires no additional trailer hardware.

In making the announcement at the Truckload Carriers Association annual convention being held in Las Vegas this week, Executive Vice President of Operations Rick Ochsendorf explained that PeopleNet's Tethered Trailer Tracking solution uses the existing Power Line Communication (PLC) cable for exchanging data between the trailer’s antilock braking system and the PeopleNet system through the Multi-Bus Adapter with a PLC chip.

"This configuration provides the most cost-effective trailer tracking solution for reducing the cost of lost trailers, eliminating manual yard checks, managing trailer detention, and improving utilization information for more efficient maintenance," he said. "In addition to being easy to use, there also is significant saving in time-consuming installation and labor cost. Since a typical fleet has around a 2:1 trailer-to-tractor ratio, that can be tremendous."

There's also the savings resulting from preventing the driver from accidentally picking up the wrong trailer, Ochsendorf said. That can save a lot of out-of-route miles, and he even noted one extreme real-world example involving delivery of the wrong chemical because of a driver picking up the wrong trailer.

Once connected to the tractor, the trailer’s unique serial number is sent to the PeopleNet system, which in turn creates location-based hook and drop events for the trailer. Event information is stored, including the date/time, location, vehicle and trailer odometer reading. Odometer readings, in particular, provide a history that enables accurate usage-based maintenance.