A high-tech trailer belongs with a futuristic tractor, the builder seemed to state by its...

A high-tech trailer belongs with a futuristic tractor, the builder seemed to state by its presence at Nikola World.

Photo via Great Dane

Great Dane Trailer gave a boost to its "smart trailer" telematics concept, called FleetPulse, by showing it at Nikola World last month. The premium trailer builder is among the admirers of Nikola Motor Co., the designer of hydrogen-electric trucks, and elected to participate in a widely covered showing of the Nikola Two road tractor and other products near Phoenix.

Great Dane exhibited a 53-foot Champion Composite van equipped with FleetPulse and a Wabco OptiFlow aerodynamics system. The implication was that a high-tech trailer belongs with a futuristic tractor as it enters America’s road transportation network in a couple of years, according to Nikola’s announced timetable.

“As a company that is always looking forward and striving to develop the most innovative solutions for its customers, Great Dane was thrilled to participate in the Nikola World event,” said Chris Hammond, Great Dane’s executive vice president of sales, in a press release.

“The Nikola team has an incredible vision for transforming the transportation industry, and we look forward to seeing how these technologies will help to improve efficiencies and create new opportunities for advancement.” 

When it becomes available later this year, FleetPulse “will keep drivers and fleet managers informed of critical trailer information,” Great Dane said in the release. “It is the first trailer OEM to offer a trailer telematics solution.

“FleetPulse provides a unique pre-trip inspection application that has the ability to detect lights that are out, check the status of the ABS and tire inflation systems, monitor weight, detect open doors and even monitor the wheel hub temperature. And that's just the beginning. 

“Sensors installed throughout the trailer collect data in real time and send it to the onboard computer. This information can also be accessed by a driver through a smartphone app as well as sent to the fleet's office using a cellular network, in the same way that a smartphone sends and receives data,” the release said. 

“FleetPulse can be programmed to reflect any fleet's specific preventative trailer maintenance data points. The system will send a preventative maintenance alert to the fleet based on the specified time or mileage.”

The company has not announced other details, such as cost and on which trailer models the system will be available. But given its display at Nikola World, the Champion van series is a likely inclusion. FleetPulse will join vendor telematics products like the PetersonPulse and Truck-Lite’s Road Ready in a world of increasingly smart trailers.  

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Tom Berg

Tom Berg

Former Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978.

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