The telematics system’s built-in sensors collect measurements directly from various trailer components.
 - Image: Great Dane

The telematics system’s built-in sensors collect measurements directly from various trailer components.

Image: Great Dane

Three years in the making, a smart trailer system, dubbed FleetPulse, was introduced by Great Dane at an Oct. 27 press conference in Atlanta, ahead of the North American Commercial Vehicle Show.

The company described FleetPulse as “the first and only trailer telematics system developed by a trailer OEM. Great Dane teamed up with supply partners and customers to ensure that both the system and the data it provides are robust and capable of adapting to shifting needs and trends.”

“FleetPulse is laying the foundation for technologies beyond telematics,” said Director of Business Development Mike Molitor. “The transformational shifts that will occur in our industry, such as autonomy, electrification, and smart distribution centers, will require the trailer to be designed and wired differently than it is today. We’ve built FleetPulse with these technological advances in mind.”

The system’s array of built-in sensors collects measurements from the trailer’s components, such as tire inflation systems, open doors, cargo weight, burned-out lights, ABS fault codes and actual mileage.

Starting from Scratch

Molitor said when Great Dane set out to develop FleetPulse three years ago, it considered what information “a fleet starting from scratch would need and what would be the best possible way to give them that information.”

The next step was to work with customers as well as component suppliers to design a system that would provide robust and detailed data. 

“FleetPulse provides a high-resolution view into the conditions of the trailer’s components, and pairs that information with other proprietary information on the asset, including things like specs, aftermarket parts numbers, and tools from all of the component suppliers that help drive maintenance costs down,” Molitor said. “Each trailer on the road is unique in how it was built, and that information is critical when it comes to maintaining trailers – and it’s information that only the OEM has.”

He stressed that FleetPulse goes ‘beyond simply being a GPS system. It’s been carefully designed from end-to-end to meet the high standards of even the most sophisticated fleets. The system’s built-in sensors collect precise measurements directly from the trailer’s components, keeping watch over key indicators like tire inflation systems, open doors, cargo weight, burned-out lights, ABS fault codes, and actual mileage.”

That data is collected and reported over a 4G platform to alert fleets to potential issues and receive reports on what maintenance needs to occur and when. “This totally integrated telematics system helps fleets to solve problems faster and increase uptime by leveraging each trailer’s usage and health data with access to Great Dane’s parts list.”

Integrated Solution

 According to Molitor, the platform and sensors are “hardwired, reliable and accurate from day one. And the architecture, both on the physical trailer as well as the architecture of the data protocols flowing throughout the trailer and up to both the cloud and truck, are the reasons that an integrated solution like FleetPulse, built at the OEM level, is the only way to provide fleets with the clarity and insights needed to support and grow their operations into the future.”

He noted that Great Dane is also offering FleetPulse with Reefer Control by Coretex, through a recently announced partnership formed with Coretex, a global provider of supply chain compliance and fleet management solutions. This offering is designed as a “comprehensive solution for refrigerated trailers, including insight into such critical refrigerated components as the reefer unit and temperature controls.”

“One of the core principles behind FleetPulse is to have rigorous discipline around validating each connected component,” said Molitor, “The Coretex technology is a proven and tested platform and is trusted by some of the most sophisticated reefer fleets that use both Carrier and Thermo King assets. Together, we provide refrigerated fleets a seamless, single source of data from the combined trailer and reefer unit and eliminate the annoyance of multiple subscriptions.”  

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