The company had previously evaluated radar-based collision warning systems, as well as driver fatigue monitoring devices, and decided the technology needed further refinement before they could successfully be applied to its fleet of more than 25,000 pieces of highway equipment. In the light of technological improvements since then, AF has ordered 50 Eaton Vorad units for testing and evaluation, at a cost of $3,000 per truck.
In addition to warning of collisions, the new units also can act as onboard data recorders for accident reconstruction.
This is just the latest in the less-than-truckload carriers’ technology investments. The company currently has 400 tractors equipped with PrePass transponders for automatic scale bypass in the states operating with the PrePass system.
American also has installed on each piece of highway equipment a radio frequency transponder, which is read by “gate readers” at its 238 customer centers. On a real-time basis, this system identifies each piece of equipment and the time of day as it departs and arrives at customer centers. This lets the company keep track of where the equipment is and whether it’s on schedule.
Carl Thomas, vice president of safety and security, says over the next few years he expects AF to be operating with traffic lane guidance systems, rollover warning and control, electronic braking with disc brakes, and technology to ensure driver hours of service compliance.