When our client, Wabash National Corp., asked us to partner with them in developing Smart Trailer technology for the U.S. Department of Energy’s SuperTruck II program, we enthusiastically jumped on board.
The SuperTruck II program, a five-year research and development initiative, focuses on improving freight efficiency (the amount of freight hauled per gallon of fuel used) by 50 percent compared to 2009 base model, heavy-duty, tractor-trailer vehicles. Wabash National is the leading North American manufacturer of semi-trailers and liquid transportation systems, making for the perfect program participant. Wabash National’s goal in the program was to provide innovative technology in its trailer components for the SuperTruck II combination vehicle.
We assisted Wabash National with the integration of trailer information and wireless communication to the tractor. The technology we provided allows Wabash National to utilize the flexibility of Gauge’s GTC-1000 to expand the collection of sensor data as needed. Wabash National successfully achieved its goal and met timelines set by the SuperTruck II program for Phase I.
For the SuperTruck II, they asked Gauge to place a Bluetooth radio transmitter inside the GTC-1000 that would send the trailer VIN number to the cab of the tractor. This included a plug-in module for a Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) compliant transceiver to operate with the GTC1000. We designed a schematic, did a PC board layout, and then built, tested and deployed a custom version for the SuperTruck II installation. We also developed the software to operate the module in both the “beacon” mode and the “connected” mode.
We completed all of this before the installation deadline for the SuperTruck II trailer, and an initial installation was done on a test trailer in early June. About six weeks later, another installation took place in a second unit of the actual SuperTruck II trailer. As of now, that trailer is undergoing wind tunnel tests and other work related to a possible coast-to-coast demonstration trip later in the year.
Our partnership with Wabash National is just one example of the ways in which we collaborate with our clients. What challenge can Gauge solve for you?
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