Partnership aims to improve big truck, bus safety tracks

by Canadian Shipper

SEATTLE, Wash.–Brake problems on big trucks and buses, identified as one of the biggest safety and maintenance concerns with operators and regulators, could be spotted and fixed sooner with a radio frequency identification (RFID) inspection system being developed by Zonar Systems(R) and Spectra Inc., suggested the companies.

Zonar Systems said it is partnering with Spectra Inc. of Toronto to co-develop an RFID-enabled brake diagnostics system. Based on Spectra’s brake sensor technology, the new product leverages the company’s experience with heavy-duty brakes and Zonar’s patented RFID verified visual inspection system. Both companies said the system would be low cost, easily utilized and highly effective.

“Brake problems on trucks and buses are a safety concern, plus a huge maintenance and cost issue for operators. Our existing inspection product is proven on fleets, and adding this new sensor technology will revolutionize the way brakes are checked. Soon, drivers will be able to check the brakes daily with a simple push button test,” said Mike McQuade, Director of Research and Development at Seattle-based Zonar Systems.

“We are thrilled to be a part of what will be a quantum leap forward in how big trucks and buses are inspected and maintained. I predict that electronic vehicle inspection will be welcomed with open arms by the commercial trucking industry because it will impact safety and revenues dramatically,” said Spectra Chairman Andrew J. Malion, who explained that the Zonar/Spectra inspection system will work on all air brake equipped trucks, buses, trailers and container chassis and is simple for drivers to use during federally required pre-and post-trip safety inspections.

“It will save time, money, and aggravation for both drivers and large fleet operators alike.”

The Zonar inspection system uses electronic sensors mounted at key locations on each truck or bus. The driver uses a hand-held electronic monitor to “check in” and inspect each sensor position, entering into the system any safety or maintenance concerns. Information then is electronically transferred instantly to a central database to provide immediate problem alerts and a permanent record that the checks were performed.

“It also eliminates the considerable paperwork burden of manual inspection and reporting, and is more reliable. Visual inspection is the gold standard for safety and operational efficiency,” McQuade said. “RFID makes it even better. Zonar’s inspection system is part of a larger fleet telematics solution called ‘Ground Traffic Control,” he added.

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