ABF Freight Seeks to Boost Safety With Trailer Sensors

LTL Carrier Expands Use of Drov Platform After Initial Arkansas Pilot
Drov AirBoxOne

Drov's AirBoxOne provides real-time, in-cab notifications on the status of trailers. (Drov)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

ABF Freight is ramping up its use of Drov Technologies’ AirBoxOne platform, which integrates truck and trailer sensors, Oklahoma City-based Drov said.

ABF Freight is the less-than-truckload unit of ArcBest Inc. ArcBest ranks No. 12 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire companies in North America. ABF Freight ranks No. 7 among the largest LTL carriers. ArcBest also ranks No. 40 on the TT Top 100 list of the largest logistics companies.

ABF Freight completed a 120-day trial of AirBoxOne with its city and road trailer fleet, testing the AirBoxOne mobile application at its North Little Rock, Ark., service center. Following an initial pilot, ABF is set to begin a second phase of work with Drov, according to a June 4 release.

The second phase of testing will include additional features, such as blind-spot monitors linked to the sensor platform, Drov CEO Lisa Mullen told Transport Topics June 6. In addition, volumetrics sensors will be used to determine whether a trailer is loaded or empty with measurements of total percent full/empty or linear floor space available.

Lisa Mullen


“Two of our core strategic priorities are safety and operational efficiency, and this cutting-edge technology aligns well,” said Seth Runser, president of ABF Freight. “The Drov team has been a strategic partner from the start. They understand our objectives of remaining safe on the road and operating efficiently and effectively, and they have proactively addressed challenges during the initial trial period.”

During the pilot program, AirBoxOne provided real-time in-cab notifications on the status of city trailers while the rolling stock was in motion — reporting issues such as tire pressure, brake lights out and other warnings. AirBoxOne’s dynamic inflate/deflate tire-management system and the SKF TraX hub sensor were of specific interest to ABF, said Mullen.

The aim of the system is to offer a tool that can reduce the total cost of owning tires and improve ABF’s service quality by preventing unexpected breakdowns and service delays while being part of a proactive tire maintenance program, according to Drov.

Drov tire monitoring system

The AirBoxOne platform can monitor tire pressure. (Drov)

“What we’re finding and preventing is the most significant part of what we’re doing,” Mullen told TT. “It becomes — what are the core challenges a fleet is facing and how does our data help them? Those challenges look different from fleet to fleet.”

“ABF provides the opportunity to prove the [return on investment] for dry van trailers,” Mullen said. “We try to provide a calculated approach to these markets rather than trying to boil the ocean or be everything to every fleet.”

Five dry van trailer manufacturers offer AirBoxOne as an option on their products, including Stoughton Trailers, Kentucky Trailer, Great Dane, Hyundai Translead and Vanguard National Trailer.

While ABF is testing the dry van capabilities, AirBoxOne also can be used on refrigerated or tank trailers.

In February, Drov extended a partnership with Engineered Transportation International, owner of the Heil Trailer, Polar Tank and Jarco tank trailer brands.

Using AirBoxOne, Engineered Transportation said tank trailer fleet owners can extend tire life by more than 50% through the automated tire inflation/deflation technology.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: