E-Smart Targets Better Tractor-Trailer Connectivity

E-Smart CEO Mathieu Boivin
E-Smart CEO Mathieu Boivin at an industry show in early 2020. (Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics)

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Trucking technology supplier E-Smart, which offers capabilities such as adaptive speed control and load-based power management, also is pursuing opportunities to connect truck and trailer data.

E-Smart’s advanced driver assistance system uses GPS to actively cap a truck’s maximum speed based on posted speed limits and the fleet’s own preset operating parameters.

This intelligent speed-­management software employs a patented process to control the voltage from the acceleration pedal to the engine control module.

“If you control that voltage, it’s really like you’re controlling the foot of the driver,” E-Smart CEO Mathieu Boivin said.

E-Smart also can provide load-based power management, where the system determines how much engine power is necessary by continuously measuring the payload.

When the truck is fully loaded, it allows more of the engine’s ­power to be used to move the truck forward. When the truck is hauling an empty load, this load-based power management feature automatically reduces the amount of power the driver can employ.

The E-Smart system connects to the OBD-II vehicle diagnostic port using SAE J1939 protocols and to the air pressure on the fifth wheel of the trailer. It evaluates the weight of the trailer using the air suspension gauge, communicates with the fleet and constantly monitors the truck and trailer’s location and speed via GPS.

Looking forward, E-Smart is working on the ability to automatically link truck and trailer data, Boivin said. Currently, the fleet knows when a trailer is hooked to a tractor because E-Smart detects when a load is added on to the fifth wheel. This new functionality would allow E-Smart to communicate with trailer telematics systems.

To realize this functionality, ­E-Smart would need to have an agreement in place with the trailer telematics provider.

E-Smart also plans to enable its system to connect directly to ­trailer telematics devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, Boivin said. This could allow drivers to use a tablet to connect devices on the trailer with E-Smart on the truck, he added.

Such wireless connections eventually could reduce the need for multiple SIM cards in the truck and on the trailer. Fleets could obtain meaningful insight to improve efficiency, reliability and safety without the need to maintain two or more high-speed data connections with the truck and trailer, Boivin said.

“At the cloud level, then we could really mix data or communicate information back to the portal of the customer, the way the customer wants to see it,” he added.

In August, Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Ltd. presented E-Smart with an award for environmental sustainability, innovation and cost savings at its 2019 Supplier of the Year Awards. The Coca-­Cola distributor, which operates in all Canadian provinces, ­piloted the E-Smart system starting in February 2019 and went on to equip a portion of its fleet with the technology.

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