Wal-Mart plugs its trailer fleet into telematics

Wal-Mart Stores Inc and the Trailer Fleet Services division of GE Equipment Services have announced an agreement whereby GE will supply Wal-Mart with trailer tracking technology for its fleet of 46,000 over-the-road trailers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Telematics is the integration of wireless communications and sensor-generated information about freight and equipment status. GE's telematics product, called VeriWise Asset Intelligence, is a dual satellite system that enables precise and timely monitoring of trailer assets--even when they are not connected to a tractor.

First introduced by GE in April 2003, VeriWise consists of a fully protected, trailer-mounted transceiver, a discreet antenna, and a patented power management system. The system uses the Orbcomm low-Earth-orbit satellite network, and is supported by GE's Asset Intelligence business in Barrington IL, with advanced research and engineering resources from GE's four global research centers.

Wal-Mart will also use two recent enhancements to VeriWise, an interior-mounted cargo sensor and a solar trickle charging system to further extend battery life.

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