Another possible near-future feature for drivers would allow the on-board computer to disable the truck if it strays off its assigned route. If the vehicle were stolen by a ring of thieves clever enough to keep the vehicle on its route, the driver could simply call dispatch and the dispatcher could disable the truck from the base station. The disablement feature could also be activated should the truck sit for too long.
But these features won’t see the light of day in the United States just yet.
“We are taking a very cautious approach here, even though the capability has been used for some time in Brazil,” Sands says. “We need to take a look at different issues. We think the best solution will probably be to put the vehicle in a limp mode so that if the system were improperly activated, the driver would still be able to move it off the freeway.”
Discussions about how the technology should work will occur in the Truck Security Task Force of the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations, OEMs, carriers and vendors. Qualcomm is also participating in a study funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on the costs and benefits of various technologies to improve safety and security in the movement of hazardous materials.