Networked Sensor Systems for Truck Fleet Monitoring


A technique has been developed to allow an efficient manor to sense information spread out over a vehicle and to collect this data for analysis. An application of this system has been developed and tested for the monitoring of the operation of a fleet of waste and recycle trucks. The information collected lets fleet operators meet legal tracking requirements and lets managers determine actual truck operating costs and profit and losses for trucks, routes, and individual customers. Drivers are presented with checklists, messages, and best routing information. In the depot all route activities are archived and various reports can be generated on demand.

Several types of commercial refuse trucks and operations have be developed including:

System Description

The systems consists of several components on the trucks, in their cabs, and in the depots. Depending on the requirements of the reports desired various sensors may be attached to a truck. Because each additional piece of data is collect using a network embedded into each truck, changing report requirements does not necessitate major hardware changes on an existing system in a truck. Only the electronics for recording the new piece of information is added. Any system software updates are automatically performed during normal operations. In general a system will include the following components:


The goal of this system is to collect all information required with minimal impact on the driver's normal routine and the normal operation of the truck. For example weights on trucks with lifting devices are captured dynamically during normal lift cycles. Route information is presented to driver yet he can easily change his desired routing as necessary. The truck automatically knows when it has arrived and departed a customer site or landfill. The truck computer logs the route, speeds, and times it takes between each stop. The driver needs only verify normal circumstances. He is able to make comments such as condition of equipment at each site,  and reasons for delays. All information is presented to a driver concisely. Graphics, color, and sound are used to ease interpretation. Information can be presented in any of several languages.

Provided information includes:

Recorded information includes:

Route Loading and Data Reports

All data collected is returned to the depot for archiving. Reports are generated using specific waste and recycle application programs. Since collected data is never discarded new reports can be defined for new needs back to the first day of system operation. The data can also be presented to meet the requirements of government regulations. Routes for each truck are transferred in advance from established systems at each depot. Minimum impact is made to established computer systems and depot operating procedures. A PC based system coexists with the company's networks, minis or mainframes.