Hamilton-based Truck Sail Inc. manufactures aerodynamic devices for transport trailers and straight trucks. The company asked the research team at the Sensor Systems and Internet of Things (IoT) Lab to help them develop a prototype for an innovative safety sensor system.
Future Ready Challenge
The trucking industry is a driving force in Canada’s supply chain: 90% of all freight in Canada is shipped using commercial trucks. With this demand, the number of trucks on the road continues to grow, with over a million trucks registered in Canada. With this increased volume comes increased safety risks; commercial trucks have larger blind spots and are more difficult to handle and control. To increase road safety, the trucking industry is turning to technology solutions such as advanced driver assistance systems.
R & D Collaboration
Hamilton-based Truck Sail Inc. manufactures aerodynamic devices for transport trailers and straight trucks. Its business is focused primarily on producing trailer skirts and boattails that can reduce drag and achieve significant fuel savings. With the industry’s focus on using technology to reduce accidents and fatalities, the company wanted to discover if safety sensors could be added to their trailer skirts. The company’s vision was that these sensors could help monitor a truck’s blind spots and notify the driver of potential risks. Truck Sail asked researchers at Mohawk College to support the development and the design of the technology.
The research team prototyped a new technical engineering solution for the truck sails using wireless embedded sensors technology and LED lights. The research team also determined the technical and commercial viability of the project. They also investigated the vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication systems that would make it possible for the sensors to provide a driver with crash warnings and avoidance notifications.
The prototype development was successful: Truck Sail is now in the market with this break-through technology and has established a sensor division in their company to support further commercialization of the technology. This project is the first of its kind in North America to use sensor technology embedded in a truck skirt to reduce road accidents linked to commercial trucks.
“It is so easy to map out something in theory and to see it in the lab, but in the trucking industry, there is a big difference between theory and lab and actually getting something to work out in the parking lot and then the roadways,” says Gayle Andrus, Owner and Founder of Truck Sail. “I am so grateful for the federal and provincial funding and for the Mohawk College support. It has allowed us to cross over the manufacturing and advanced manufacturing divide. We became, in effect, a tech company."