A redesigned mobile terminal for its wireless trailer and asset tracking system is more efficient, more reliable and more resistant to damage than the current hardware, according to SkyBitz.

The new GLS400 mobile terminal is compatible with the company’s current satellite network, but is also designed to work with any L-band geosynchronous satellite system, which would allow the company to expand tracking coverage to Europe and other markets, according to Craig Malone, sr. VP of product development.

Unlike other trailer and equipment tracking systems on the market that use GPS to determine location, SkyBitz uses a patented technology called global location system (GLS) that has relatively low power consumption and allows its terminals to operate for extended periods without replacing or recharging batteries.

The new terminal is approximately 20% more power efficient than the current SkyBitz GLS210 terminal, according to Malone. It also features replaceable off-the-shelf “AA” lithium batteries in place of the older unit’s 8-cell battery pack.

Depending on the number of periodic location messages required by a fleet user, the GLS400 can last up to five years without a battery replacement. “That’s about the same as the current model, but going away from battery packs to a retail “AA” battery size helps lower the cost of ownership,” Malone said.

Other changes from the GLS 210 include a 20% smaller overall package size, fewer electronic components for greater reliability, and a Lexan polycarbonate case that is able to withstand the harshest environments, according to the company. The new case also simplifies installation and removal from a “lick and stick” mounting bracket by replacing the older unit’s tamperproof screws with four hex nuts that can be removed with common tools.

The new GLS400 is completely compatible with the current terminal, which is currently installed on approximately 175,000 trailers in North American service and another 25,000 mobile assets, Malone said. Initial cost information for the GLS400 has not been released, but Malone said it would be “competitive with the current unit.”