Financially-strapped Orbital Sciences Corp., which offers vehicle tracking services via satellite, said that the Southeastern Michigan Snow and Ice Management Partners (SEMSIM) has selected its ORBTRAC-100 system to help track and manage a portion of its fleet of road maintenance vehicles.

Orbital’s automatic vehicle location (AVL) and data collection system will be installed on 290 snowplows, with phased installations of SEMSIM’s entire 500-vehicle fleet over the next two to three years. In addition, the system will be able to distribute data over the Internet through a browser-based system to the various road maintenance agencies that make up the SEMSIM partnership.

SEMSIM unites the four largest road maintenance agencies in Southeast Michigan to improve the snow clearance process in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties and in the city of Detroit. Other participants include the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) and the University of Michigan.

Using GPS satellite technology, Orbital’s system will track the location and status of road maintenance vehicles, dispatching snowplows to the most critical areas in need of service during major storms, as well as identifying sections of roadways that have already been serviced. Orbital said its system will also capture and store data for post- service analysis to assist in reducing the overall cost of future operations.