A new untethered trailer tracking system relies on a solar panel to recharge its batteries and offers coverage throughout North America, according to developerAVL Information Systems Inc. The Chaperone Trailer Tracker communicates location and status information over the analog cellular telephone network, using Cellemetry control channel technology for low-cost data transmission.

System hardware includes a 1.5 by 3-ft. solar panel that mounts on a trailer roof and a small transceiver that can be housed in an unmarked waterproof housing on the upper leading edge of the trailer. A fifth-wheel sensor is also included to monitor trailer status. Cost is approximately $500 per unit for fleets.

Service costs for the Chaperone system are based on query activity, ranging from $.08 for an automatically generated sensor report to $.30 for a fleet location request. Flat-rate plans are also available starting at $2.50/month for five location queries, according to the company.

Other location-based services, including fleet-activated geofencing that will send an automatic alert if a trailer is moved, are also available. The system requires a $30 per unit activation fee, but there no charge for fleet access to AVL's Internet-based tracking application, which can be integrated with fleet dispatch and routing systems.