– International Truck and Engine Corp. is offering factory-installed electronic theft-deterrent and tracking systems for medium and heavy trucks. Debuting at the Homeland Security Summit in Washington, D.C., the comprehensive International Aware Vehicle Intelligence system tracks trucks anywhere in the country. When combined with a factory-installed theft-deterrent, the system becomes a two-stage crime prevention system manageable from a fleet manager's desktop. With International's theft-deterrent system, a truck can be started, but the access code must be entered within seven seconds or the engine will shut down. The seven-second delay is a safety feature for drivers who may have to move a truck a short distance in an emergency situation. If the code is entered incorrectly too many times, it can be programmed to send an alert to the cell phone of a fleet manager or other official. AmeriGas Propane, a retail propane marketer serving 1.3 million customers nationwide, already uses a variation of this theft-deterrent technology to safeguard its new fleet of propane trucks. "Using International's truck electronics systems like the theft-deterrent system, AmeriGas strengthens the reliability and sustained performance capability of our trucks," said Len Strazza, fleet technical services specialist for AmeriGas. International Aware Vehicle Intelligence is a telematics solution that allows authorized individuals to monitor trucks in real-time through a password-protected Internet connection. The system tracks the truck's exact location, direction of travel, and speed. Other features include the ability to set up a "geofence," a virtual electronic boundary on a map where trucks should not cross. For example, if a geofence was established around the nation's Capitol and a truck crossed that imaginary line, an alert instantly would relay to designated officials to inform them that a truck is out of its normal boundary and nearing the building. It also works for highway tractors that veer off course on an Interstate highway. If a truck appears to take a different or a suspicious route, the geofence can alert a fleet manager who can investigate further to see if it is a troublesome situation or a matter of a detour due to road construction. "This new technology gives the trucking industry the ability to keep closer tabs on the thousands of trucks on America's roadways," said Swim. "It provides a better situation for drivers, fleet managers, and law-enforcement officials." The telematics system is not only for security purposes, but also serves as a valuable business tool for truck owners. "Truck owners want to know everything about the performance and productivity of these vehicles," explained Jeff Bannister, director, truck electronics, International Truck and Engine. "Fleet owners, and managers lose control over some of their most important assets when their trucks leave the lot each day, and International Aware Vehicle Intelligence lets them track location, monitor performance, diagnose maintenance issues, and ensure driver and vehicle safety and security. Customers will see its impact on their bottom line because it helps reduce fuel and inventory costs, maximizes available revenue opportunities, and improves the overall return on investment of their trucks and truck equipment." According to many experts, telematics services are anticipated to grow exponentially in the next few years. "The trucking industry will embrace telematics because it provides a value proposition that can help businesses monitor performance and track potential costs," said Thilo Koslowski, technology analyst for GarterG2. "This technology is applicable to nearly all vocations and all fleet sizes." Frost & Sullivan researchers estimate that by the end of 2012, nearly one-third of trucks and about one out of four truck trailers will be equipped with telematics systems.