ATLANTA – UPS Inc. said its drivers would begin using a new generation of handheld computers that can "talk" with four different wireless communication systems to speed tracking information to customers, reported Transport Topics. The unit is smaller and lighter than its predecessor, displays in color, is easier to use and has an expanded memory that will support more customized services, UPS said in a statement. The company plans to deploy 32,000 in the U.S. this year, as a critical part of a broader technology shift that is allowing UPS to reduce its fuel consumption while improving route planning, vehicle loading, and package delivery. Co-developed with Symbol Technologies, UPS also expects to deploy 8,000 internationally by the end of the year, and said it plans to have more than 70,000 in use worldwide by the end of 2007. The new computer – known as the fourth-generation delivery information acquisition device (DIAD IV) – will be deployed rapidly now that it has undergone more than a year of extensive field testing. UPS started its DIAD program in 1991. The system links to a global positioning satellite system and has the ability to connect with four different wireless networks, including local wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), the company said.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials