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technical director

For more information, please contact Oscar Franzese, Technical Director, at or (865) 946-1304.

Wireless roadside inspection Proof of concept Test

PBBTThe FMCSA commissioned the WRI Program to validate technologies and methodologies that can improve safety through inspections using wireless technologies that convey real-time identification of commercial vehicles, drivers, and carriers, as well as information about the condition of the vehicles and their drivers. It is hypothesized that these inspections will:

Increase safety – Decrease the number of unsafe commercial vehicles on the road;
Increase efficiency — Speed up the inspection process, enabling more inspections to occur, at least on par with the number of weight inspections;
Improve effectiveness — Reduce the probability of drivers bypassing CMV inspection stations and increase the likelihood that fleets will attempt to meet the safety regulations; and
Benefit industry — Reduce fleet costs, provide good return-on-investment, minimize wait times, and level the playing field.

The WRI Program is defined in three phases which are:

Phase 1: Proof of Concept Test (POC) – Testing of commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) or near-COTS technology to validate the wireless inspection concept.
Phase 2: Pilot Test – Safety technology maturation and back office system integration.
Phase 3: Field Operational Test – Multi-vehicle testing over a multi-state instrumented Consortium.

This report focuses on Phase 1 efforts that were initiated in March, 2006. Technical efforts dealt with the ability of a Universal Wireless Inspection System (UWIS) to collect driver, vehicle, and carrier information; format a Safety Data Message Set from this information; and wirelessly transmit a Safety Data Message Set to a roadside receiver unit or mobile enforcement vehicle.

The POC test involved the development and testing of a UWIS, acquisition of lessons learned from the WRI POC testing, and the conduct of a public showcase of the tested technologies. Such testing and public demonstration would not have been possible without the efforts of a team of experts in the areas of vehicle enforcement, vehicle data generation, data collection, and data transmission. As a result, partnerships were formed between the ORNL, the Tennessee Department of Safety, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and a number of private industry participants, many of which participated in Phase 1 efforts without compensation. The purposes of the partnerships were to form teams that could:

  • Develop the necessary data collection, data buffering, and formatting capabilities of the safety data message system (SDMS);
  • Secure the “best available” wireless technology and communications support;
  • Define the required inputs for the UWIS based on commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) sensor and systems technology;
  • Instrument a class-8 tractor with the partner-developed and supplied kernels and transceivers; and
  • Cooperatively test each Partner-kernel at the I-40/I-75 Inspection station in Knox County Tennessee with the test vehicle in a static mode, traveling in the bypass lane, traveling at highway speed, and in proximity of a patrol car at highway speed.


The primary conclusion of the WRI POC Testing was that the information contained in the SDMS was sufficiently accurate and acceptable to engage in future related research. Suggested research topics, and the reason for their inclusion are as follows:

  • Timeliness of the hours of service information that is added to the SDMS: Most of the observed problems were attributed to communication and software issues; however, these problems are not insurmountable.
  • Reduction of the delays inherent to the system due to the back-office communication of the kernel.
  • More extensive testing regarding ideal antenna parameters including type, height, and orientation: Antenna and communication requirements should be developed and refined to include required frequency (2.4 GHz vs. 5.9 GHz), antenna type, and optimal placement of the antenna on each instrumented vehicle.
  • Testing a larger number of vehicles to verify system feasibility on a wider scale: Larger-scale testing should be designed to test performance when several instrumented vehicles pass a roadside unit.
  • Development of the ability to visually identify which truck (in a group) is providing the information viewed by enforcement personnel for each wireless inspection.

See Poster (PDF, .3MB) and Report ( PDF, 5MB)