Research Project

You are here

Automated Trailer Vehicle ID Number and Sequencing System


To develop low-cost wireless transmission technologies to transmit trailer vehicle identification numbers (VINs) to the tractor and enable the tractor to keep track dynamically of the VIN stack and order of the trailer(s) attached to it.


A VIN is a series of Arabic numbers and Roman numerals that are assigned to a motor vehicle for identification purposes. Among other criteria, 49 CFR Part 565 requires a motor vehicle manufacturer to assign to each motor vehicle manufactured for sale in the U.S. a 17-character VIN that is correctly formatted and that uniquely identifies the vehicle within a 30-year rolling period. As for trailers, the make, body type, type, length, and axle configuration must be identified in their VIN. Accordingly, the VIN contains unique, rich, and critical information about the trailer(s).

Summary There are numerous benefits to having dynamic knowledge of VINs for trailers which can be attached to different tractors. One major benefit is that it can address current limitations in developing safety systems for combination trucks. The contractor team is developing low-cost wireless solutions that could enable the expanded development and optimization of effective safety systems (currently used for large trucks and buses) for application within the existing pool of low-tech trailers. In the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I work, the contractor successfully demonstrated this capability on a prototype design. Due to its multimodal relevance and potential to be an enabling technology for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) solutions for articulated vehicles, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration's (RITA's) ITS Joint Program Office (JPO) is providing the Phase II funding for this project.
Outcomes Pre-production samples and commercial modules.


  • December 2012: Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) research completed.
  • July 2013: Phase II SBIR research projected to commence.
  • July 2015: Phase II SBIR research projected to be completed.


  • FY 2012: $150,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology; $600,000 - ITS JPO


Phase I work completed. Phase II proposal received, evaluated and recommended for award. Not yet awarded.

Updated: Friday, January 2, 2015
Submit Feedback >