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J.B. HUNT AND IBM TO FIELD-TEST ON-BOARD COMPUTER

 J.B. HUNT AND IBM TO FIELD-TEST ON-BOARD COMPUTER
 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- In the past, truckers wouldn't hit the road without their CB radio and plenty of strong coffee. Next month, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: JBHT) drivers will also be hauling a small, powerful computer that will let them communicate with the home office without even leaving their trucks.
 J.B. Hunt's drivers will be field testing a new, advanced on-board computer system designed with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) to improve service from the time a shipment order is received, during every moment on the road until the bill is paid. The test planned for May was announced today at IBM Transportation Industry's Executive Conference here.
 The drivers will use the system to send and receive messages (including actual arrivals and departures), convey shipment status and estimated time of arrivals, input driver write-ups for maintenance and check calls. The system is also intended to be used to capture signatures for electronic forms, monitor speed and engine information. The system offers enhanced capabilities over satellite communications devices currently being used in the transportation industry.
 Communicating through a docking station in the cab, the system will allow drivers to stop using precious travel time to find phones and try to reach busy dispatchers. Because the terminal is portable, the drivers will also use it during necessary stops, for example, to write non- urgent messages at the lunch counter to be transmitted when the terminal is docked in the vehicle.
 The system is intended to provide instant communication between drivers, J.B. Hunt's Lowell, Ark. base and terminal operations around the country.
 "We plan to test this new technology in a small number of our trucks and based on a comprehensive set of advanced, on-board computer applications this technology offers, we expect to increase our personnel's productivity and provide better service to our customers" said Kirk Thompson, president and C.E.O. of J.B. Hunt.
 Drivers participating in the test will include those on long-haul and short-haul routes. They will be taking regular, planned runs, not trips designed just for the test.
 The system consists of the portable terminal, the docking station and software.
 The terminal measures approximately 11 by 8-3/4 by 2 inches, weighs five pounds and has a touch screen display that takes input from a finger or stylus. The screen can be changed to meet the requirements of different applications.
 Equipped with an i386SL processor and a VGA screen for crisp resolution, the terminal has been ruggedized for use by a traveling work force.
 The docking station will charge the terminal and secure it on board as well as provide the communications links. The software includes a portable terminal support program, the communication links and an application building tool.
 The terminal was developed by IBM's Boca Solutions Lab, Boca Raton, Fla. in conjunction with J.B. Hunt.
 "IBM transportation industry is excited about the opportunity to work with J.B. Hunt Transport to provide drivers and fleet managers with a productivity tool that can substantially improve customer service and operating efficiency in the trucking industry," said W.F. (Bill) Paulk, IBM AS director of transportation industry. "The field test of the portable driver's terminal and the vehicle docking station is the culmination of intense development activity between IBM and J.B. Hunt."
 IBM sees potential for the system's use in many industries.
 -0- 4/6/92
 /CONTACT: Molly Remes of J.B. Hunt, 501-820-8270, or Karla Feuer of IBM Corporation 914-642-5473/
 (IBM JBHT) CO: International Business Machines Corp.; J.B. Hunt Transport Services
 Inc. ST: Arkansas, New York, New Mexico IN: TLS SU:


SH -- NY040 -- 5314 04/06/92 11:23 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 6, 1992
Words:620
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