Over the past 10 years, the transportation industry has steadily increased its adoption of document scanning, and has been one of the leaders in the adoption of distributed capture. The latest trend seems to be the push for mobile scanning – whether it be through dedicated sheetfed scanners attached to laptops or through utilizing the the cameras on SmartPhones. If you remember, we recently did a story on ACS Xerox, which is promoting applications in both these areas.
It was recentlly brought to our attention, however, the Wilmington, OH-based shipping specialist R&L Carriers believes it has a patent on capturing bills of lading with mobile scanners while in transit. The patent number is 6,401,078, and it was filed in 2000 and granted in 2002. It’s entitled, “Bill of lading transmission and processing system for less than a load carriers”
“A method for transferring shipping documentation data for a package from a transporting vehicle to a remote processing center: placing a package on the transporting vehicle; using a portable document scanner to scan an image of the documentation data for the package, said image including shipping details of the package; providing a portable image processor capable of wirelessly transferring the image from the transporting vehicle; wirelessly sending the image to a remote processing center; receiving the image at said remote processing center; and prior to the package being removed from the transporting vehicle, utilizing said documentation data at said remote processing center to prepare a loading manifest which includes said package for further transport of the package on another transporting vehicle.”
and “The method of claim 1, wherein the image sending step is accomplished from onboard the transporting vehicle.”
Apparently, R&L has filed suit against multiple parties, including ACS, DriverTech, Pegasus Transtech, Qualcomm, Intermec, and PeopleNet. Sounds like a interesting case.