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Brett Brinton of Zonar
Brett Brinton of Zonar

Zonar Systems, a Seattle area company that provides electronic fleet inspection and tracking systems for public and private fleets, has scored $50 million in fresh funding, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing comes a few days after Zonar announced that Portland-based Daimler Trucks North America, which builds vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses brands, had made a minority investment in the company.

“Our investment in Zonar will help us to put connected services on the road with even greater speed and variety. We are partnering with a pioneer in this field,” said Daimler Trucks board member Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard at the time of the deal.

The two companies have worked together for five years, with Zonar developing the Virtual Technician diagnostic system found on Detroit Diesel engines. The telematics service records vehicle data performance, with emails sent to fleet operators shortly after a fault is determined. Under the Detroit Connect brand, Zonar’s technology is now used in more than 150,000 Daimler Truck buses and trucks.

In total, Zonar has more than 400,000 telematics devices installed in vehicles.

The EVIR device from Zonar
The EVIR device from Zonar

Zonar also makes an electronic vehicle inspection report device, which allows simple truck inspections before and after trips, logging the information digitally so physical reports can be eliminated.  The device allows for the capture and transmission of inspection, compliance and maintenance data.

It also makes a RFID device for tracking students on school buses.

Zonar is led by CEO Brett Brinton, who previously led Seattle bridge coatings startup Wasser Inc. He co-founded Zonar in 2001, co-authoring more than 30 patents around the technology.

The company develops hardware and software that helps fleet operators — including those in the construction, transportation, utility and waste removal industries — save money on fuel, improve maintenance and increase safety.

“This is a relationship in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Brinton of the investment by Daimler Trucks. “The drivers and fleet managers will all benefit from combining the big data analytics and rapid technology development Zonar offers with the depth of knowledge, precision and expertise in vehicle engineering DTNA brings. It is an honor to be selected as a technology partner to the world’s best vehicle manufacturer, aligning their philosophy of ‘the best or nothing’.”

Previously on GeekWire: Seattle’s Zonar Systems opening big new engineering office in downtown Seattle

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