"Not all electronic or display components will perform well in on-highway transportation. "
A blue blaze streaks the sky as the FA-18E/F fighter jet approaches the runway. The pilot is at the helm of the century's most complex and advanced information display technology demonstrations. The cockpit is characterized by a single, multi-functional flat panel display showing speed, altitude, targets, threats, terrain, and numerous other indicators. In a combat situation, the pilot cannot be distracted by a myriad of displays and subsystems. The single display allows him to focus his attention on the task at hand.
Contrast this with the cab and dash of a typical Class 8 truck. Fleets small and large are using aftermarket monitoring and communications systems in increasing numbers. Innovative fleets have found that investments in these third-party systems have increased productivity and customer satisfaction, while lowering operational costs.
Today's technology demonstrator vehicles have numerous third-party equipment installed all over the cab to supplement the dash gauges. Beyond the "dash clutter" that bombards the driver and compromises safety, the variances between the different systems require more driver training, more technical support, and a higher cost of implementation.
At Planar, we believe the new millennium will bring these innovative products and advanced technologies together into an integrated user interface providing the driver with exactly what he or she needs to know to safely and productively operate their truck at any point in time similar to a jetfighter cockpit.
A single, reconfigurable intelligent display installed in the dashboard will integrate all of the vehicle performance information and every sensor, gauge, and subsystem will be connected on a high-speed data bus. Using only one interface uses dash and cab space more efficiently, making the truck safer and more productive.
Underscoring this is the realization that not all electronic or display components will perform well in the demanding environment of on-highway transportation. Commercial vehicles are exposed to wide temperature variances, constant vibration, and long hours of service - spelling disaster for low-quality display systems designed for office environments.
As for the display itself, the screen must be readable in a variety of lighting conditions, including bright sunlight. To ensure safety, the icons and characters must be legible, even at a glance. As manufacturers implement these systems they must be keenly aware of the warranty costs and potential claims that ride on their selection of components not designed to meet the challenges of a trucking application. Anything less would compromise the OEM's good reputation.
In the next millennium, fleet owners can expect to see the increased integration of many complex systems into one intelligent display subsystem, eliminating the need for multiple displays in the truck cab.
Although the amount of technology will dramatically increase, it will be easier to use and more intelligent. These innovations will result in efficiencies never before achieved for the driver, the fleet, and the companies developing systems for on-highway vehicles.