Onboard computing and more

Success in the transportation industry will depend in part on a company's or owner-operator's ability to harness and effectively utilize the latest information technology, said Freightliner LLC's director of electrical/electronic engineering, Paul Menig, at the recent SAE meeting in Portland, Ore. To help meet the information, communications and entertainment needs of 21st century truck operators,

Success in the transportation industry will depend in part on a company's or owner-operator's ability to harness and effectively utilize the latest information technology,” said Freightliner LLC's director of electrical/electronic engineering, Paul Menig, at the recent SAE meeting in Portland, Ore. To help meet the information, communications and entertainment needs of 21st century truck operators, Freightliner announced a number of upgrades to its Truck Productivity Computer.

Introduced a year ago, Truck Productivity Computer is an onboard computer, communications interface, vehicle information display, global positioning system, AM/FM stereo, weather/RDS receiver and CD player all in one. It fits into a truck's standard radio slot and is intended as an alternative to current mobile computing options for commercial truck operators.

The latest generation is installed with the new 3.0 version of Windows CE for Automotive, as well as new voice interactive software from Lernhout & Hauspie.

“It will provide the Truck Productivity Computer with improved power management, capabilities for wireless Internet access and additional language support,” explained Menig. “The … voice interactive capabilities will enhance the driver's ability to keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while controlling the flow of information.”

Freightliner also announced that over two dozen companies, including @Road, ALK Assoc., Delphi Automotive Systems, IBM and Sirius Satellite Radio, are developing compatible software, hardware and services.

The Truck Productivity Computer will also be integrated with Freightliner's suite of customer support web sites. These include MyTruck.com, a one-stop source for trucking information and services for drivers of any make of truck; and MyTruckShop. com, designed to assist drivers with scheduling maintenance and repair, including registering appointments, providing notices of recalls and posting reminders on preventive maintenance.

Production of the upgraded computer is slated for mid-year. It will also be sold on the aftermarket.
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