A blue blaze streaks through the sky as the FA-18E/F fighter jet approaches the runway. The pilot is at the helm of one 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 independent subsystems. The single display interface 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 are increasing 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" and information overload 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 ownership.
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 at any given moment to safely and productively operate their truck.
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.
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 and human-factors engineering will increase functionality while lowering driver distractions, making the truck safer and more productive.
As for the display itself, the screen must be readable in a range of lighting conditions, from direct sunlight to nighttime operation. To ensure safety, the icons and characters must be legible at a quick glance.
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 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.
Although the amount of technology on today's vehicles is increasing, we believe it will be smarter, easier to use, and optimized for the vehicle.
As a leader in display solutions, Planar is working closely with the industry to define the minimum level of acceptable display performance to ensure that in-cab displays provide at-a-glance readability and ensure safe operation of the vehicle.