NYC Towing Services Upgrade Fleet with New Ruggedised Vehicle Mount Computers
Inefficient fleet management and increased overheads on hardware failures was becoming a burden on one of New York City’s growing vehicle recovery services. Having deployed a combination of commercial notebooks and tablet PCs over the years the vehicle operators struggled to maintain connection with HQ due to hardware failures, connectivity issues, and loss of power in the field.
Using the notebook PCs proved difficult when sat in the drivers seat of the vehicle. Often turning to mount the notebooks on the vehicles centre console it still made the cabin space very crowded and vulnerable to being damaged. Powering the systems was often reliant on 12V power inverters installed inside the cabin. Whilst this provided ample power for charging the notebooks if left running when the vehicles weren’t in operation the operators found themselves coming back to find their batteries being drained.
The brightness of the screen was also proving to be a challenge for the vehicle operators. Despite not being exposed to direct sunlight, the high ambient light inside the vehicles cabin was enough to directly affect the visibility of the notebooks low bright LCD displays.
“Transitioning our customer to a rugged mobile computer fit for installation inside heavy duty vehicles was a no brainer. In order to safeguard their investment against the most common challenges found when deployed in vehicles the mobile computer was required to feature a rugged design to provide the necessary resistance against repeat shock and vibration. With extreme changes in seasonal weather fluctuating the vehicles cabin temperature , the solution also required wide temperature operation in order to run reliably in both hot and cold temperatures. In order to remain in operation when the vehicles engines are turned off, programmable ignition settings were a critical feature to maintain a constant connection with HQ. The added flexibility provided by the industry standard RAM mounts meant installing the new mobile computers across the growing fleet of different class vehicles was met with ease. ” Andrew Whitehouse, Managing Director at Things Embedded.
Selected All-In-One Vehicle Computer
Integrating Rugged Vehicle Computers Across the Entire Fleet
As we’ve established, the environment for in-vehicle computing is not hospitable for commercial grade hardware. Things Embedded offer many computers suitable for in-vehicle applications including compact industrial PCs and rugged touch screen PCs.
Featuring a large 14″ widescreen high definition sunlight readable display and powered by the latest generation Intel Elkhart Lake Series Atom processors, the FM14E-V ruggedised vehicle mount computer by Winmate was chosen as the rugged mobile computer of choice. The integrated display increases operational efficiencies by allowing the vehicle operators to fast and comfortably read the mapped routing guides, street information, and messages from the dispatch team at the company’s headquarters. Having a set of programmable keys and a glove-friendly touchscreen, the most common operations are also simplified without having to remove heavy gloves.
A key challenge of in-vehicle computing is how to power the systems without the risk of draining the vehicles onboard batteries when the engines are no longer running. Mitigating the potential for battery drain when the engine is turned off is simple with programmable ignition sensing capabilities found on board our in-vehicle computers. Winmate’s rugged vehicle mount computers can be wired to the vehicle battery and when an ignition sequence is detected, the mobile computers will power on with its programmed boot delay. When the recovery vehicle engines are shut off, the rugged vehicle computers automatically detect this and begin a soft shut down. Programmed via onboard software, the vehicle computer will shut down after a set amount of time and mitigate the risk of battery drain completely.
Fit for installation in heavy duty vehicles via the onboard RAM mount, Winmate’s FM14E-V vehicle mount computer is designed with a rugged aluminium chassis to provide a long life solution. Built to MIL-STD-H standards, the solid state design can withstand the daily rigors of repeat shock and vibration when mounted inside the vehicle.