Truck cabs and sleeper boxes are becoming so stuffed with important electronic entertainment and communications options, truckers may never want to leave. The new technologies enable vehicles to do more than ever before, including notifying drivers of electronic or mechanical problems; sending e-mail messages to inform owners of an equipment malfunction or collision; rerouting themselves around stopped traffic or congested roads; and entertaining drivers and passengers with movies, music, and video games.
During the recent 37th annual Mid-America Trucking Show, Delphi’s data connectivity systems, which include consumer ports, header connections, hubs, and cables , were on display. Truck cabs and sleeper boxes were equipped with interfaces that allow drivers to download MP3 music files from iPods and usb drives and listen to them through the vehicle’s audio system as well as view images stored on play video games, photo cards, charge cell phones, and connect laptops. This greatly heightens the livability of the vehicles and may even aide transportation companies attract and retain drivers, according to Tim Smigiel of Delphi’s Commercial Truck Group. In a market with a shortage of long-distance drivers, this can be a significant advantage, he said.
The recent systems can easily handle multiple consumer interfaces and link various systems within the motor vehicle, transforming cabs and sleeper units into multifunctional, on-the-road communications/entertainment centers. Interfaces between the external consumer equipment and the electrical system can be located throughout the motor vehicle and may accommodate global positioning exchange, audio/video, and telematics , including standard USB ports for personal music players, RCA jacks for video games, SD slots for photo cards and analog ports for headphones.
Delphi’s Data Connectivity Systems may also be used to connect systems that pinpoint the location of stolen vehicles, send and receive real-time computer data, track fleet vehicles and trailers, provide remote diagnostics and satellite navigation, and notify the driver that the temperature inside the trailer being towed is rising and that the refrigeration unit is running low on fuel. They are not yet able to tell drivers if their spouse back home is going out dancing with someone else, however.
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