Building upon the convergence of two of the three pillars making up the theme of safe, green, and connected commercial vehicles at Delphi’s display at the IAA Commercial Vehicles event in Hannover, Germany, the company unveiled reconfigurable clusters and wireless device charging technologies as part of its second-generation “Tech Truck.”
“Safety is paramount,” said Jeff Owens, Chief Technology Officer at Delphi, while describing the bookends that were part of his company’s themed display at IAA. “Our objective is zero accidents because that means zero fatalities. In the next 10 years, we are going to see extraordinary things that happen with safety and connectivity in vehicles. These two areas are certainly converging, but they must do so safely and must be done efficiently, and we have to provide future-proof solutions. Delphi is one of the few commercial vehicle suppliers who can take connectivity to the next level and integrate that with safety.”
As greater amounts of information are being made available to on-highway commercial vehicle (CV) drivers such as vehicle health data, infotainment information, and critical safety warnings, driver distraction is a growing concern on the global roadways.
Traditional instrument clusters are now being replaced by reconfigurable clusters, which provide CV manufacturers with an answer to the increased consumer demand for connectivity without compromising safety. Delphi says that this will give drivers a clear indication of what is going on with the vehicle.
Delphi premiered versions of its full-color, high-resolution, and entirely reconfigurable vehicle cockpit instrument panel displays during IAA 2014. One of the options on these reconfigurable clusters enables the driver to change and personalize the content of the cluster. This allows for mass customization suited to individual preferences.
Crucial driver information is displayed within a 20° field-of-view and with photorealistic 3D graphics. The design allows flexibility for styling, functionality, and information content. The ability to personalize content based on driver preferences provides an opportunity to help customers create brand differentiation. Delphi believes that its experience in this domain will create opportunities for the company to provide a fully integrated cockpit for its customers.
“The objective is to create a customized and cost-effective design,” said Owens.
Commercial vehicles of the future will be “always online,” and the latest integrated cockpit solutions from Delphi are aimed to help make drivers more productive through its infotainment and driver interface solutions.
The reconfigurable clusters play a part in this equation in allowing CV drivers to stay connected and informed of customer and vehicle data, traffic updates, weather, and more. The increased volume of in-vehicle information and customers’ demand for customization requires a high degree of content management depending on the driving situation.
Delphi's technologies and designs were conceived to deliver critical information to drivers with maximum safety in mind. The goal is to combine innovation with a building-block strategy that offers high-value products designed to meet the specific needs for cost optimization, durability, and CV-specific applications.
“It’s all part of that future technology that will keep drivers safe,” said Owens.
Wireless device charging system
“And to help make drivers’ lives a bit easier and a little less cluttered, we are demonstrating our wireless device charging system for the phones and tablets that the driver may bring into the cab,” shared Owens during IAA.
Commercial vehicles rely on a number of mobile devices for communication, entertainment, and safety. Delphi’s Wireless Device Charging System creates a cordless environment for high-efficiency, hands-free charging. It eliminates clutter associated with multiple charging cords in the cabin, which helps reduce distraction caused by drivers fumbling to connect their devices while driving.
Delphi is a strong participant in the wireless power standards organizations such as SAE International, and says it is committed to providing customers with the systems that meet their specific requirements. Delphi’s Wireless Device Charging System is ready for market introduction.
Owens explained further: “With the desire of the consumer, and certainly the driver, to bring their digital lifestyle into the cabin, and with all the opportunity for additional information to make their ride more efficient and more productive, it also has the opportunity to add more distraction. This is where we think the connectivity space and the safety space converge—where you put active safety implementations on the vehicle, at the same time allowing information to be gated to the driver at the appropriate time when it’s a low workload kind of environment. So we are trying to provide the kind of technology where even if the driver could be distracted, the vehicle never is and maintains the safety of the commercial vehicle space.”