Modern business transporters are undergoing major changes driven by the demand for digitalized and personalized passenger experiences. According to a market analysis released in 2015, the global market for automotive infotainment systems for passenger uses is estimated to surpass US$30 billion by 2020. The rising needs for in-vehicle features controlled by smart device Apps also contributes to the growth of aftermarket automotive integration.
However, as for business transporters, the major challenge is to provide VIP clients with custom services and experience throughout the journey. For in-vehicle comfort, customers would like personalized comfort setting including electronically adjustable seats, “staying connected via their smart mobile devices”, and rich infotainment within a touch of a button from their smartphones or tablets. They demand high levels of privacy and security besides infotainment during their business trip. Therefore, business transporters require an in-vehicle gateway to handle real-time big data and offer high levels of service flexibility for various user demands.
Aftermarket vehicle integration is one of the most common methods to upgrade or customize vehicles, especially for commercial services. The aftermarket OEM options include many technological features such as personalized in-vehicle control, driver behavior monitoring, multimedia entertainment, route optimization and mobile connectivity and communications. However, it is a challenging task when integrating the complex sets of sensors, electronic controllers, analog-to-digital conversion, data streaming network, GPS modules and other hardware subsystems in the vehicle. Therefore, what business transporters need is a connected in-vehicle gateway that interfaces and works with all the hardware devices and subsystems in the car.
Integrated Control Gateway
A versatile gateway with multi-purpose I/O design will interface with all the components in the vehicle to provide integrated controls, which allow passengers to personalize their comfort and entertainment in the car, including lighting, glass partition, ergonomically designed seats, multimedia systems and privacy settings. When all the operating protocols are integrated by the gateway, customers are able to set their preferences once Bluetooth connection between a smart tablet and the gateway is established.
Mobile Connectivity Gateway
To meet the demand for “staying connected”, the gateway offers Internet connectivity to enable WiFi sharing, video streaming, and real-time two-way communications between drivers and control center, which makes job dispatch easier for business transporter owners. Location tracking is also an essential element of the gateway as it provides location data and enables route optimization
Technological requirements for the gateway should consist of the following:
The system must be able to work under considerable degrees of shock and vibration when the transporters drive on difficult road conditions.
Multiple I/O Ports
USB, COM and DIO ports are designed to connect with various controllers and components for glass partition, lighting, seat adjustments and infotainment systems. HDMI/VGA output is essential for in-car infotainment experience
CAN Bus Support
The bus communicates with brakes, engine, fuel injection and other controlling units in the car and the protocol information can be referenced for driver behavior analysis when needed.
GPS, Bluetooth and 3G/LTE Connectivity
The in-vehicle gateway must be equipped with built-in GPS module for navigation, Bluetooth module for tablet connectivity and wireless SIM card reader for 3G/4G/LTE Internet accessibility
An Asian aftermarket vehicle integration company contacted Lanner to have a compact and versatile gateway suitable for in-vehicle environment to meet the above requirements. Lanner’s LVC-2001 was selected to be deployed in transportation service vehicles to meet the demands from various types of customers.
As an in-vehicle gateway, LVC-2001 provides two USB ports and two COM ports to interface with controllers for lighting, seat adjustments and multimedia systems. With regards of privacy, LVC-2001 comes with DIO connector so that vehicle fleet owners can configure it for glass partition setting. As entertainment plays an essential role in passenger experience, the gateway delivers a HDMI port and a VGA port for display functions.
In order to offer wireless connectivity for passengers, LVC-2001 is designed with internal mini-PCIe sockets that support SIM card readers, and WiFi/LTE protocols to enable data upload, video streaming, and real-time communication with control center for job dispatch. The sockets can also support Bluetooth specifications so that in-vehicle controls can be enabled on smartphones or tablets for maximized comforts.
With regards of safety, LVC-2001 comes with audio I/O for intercom devices, and Ethernet ports for connection with DVR camera devices. In addition to safety, the gateway is compliant with MIL-STD-810G for shock and vibration resistances in vehicle applications. Besides, LVC-2001 can be optionally configured with a CAN Bus, used to communicate with control units such as brakes, engines, and fuel injections for possible drive behavior analysis in the future.
Since location positioning is essential in the transportation services, LVC-2001 is built-in with RF connectivity including onboard u-blox GPS module for route tracking and location data. This helps both the driver and the vehicle fleet managers.