Fleet Management - Truck computer


For more than two decades Hectronic has developed embedded computers for use in public transportation, in trucks, construction machines and on trains. This range of products is used by customers in the businesses of goods transportation or people traveling.

Within the area there are often specific requirements on the power circuitry, that the system withstands damp, dust vibration and shock as well as that the set of communication interfaces are to the purpose.

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A couple of examples of standards and other formal requirements from the area of Transportation are CE and E-mark according to the 72/245/EC directive in the European Union, EN50155 for rolling stock and RTCA DO-160 for civil and military aviation. The reasons behind requirements and regulations all of course have their market specific underlying reasons.

Fleet Management - Truck computer

Wide input voltage

Requirements for the power circuitry in vehicles are on example of that. They need to be able to handle voltages as low as 6V even though the vehicle is equipped with a 12V battery. Running the starter engine on a perhaps not fully loaded battery will lower the voltage in the system significantly. On the other hand the battery is charged with roughly 14V. The properties of a system that can cope with the input voltage span is sometimes called wide input voltage and accepts voltages from as low as 6V up to 36V.

Vehicles are also characterized by a challenging electro-magnetic environment. The starter engine as well as the generator contributes to the challenges. Embedded systems are really put to the test in trains with massive electrical engines and sliding contacts. The FM transceiver developed for rail operator SJ is an example of a system meeting the requirements from EN50155 for rolling stock. Read more in the case study about the project.

Wired and wireless communication

Wireless communication, both on long distance and near field, is a logical requirement in systems in use in transportation and vehicles. 2G, 3G and 4G mobile data communication are used when distances are long and technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth when distances are closer. The typical vehicle application would need quite a lot of serial communication. RS485 is used when communication with the Modbus protocol is needed. Usually Modbus is used for communication with screens on a bus. Cables on a bus are typically quite long, electric potentials vary and could be undefined. That’s why isolated connectors often are one of the requirements from our customers in the Transport sector.

CAN, a few USB and digital I/O are other interfaces most often on the wanted list. CAN gives access to data from the engine. Forest machines often do more than that and use the CAN bus for more or less every aspect of control and communication. USB is often used as a means to connect systems with subsystems, for instance receipt printers and ticket validators with the hosting HMI system of the driver. Digital I/O may need to use a higher voltage than the 5V TTL level which is common.

Fleet Management - Truck computer

Experience from development projects

That was a brief description on requirements from our customers, standards and regulations in the Transportation sector. There are a couple of case studies from development projects in Transportation if you’d like to read some more about our experience in the field. One is about the development of an FM transceiver for rail operator SJ and another describes how standard technology was used to develop a vehicle PC for FARA ASA, the dominant supplier of IT solutions for public transportation in the Nordic countries. And you are always welcome to give us a call for a discussion about your business, products and challenges.

Systems with slots and card holders for wireless communication are included in the COTS product offering from Hectronic targeting Transportation applications. Apart from that we have developed numerous custom design systems and single board computers for Transportation applications.

Experience from custom made development

  • Fleet management and container tracking system
  • Scalable computer on module based vehicle computer for public transportation
  • FM transceiver for infotainment application in trains
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