Hit the Road Jack With Windows Embedded

REDMOND, Wash. — June 22,2011— On your morning commute it’s likely you pass more than one 18-wheeler hauling anything from furniture to laptops or maybe even fresh fruit on its way to the local grocer. That’s because one of the most traditional and widely used forms of transporting goods from point A to point B is through trucking. In fact, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, an estimated 70 percent of goods are transported via trucking. And today, there are new ways that the trucking industry is enhancing short and long hauls for truck drivers, as well as ensuring that deliveries are always on time.

What drivers may not know is that many of their road companions’ big rigs are equipped with the latest in infotainment technology — devices specially installed to help truckers easily connect with companies and stores to ensure products are delivered on time. Windows Embedded platforms, including Windows Embedded Automotive and Windows Embedded Standard 7, are helping power these devices for big rigs, medium-sized trucks and tractor-trailers across the country.

Companies, including Rand McNally, supplier of infotainment systems for big rigs, as well as Kenworth and Peterbilt , who provide the actual vehicles for fleets, have helped make infotainment systems running on Windows Embedded platforms readily available to truck drivers. These infotainment systems provide many benefits, including logistics updates, access to real-time fuel consumption, traffic updates, and alerts to potential roadblocks — reducing truck idling time, fuel consumption and shipping delays. Some even provide interactive updates from the rig to the back office, allowing more transparency for stores awaiting shipments, as well as companies tracking orders.

The Rand McNally Truck PC infotainment system, running on Windows Embedded Standard 7, is a high-performance, low-output device. According to the recent “Windows for Devices” article by Jonathan Angel, the big-rig computer features a cluster of attractive applications, such as “truck-specific routing, points of interest, road construction, turn-by-turn directions and driver behavior metrics, including hard braking, acceleration, speeding and enhanced warnings.” From these functions, truck drivers are alerted to sharp curves, steep hills, speed limit changes and even time zone changes, among other hazards.

Kenworth NavPlus, from Kenworth Truck Company, is a PACCAR proprietary navigation and infotainment technology system for class 5–8 trucks running on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform. The infotainment system provides truck drivers access to truck-specific navigation maps based on truck type, load, height, weight, length and even hazardous load restrictions, for a smooth routing of goods and products. Additionally, the system includes hands-free phoning, audio control camera inputs, roadside assistance and optional Internet access with the touch of a screen.

Peterbilt SmartNav, a PACCAR touch screen infotainment system built on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, offers a high-resolution, scratch-resistant, touch-screen interface. The infotainment system provides navigation routes that factor in trucking parameters, such as bridge heights and weight restrictions, as well as Peterbilt-specific points of interest. Additionally, the system allows for Internet browsing, voice-enabled calls, text messaging and diagnostics capabilities that are constantly monitored and that help drivers stay connected along the way.

To learn more about Windows Embedded infotainment systems for trucks and other vehicles, be sure to check out the Windows Embedded home page, check out the Windows Embedded News Center and follow us on Twitter @MSFTWEB for real-time updates.

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