Modular bus driver’s workplace
Continental (Germany) has launched a workplace for bus drivers. The connected control panels are programmable.
“With our concept, we’re opening a new chapter in the history of the driver’s workplace and we have placed people at the heart of all our deliberations,” said Michael Glunk from Continental. “In terms of flexibility and customization, the modular driver workplace represents a major step forward for drivers, fleet operators, and manufacturers.” Due to the modular design, manufacturers can arrange the control panels and displays, adapting the system to match the special requirements of their customers and to the future type of operation of the buses, without having to keep additional devices in stock.
The control panels are connected via CAN and are programmable. Despite this flexibility, the workplace still complies with the EBSF standard (The European Bus System of the Future) by the International Association of Public Transport UITP and meets VDV requirements (VDV = Association of German Transport Companies). Due to the design of all its components, the workplace also proves itself in tough everyday bus use. “As a technology company, Continental is broadly positioned, so we are able to develop a comprehensive system from many different components and that offers great added value for the vehicle manufacturer,” said Dr. Michael Ruf from Continental.
As a central unit, the 12,3-inch TFT display (Multiviu Professional 12) features various combination instruments and information such as camera images in its basic configuration. It is supplemented by control panels to the right and left of the steering wheel, making the relevant information and the most important controls easy to see, said the company. While the speed, battery charge level or navigation is displayed during driving operation, the door cameras and other relevant information can be seen when the bus stops.
Warning lights only appear on the display if there are error messages. Pop-up messages can also be displayed to warn the driver of unusual or hazardous situations. As in the previous models of the driver’s workplace, the system’s height and inclination can be adjusted. This means ergonomic working conditions for the bus driver. This is an added value that should also have a positive effect in the search for new drivers.
The product fits into the design concepts of the latest vehicle generations of city buses and has already won the iF Product Design Award and the German Design Award. The digital displays give manufacturers freedom in the arrangement and programming of the various displays and control panels, providing driver workplaces that can be adapted to the respective requirements of the transport company. The first units are already being delivered to bus manufacturers; serial production starts in early 2019. In addition to bus manufacturers, manufacturers of electrically driven municipal vehicles, agricultural machinery and construction vehicles are also showing a great deal of interest in the workplace.
If additional switches, displays, or additional devices are needed, two additional displays can be connected via CAN to the workplace. The vehicle manufacturer can program all the modules according to the wishes of their customers and can also change from left-hand to right-hand drive. If the bus goes on tour for another purpose, the control panels can be equipped with new icons and can be reprogrammed.
Another advantage of the modular driver’s workplace: It has either a memory or a power-on function. The next time the engine is started up, for example, switches and displays are at the same settings as when leaving the bus – or in a basic (home) position, even if a cleaning team has meanwhile wiped the modules. Manufacturers who want to offer their customers an additional design option can also immerse the switches and the background lighting of the modular driver’s workplace in a color-matching, ambient light.
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