The onboard hardware technology in vehicles becomes outdated long before the software systems and vehicles do. In a fleet of hundreds of vehicles, many generations of hardware struggle to function together. With a hardware-independent vehicle platform, these challenges can be solved.
A modern vehicle system that allows for technological progress
Gaia Public Transport was designed in close collaboration with Östgötatrafiken, the regional transport authority in Östergötland. Their motivation was to open up the market to competition for vehicle hardware suppliers and benefit from the technological development that, over time, offer more powerful and cheaper devices. The solution was a system with centralized logic connected to a software-based vehicle platform that can run on various hardware devices.
“We built a system more like a distributed IT system, which we are used to using on our mobiles and laptops, than a traditional vehicle system based on custom-built hardware,” says Fredrik Knutson, CTO at Gaia and one of the brains behind the platform’s structure. “We are convinced that all vehicle systems will have this structure in the future, but today, we are far ahead with our solution.”
“We are convinced that all vehicle systems will have this structure in the future, but today, we are far ahead with our solution.“
A flexible system for both new and old vehicles
The system’s structure has proven to offer many other benefits that fit well with the logic of public transport authorities’ tender procedures.
“The vehicle fleet is often renewed in connection with traffic tenders, and then the vehicle technology becomes part of the deal. Gaia Public Transport is tailored to implement new types of hardware as the fleet is replaced, even if it happens over many years,” says Gaia’s business developer, Nils Lagnström. “In many cases, we have also been able to use our system on existing hardware devices. This adds great value to already made investments.”
“In many cases, we have also been able to use our system on existing hardware devices. This adds great value to already made investments.”
Adaptable for different screen sizes and form factors
Apart from being able to run on various hardware, the system is also industry-leading in handling different screen formats and touch devices. The value here increases over time, for example, when the driver support gets new form factors. In just a few years, development has moved from 7-inch to 10-inch screens, and new devices with extra-wide screens are entering the market.
“In our lab, we constantly test and verify new devices. We’re talking about computers, driver screens, passenger information screens, and external signs. We also have the capability to work with multiple operating systems and currently support Linux, Android, and Windows. Supporting all these devices has made it easy for new customers to test our platform; today, there are several vehicles that serve as rolling test labs in several of our regions,” Fredrik explains.
With the rapid technological development, we see the benefits of a hardware-independent vehicle platform combining both new and existing technology. It allows for flexibility in line with technological progress, ensuring a sustainable and adaptable future for the vehicle fleet.
Read more about Gaia Public Transport’s hardware-independent vehicle platform here.