Vehicle System Would Alert Drivers to Potential Repair Needs

By Valerie Insinna

With international defense budgets trending downward, many countries are opting to upgrade their combat vehicles rather than buying new, making it more important than ever to keep older models properly maintained.

Drivers and maintenance personnel will need up-to-date information about vehicle performance and be able to quickly determine how to repair them in case of a breakdown.

The Tweddle Group, a Clinton Township, Mich.–based company that specializes in automotive information technologies, debuted its connected intelligent vehicle management system at the Defence Security and Equipment International exhibition in London this September. The idea is to unite the driver, maintenance personnel and original equipment manufacturer through a smartphone or iPad, allowing each party to more easily share information.

Based on technology already available for the commercial vehicle industry, the system could monitor combat vehicle subsystems, predict technical problems and alert the driver to malfunctions, said company spokesman Chris Trippick.

More importantly, it would automatically load relevant portions of the vehicle’s manual, instructions for repair or other guidance onto the driver’s iPad or smartphone, he said. “It might say, ‘This is not repairable, you’ve got to take this to maintenance and get this replaced,’ or it might say, ‘You’re better off abandoning the vehicle,’” he added.

When something on the vehicle is in need of repair, it would send information to maintenance personnel such as where to obtain replacement parts or video instructions on how to carry out the procedure, Trippick said.

“If it gives the driver better information and allows him to make quicker decisions, that’s going make things safer for the driver. If it allows maintainers … access to the data they need quicker, then that’s going to save money,” he said.

To ensure that drivers and maintainers always have the most recent technical information, original equipment manufacturers would be able to send out updates to the digital copy of the vehicle’s manual stored on a user’s iPad.

Tweddle currently is in talks with U.K.-based vehicle manufacturers about possible adoption of the system, Trippick said, although he would not disclose what companies were interested.

Topics: Combat Vehicles

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