Designing a touchscreen interface for fire trucks
Developing a new interface is always a challenge. When you have to replace 50 mechanical buttons with a new touchscreen and at the same time improve the condition of those working on rescue vehicles, it starts to get really interesting. Here we talk about how we created a new modern control panel.
Kund:Autokaross Rescue Systems
Autokaross Rescue Systems The Nordic region's leading supplier of tailor made fire and rescue vehicles. The cars are equipped with the latest technology and strive for minimal environmental impact with environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and material selection.
Touchscreen for fire trucks
Autokaross in Floby builds customized rescue vehicles equipped with the latest technology. Vehicles used by satisfied customers throughout the Nordic region. Republic, together with the company Martinsson Elektronik, has developed a modern control panel with touchscreen technology to control things in a fire truck such as pump motor, water supply, extra lighting, etc.
Previously, this was handled by a control panel with physical buttons at the back of the vehicle. With a modern screen-based solution, new opportunities were opened to simplify processes and provide a better overview of stressful situations and gave Autokaross the opportunity to offer new additional services, such as support for help functions, diagnostics of current data, etc
A first step in the project was to categorize the menu choices so that it became a so-called event-based system. This meant that the first choice the firefighter makes is to choose the type of mission, e.g. whether it is a rescue or fire mission. After that, only the functions you need to access during the current assignment are shown. This provides a faster, clearer and more intuitive user interface, which is much appreciated in a work situation where every second can be critical. It was also very important to keep the interface extra clear and tasteful as it is a working tool that will be located in smoke and dust and often navigated with gloves.
An early idea was to always display critical information at one and the same place regardless of assignment nature, in this case the pressure before and after the pumping, the number of liters of water in the tank, the amount of foam liquid, etc.
When it comes to warnings of various kinds, we were asked to retrieve inspiraton from an aircraft cockpit where the system at multiple warnings makes an automatic choice where less critical information is suppressed in order to minimize stress and highlight the most important problem for the moment.
The system has been well received in the market and our hope is that it will facilitate firefighters’ lives and that Autokaross will continue to lead the development with a good result where everyone in the community benefits from a safe and efficient rescue service.
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