What is an In-car PC?
With the development of computer technology it is now possible to run a computer in your vehicle or car. In principle this computer is no different that your small home or office PC. It has a processor, data storage and working memory (RAM) but it is also more compact i.e. smaller, uses less power and with some customised components or modifications.
What is it made up of?
The hardware involved can be contained within a mini PC chassis which is located within the vehicle or can be an in-dash (DIN) version. There would also be an LCD screen which will vary in size depending on purpose. The in-dash system would have the screen connected while the other versions would have separate and sometimes portable screens. There may also be external devices e.g. touchscreens, handheld devices, PDAs, that connect wirelessly to the PC or through standard interfaces such as USB, Firewire, etc. You can also add software applications to the PC for varied uses and purposes.
What is it used for?
You can connect to the internet with an in-car pc as you would with a home/office pc. There are a number of ways of connecting.
- Wireless Hotspots
Once connected you can perform the same functions such as Browsing, Downloading, Emailing and Chatting etc. The vehicles in turn could connect to each other allowing the transfer of files or data between each other.
With so many of today’s business people being mobile, having an in-car office PC system can prove time saving, productive and invaluable. The ability to access important application work files at an instant can be very important. The need to communicate data via email, text or check your voicemail can be a major factor for staff that are constantly on the move.
A mobile workforce is making use of new technology to make their job more efficient and effective. There is the use of wireless handheld devices, designed for differing industries, which can connect to an in-car pc and communicate their data with a central office.
An in-car PC can interface with a vehicles onboard diagnostic system (OBD) and communicate relevant data back to a central office. This vehicle telemetry can be done in a real-time environment and assist in the monitoring of the performance and maintenance of the vehicle. This information can inform you of:
- When a service of a vehicle is due.
- What mileage is being completed and how a vehicle is being driven
- How is the engine performing
- Any technical faults or issues with a vehicle
Real-time vehicle tracking is an excellent way for fleet owners and managers to monitor and manage their resources (vehicles and staff) more efficiently. An in-car PC with built in GPS tracking module will relay the location and movement of a vehicle at any time. This will allow you have better control over your fleet and enable you to
- Reduce operating costs – Labour and fuel costs are a large part of ongoing business costs
- Improve efficiency – Maximise the use of your fleet resources
- Enhance security – Track where your asset is at all times and provide staff with security
- Improve customer service – Respond to customers needs and requirements
An in-car PC can assist in the day to day management of the security of the vehicle.
Vehicle anti-theft system
The in-car PC can be of use in the event of theft of a vehicle. The PC can be connected to the vehicle systems and on command the vehicle can be shut down and with vehicle tracking can pinpoint its current location to enable recovery.
Audio/Visual recording system
There may be a need for an in-car video recording system. This could record both audio and video to the in-car PC. An example might me a taxi cab using a system to record any activity within the vehicle and provide a deterrent or means of identification in case of harm/damage to the vehicle or its driver.
Car reversing systems
The in-car PC can be connected to reversing cameras and would visually assist in the parking of the vehicle.
In car PC can act as a Sat Nav system with maps stored on its HD and a GPS receiver mapping out current location and directions. This can be very useful for people who need to find locations quickly and get to them in the most efficient manner. An example might be a courier with a journey plan mapped out and showing the most efficient route to visit on their delivery rounds.
The in-car PC can be a multimedia player and handle MP3 music, play Movies, etc. These files may be stored on the PC hard disc or played as external CDs/DVDs. You can also connect devices like your Ipod or other music players to the PC for playing.
In summary an in-car PC can provide you with the tools to turn your vehicle into a self contained office and communications system and help you and your business manage your valuable assets, both vehicle and staff, and maximise their potential.