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It’s Elementary My Dear, Watson!

For someone that loves technology, this is an exciting week. What used to be the Consumer Electronics Association is now the Consumer Technology Association. Their annual conference is still called CES, which harkens back to both consumers and electronics. But, the show is now so much more. Here are 3 items that caught my attention for application to trucking.

Automotive Grade Linux

Linux has been around as an open-source, free operating system for quite some time. But, in 2012, auto companies started to look to standardize it for their use. More companies announced support this week, including Ford. 7 car companies are now involved, with some notable exceptions, such as the European carmakers and GM. When will automotive grade Linux come to trucks? Will it make life for a service technician any easier if all the computers have the same operating system? What will a future tech need to be? A software guy or a hardware guy? I say a systems engineer. He won’t be just fixing leaks in radiators from rocks.

When Will Apple CarPlay Become TruckWork?

CarPlay is intended to make interacting with a smartphone about as simple as early car radios with just a couple of knobs and some pushbuttons for preselected stations. Pioneer and Harman announced aftermarket products and auto OEMs confirmed roll out for the feature. With nearly every truck scheduled to get an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) in the next 2-4 years, it would be great if that device could also be the interface to entertainment and phone. I’m actually surprised no one has made an announcement along these lines yet.

Cognitive Computing

Ginny Rometty, Chair of the Board, CEO, and President of IBM announced 3 new “powered by Watson” collaborations with Under Armour, Medtronics, and SoftBank that will change people’s lives. At the ATA MC&E meeting in October, TMC called for the industry to aggregate information on trucks so that the data can be mined to produce new insights that will drive future improvements. Watson is just the sort of thing we need in trucking to realize the goals of predictive analytics, predictive diagnostics, and condition based maintenance.