After a year off, DISTek revved up our marketing engine and returned to the much improved SAE COMVEC (Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress) in Rosemont, Illinois. The show this year really took a deeper dive into technology with some of the industries key thought leaders. Industries represented included on-highway, off-highway, agricultural, construction, industrial, military and mining sectors. The common technology challenges that plague each of these sectors makes this show a great way to learn from the technology panels, as well as peers in other industries. Many of the sessions were centered on autonomous technology, hybrid technology, braking, aerodynamics and combustion engine improvements. One of the more heavily attended tracks specialized on internet-of-things, autonomous vehicles and platooning. (Platooning is when a group of vehicles are able to travel very closely together at high speeds with no driver!) As fascinating as this technology is, it’s not without its challenges. Unfortunately, computers and sensors are non-infallible so as quickly as engineers design how it’s supposed to work, they need to also figure out how it’s supposed to fail. Failing safely is of big concern, as is cyber security due to the concern of a network being compromised. While the technology is not 100% ready, look for a driver-less semi on a road near you in the very near future!
Over at the DISTek booth, we had our portable hardware in the loop tester on display. With National Instruments hardware embedded in a rugged Pelican case, many strategic Tier One suppliers saw the advantages of increased lab testing in the absence of a full vehicle. Partnering with MathWorks to incorporate Matlab and Simulink based models allowed attendees to see the correlations between our testing platform and the real world. Given the great response we received, keep an eye out for DISTek at next year’s COMVEC!