If 2020 was the year that COVID-19 hit us like a tsunami wave, 2021 seems like it was the year we all tried to figure out how to respond to it. In the news, companies would roll out back-to-office plans only to have them postponed or modified. In-person events would get scheduled and then change to virtual or be cancelled, or in some cases, held in person but with restrictions or mitigations. If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic has at least improved our knowledge of the Greek alphabet.
You would have to be living under a pretty big rock to not realize that the in-person-conference scenario has changed quite a bit in the last 18 months. I know of a few in-person events that have happened since most everything shut down in March 2020, but they are few and far between. So, needless to say, I am looking forward to a chance to get back together with some fellow industry professionals at SAE COMVEC in mid-September. Of course, I expect there to be some differences from the last time we did in-person COMVEC, but as engineers, we live in a constant state of change anyway.
Each year in September, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) holds a Commercial Vehicle Congress (COMVEC). At this event, engineers and technologists come together to collaborate on technologies for commercial trucks, defense vehicles, and off-highway equipment. DISTek has been a participant and exhibitor at COMVEC for many years. It is a perfect fit for our industry focus, and many of the technologies discussed are wholly, or partially, driven by electronics and software.
I have been a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for a number of years and have attended several different SAE events over the last decade. In 2018, I started attending the SAE WCX, a show focused on passenger car technologies, formerly known as the World Congress. Insights into the technologies of today and tomorrow in passenger cars are definitely informative as DISTek seeks to be ready for new technology applications in the Off-Highway industry where we focus. Of course, not everything is directly applicable, but much of it is to varying degrees.
Somehow we find ourselves at the beginning of September already and for those of us here at DISTek, it means that the annual SAE COMVEC show is just around the corner. This year’s show will once again be held in Rosemont, Illinois at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare September 11th – 13th. DISTek will be involved in several capacities from sales hosting a booth on the exhibit floor to engineering attending the technical sessions and panels to stay up to date on the latest technology. We are also pleased to have one of our own, Daniel Aceituna, featured in an expert panel discussion.
In April, DISTek sent me to Dusseldorf, Germany where I attended the 3rd International VDI Conference for Connected Off-highway Machines. This 2-day conference was a great opportunity since there were two additional conferences running in parallel. The fine folks at VDI allowed access to any of the three conference events with admission to any single event, so not only did I have access to the speakers and round table discussions at the Connected Off-Highway Machines Conference, but also the Autonomous Trucks Conference and the Smart Farming Conference. Overall, it was a great experience that provided a glimpse into what the future holds for autonomous machinery.
Steve Jobs, the person behind Apple and Pixar, famously said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” . At DISTek Integration we take that quote to heart when it comes to Functional Safety. In our efforts to provide Functional Safety services to our customers we have resolved to not only follow the standard procedures and services that are part of Functional Safety, but to strive toward leadership by innovating within the field. A case in point is our efforts to make Functional Safety contributions in the form of published papers and conference presentations. The latest such contribution is a paper DISTek published in collaboration with researchers at the University of North Texas (UNT); the paper is entitled: “A Combinatorial Approach for Exposing Off-Nominal Behaviors” .
Ever design a system, and then see a human operator lock it up by behaving in a manner you never imagined they would? If yes, your system is vulnerable to Off-Nominal Behaviors (ONBs). ONBs are behaviors invoked upon a system (often, by unpredictable human operators) that were unaccounted for by the system’s designers because of their human tendency to assume that operators will use the system in a nominal manner.
In a paper to be presented at SAE COMVEC 2016, DISTek Integration, Inc. looks at addressing ONB vulnerability by using a requirements modeling technique known as Causal Component Model (CCM). You are welcome to attend the presentation or access the paper being……..
This year’s theme focused on “Engineering Leadership – Changing, Guiding, Influencing”. I had the opportunity to sit in on several technical sessions that included some of the top panelists from across the country. The list included Deere & Company, Case New Holland, Caterpillar, Inc., Eaton and a variety of university professors.
One of the common topics I came across was how to address the increasingly complex and volatile landscape of vehicle products and control systems. How today’s engineers, across all organizations, need to develop strong adaptive thinking abilities and problem solving skills for their customers.