Rosenbauer International AG
Embedded Linux in Feuerwehrautos
Faster than the fire department - embedded Linux in fire engines
Faster than the fire department - embedded Linux in fire engines
Rosenbauer International AG from Leonding, Upper Austria is the first port of call when it comes to innovative firefighting technology for worldwide use. When the Group was looking for a new generation of operating system for the cockpit of its fire fighting vehicles, it came to cooperate with Ginzinger electronic systems.
It is one of the most successful and efficient airport fire fighting vehicles in the world. Its powerful performance and multiple award-winning design make it the most modern firefighting vehicle of our time. Features such as a panoramic cab, a firefighting arm that can be extended to 20 meters, and two 750-horsepower engines that accelerate 52 tons of vehicle to 80 mph in less than 25 seconds make firefighting enthusiasts young and old go into raptures. We are talking about the Panther. The Panther is the epitome of the modern fire engine that "plays all the pieces".
For quick and easy operation of all functions in and on the modern fire truck like the Panther, intuitive operating systems with buttons, touch and graphic screens are used in the cockpit. Whether pump, foam proportioning system, water cannon, light mast or generator, all functions can be controlled via these.
On your mark, get set, fire ... go!
For the development of a new generation of control units, Rosenbauer set out to find an integrated controller platform. Until then, Rosenbauer had had an operating system in which the display and controller were separate. I/O, CAN, and video interfaces for the rear-view and basket cameras were coupled to it. The goal was to bring a new, completely integrated system to market by 2020. This was to include a 7" and a 10" variant of the Rosenbauer "RBC LCS" operating system with a high-resolution display.
After an extensive evaluation of different potential partners, Rosenbauer decided on a customized embedded system from Ginzinger electronic systems. One of Ginzinger's specialties is modularly adaptable hardware and software platforms based on embedded Linux. The combination of the platform with open source operating system and in-house electronics production convinced Rosenbauer.
Requirements that definitely made us sweat...
After the project start for the Rosenbauer operating system RBC LCS, the first rough conception took place. The requirements for the operating system were extensive: A robust and universal operating system was required for use in the fire truck, which was to be used worldwide in harsh ambient temperatures from -30 degrees to +65 degrees. Demanding standards with regard to tightness, shock and vibration had to be met.
The hardware had to provide high computing power for the application. Graphic screen, touch screen and dynamic animations as well as multiple video streams from cameras on the vehicle had to be processed without any problems. When there's a fire, a fire truck has to be ready to go immediately. Fast start-up within five seconds and standby operation with the ignition off were other crisp requirements.
The operating system must have a scratch-resistant, brilliant touch display that can be operated outdoors in all weather conditions and with firefighters' gloves. Around the touch display, up to twenty illuminated pushbuttons provide modular, individually configurable operation of lighting, signaling systems, built-in modules and many other functions.
For the hardware interfaces, several independent CAN interfaces, analog and digital camera inputs, LAN and USB were required. For Rosenbauer, the complete disclosure of the software for the RBC LCS was essential. This will enable Rosenbauer to maintain and service the complete system in the future. Integration into the existing Rosenbauer software framework was also important. An embedded system with an i.mx6 dual-core processor was implemented in an automotive variant as the hardware basis. The computing unit was equipped with 2 GByte RAM, 1 GByte FLASH and 64 GByte eMMC FLASH.
DI Stefan Schöfegger
By using GELin, Ginzinger's embedded Linux software distribution, Rosenbauer and its partners were quickly able to port their own software components to the new system. GELin is robust and has been successfully used in hundreds of thousands of devices for many years. In addition, Ginzinger supported Rosenbauer in meeting the conditions of the open source licenses for its software. GELin has suitable support tools for this as well. DI Stefan Schöfegger, Head of Development at Ginzinger electronic systems, comments: "With GELin, Ginzinger provides the long-term robust and well-maintained "underpinning". Rosenbauer can thus concentrate fully on its application development."
Many a dicey moment could be mastered together...
Based on the specifications, the critical components were selected at the start of development. "Special attention was paid to the display - the central element of the operating system. From a high number of different display suppliers, potential partners were evaluated in a first step," Schöfegger knows. The decision-making process was extremely extensive and detailed - with several rounds of testing and selection at Rosenbauer.
Exceptional conditions require exceptional solutions
Rosenbauer RT Fahrzeug
The comprehensive requirements for the display, such as brightness, contrast, operability with gloves, and the need for long-term availability quickly narrowed down the choice of possible suppliers. In the course of the project, the requirement that the display must also be easily readable with polarized sunglasses was added.
In the course of the extensive research, it was decided to develop only one display variant with 10". This turned out to be more feasible in terms of usability, clarity and cost-effectiveness. In line with Ginzinger's core promise of "Converting Challenges into Solutions", after an intensive search the Ginzinger project team found a suitable manufacturer to supply the display in a customized variant with an extended temperature range.
Ginzinger's many years of know-how in the development of graphic operating systems proved to be a great advantage in the search for a robust display for unusual applications.
In addition to selecting the appropriate display, there were other challenges to overcome. "An approval process at the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) had to be initiated in parallel with the development for the operating system, which was designed in accordance with Performance Level C as per EN ISO 13849," explains Stefan Schöfegger. "Every component in the firefighting vehicle must be approved according to the ECE-R10 directive. Without this approval, customers cannot install the control unit in their vehicles," says Schöfegger.
"On fire" for each other ...
Since 2020, the Rosenbauer operating system RBC LCS with a high-resolution 10" display has been available in series production in all Rosenbauer vehicles. "The operating system's area of application is diverse due to its simple installation method. All functions in the cockpit, from the instrument cluster, to the control of the blue light and all lighting during operations, to the camera systems for turntable ladder cage or reversing, can be controlled via it. The operating system can also be used directly in the turntable ladder cage," explains Severin Wiesmüller, Global Product Manager HMI & Electronics at Rosenbauer International.
In addition to the operating system, Ginzinger electronic systems is already implementing two other projects for Rosenbauer International AG. A 17" display variant of the MMI is being used in the Revolutionary Technology (RT), the first hybrid fire fighting vehicle. For this, the components of the 10" system could be adopted with only a few adjustments. In this way, it was possible to further reduce the number of variants in the electronics.
In the "2-button panel" project, two universally applicable CAN bus buttons were developed for Rosenbauer. These can be flexibly mounted in many positions on the inside and outside of the fire truck and individually programmed. The pushbuttons are used, for example, to control the electric shutters or to operate the supports on the turntable ladder.
"The successful cooperation between Rosenbauer International and Ginzinger electronic systems demonstrates the advantages that 30 years of experience in the development and industrialization of electronic products from a wide range of industries have for the customer. Combined with the knowledge from in-house electronics production, projects can be realized in an uncomplicated and flexible way at Ginzinger electronic systems. In this way, Ginzinger supports its partners and enables them to achieve a fast time-to-market with mature, stable products," says Franz Macho, customer consultant for Rosenbauer at Ginzinger electronic systems.
Rosenbauer International AG is an internationally active group and a reliable partner to fire departments around the world. The company develops and produces vehicles, extinguishing technology, equipment, and digital solutions for professional, company, works, and volunteer fire departments, as well as systems for preventive fire protection.
Rosenbauer is represented in 120 countries with a sales and service network. www.rosenbauer.com/de/at/world
Severin Wiesmüller, Global Product Manager HMI & Electronics at Rosenbauer
"The operating system can be used in a wide range of applications because it is so easy to install. All functions in the cockpit, from the instrument cluster, to the control of the blue light and the entire lighting during the operation, to the camera systems for the turntable ladder cage or reversing, can be controlled via it.
Severin Wiesmüller, Global Product Manager HMI & Electronics bei Rosenbauer.