Embedded Linux in the fire truck

Rosenbauer International AG is the first port of call when it comes to innovative firefighting technology for worldwide use. For the development of a new generation of operating units, the Group went in search of an integrated controller platform. Read this article to find out why Ginzinger was chosen and what requirements had to be met.

Display Panther Fahrzeug

Water up! Seconds count when it comes to firefighting operations. Whether pump, foam proportioning system, water cannon, light mast or generator: all functions of a fire truck must be ready for use quickly - and sometimes under extreme conditions.


Platine Chip

The Rosenbauer Panther

One of the most modern fire fighting vehicles in the world

The Panther is the epitome of the modern fire truck that "plays all the pieces". Its powerful performance and multi-award-winning design make it the most modern fire truck of our time. Features such as a panoramic cab, a firefighting arm that can be extended to 20 meters and two 750 hp engines that accelerate 52 tons of vehicle to 80 km/h in less than 25 seconds make firefighting enthusiasts, young and old, go into raptures.

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The goal

An integrated controller platform

Rosenbauer previously 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.

RFC Admix Variomatic

Rosenbauer & Ginzinger

Good reasons for the partnership

After extensive evaluation of various potential partners, Rosenbauer decided on a customized embedded system from Ginzinger electronic systems. Rosenbauer was convinced by the following arguments, among others:

  •     modularly adaptable hardware and software platforms based on embedded Linux
  •     the combination of the platform with an open source operating system
  •     in-house electronics production by Ginzinger

After the project start for the Rosenbauer operating system RBC LCS, the first rough conception took place, in which extensive requirements for the operating system had to be taken into account.

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extraordinary challenge

Requirements for the new operating system

Robust & universal

The operating system is to be used worldwide in harsh ambient temperatures ranging from -30 degrees to +65 degrees. Demanding standards regarding tightness, shock and vibration also had to be met.

Immediately ready for use

Fast start-up within five seconds and standby operation with the ignition off are required. The hardware must provide high computing power in order to process the video streams from the vehicle cameras, dymamic animations, etc. without any problems.

Future proof & easy to maintain

The complete disclosure of the software for the RBC LCS is essential. This will enable Rosenbauer to maintain and service the complete system in the future. In addition, integration into the existing Rosenbauer software framework is to be made possible.

Scratch resistant & brilliant display

The operating system must have a scratch-resistant, brilliant touch display that can be operated outdoors in all weather conditions and with firefighters' gloves. The display should also be readable with polarized sunglasses.

individually tailored

An embedded system for Rosenbauer

An Embedded-System with i.mx6 Dual-Core-processorwas 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.

By using GELin, the Ginzinger Embedded-Linux-Softwaredistribution, 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.

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"With GELin, Ginzinger provides the long-term robust and well-maintained "underpinning". Rosenbauer can thus concentrate fully on its application development."

Stefan Schoefegger Portrait
DI Stefan Schöfegger
Head of Development at Ginzinger

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A robust display for exceptional applications

The display is the central element of the new operating system for Rosenbauer's fire truck. Comprehensive requirements for brightness, contrast, operability with gloves, and the need for long-term availability quickly limited the selection of possible suppliers.

In the course of extensive research, the decision was made to develop only one display variant with 10". This turned out to be more practicable in terms of usability, clarity and cost-effectiveness. After an intensive search, the Ginzinger project team found a suitable manufacturer who could supply the display in a customer-specific variant with an extended temperature range.

Mann baut Display zusammen

Approved & available in series

In addition to selecting the appropriate display, there were other challenges to overcome. Every component in the firefighting vehicle must be approved in accordance with the ECE R-10 directive - including the new operating system, which was designed in accordance with Performance Level C of EN ISO 13849. For this purpose, an approval process was initiated at the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) in parallel with development.

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 has a wide range of applications due to its simple installation.

Arbeit an der EMS Broschüre von Ginzinger

"For the operating system, which was designed in accordance with Performance Level C under EN ISO 13849, an approval process had to be initiated at the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) in parallel with development," explains Stefan Schöfegger. Every component in the firefighting vehicle must be approved in accordance with the ECE-R10 directive. Without this approval, customers cannot install the control unit in their vehicles," says Schöfegger.

Stefan Schoefegger Portrait
DI Stefan Schöfegger
Development management Ginzinger

Rosenbauer & Ginzinger

The partnership continues

In addition to the operating system, Ginzinger electronic systems is already implementing two other projects for Rosenbauer International AG.

  • An MMI for the first hybrid fire fighting vehicle: In the so-called "Revolutionary Technology", a 17" display variant of the MMI is used. 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.
  • Development of two universally applicable CAN bus pushbuttons: These can be flexibly mounted at many positions on the inside and outside of the fire truck and individually programmed. The buttons are used, for example, to control the electric shutters or to operate the supports on the turntable ladder.
Rosenbauer Rettungstreppe

"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 turntable ladder cage or reversing, can be controlled via it."

Severin Wiesmueller
DI Severin Wiesmüller
Global Product Manager HMI & Electronics at Rosenbauer

Electronics Development & Automotive Engineering

The ECE-R10 approval describes the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of products. Both the emitted interference and the interference susceptibility of these products must lie within certain limit ranges. The marking is done with a small "e" and a number in a circle.

A user interface is called a "man-machine interface" (MMS) or, in English, a "human machine interface" (HMI) or "man machine interface" (MMI). In addition to operating the machine, it may also allow the operator to monitor the status of the system and intervene in the process.

Depending on customer requirements, there are special requirements for vehicle components. In Rosenbauer's case, the control unit had to be designed in accordance with the ECE-R-10 directive and Performance Level C according to EN ISO 13849. We will be happy to advise you on your individual requirements.