Street Smarts: High-tech trucking on display at CES 2024

07 March 2024

AUO Smart Concept driver-vehicle interface Taiwanese optronics company AUO has developed an all-new driver-vehicle interface that goes far beyond simply introducing modern, customizable graphics into truck dashboards. (Photo: Jack Roberts)

CES 2024 – the famous Consumer Electronics Show held annually in Las Vegas – is kind of like a modern, yearly version of the World Fairs that drew crowds years ago. It’s a sprawling, frenetic showcase of cutting-edge technology with new takes on any kind of device, product, industry and market segment you can think of. That includes commercial vehicles.

And this year, the technologies on display that really jumped out at me are all firmly focused on driver safety, comfort and productivity.

Stunning new way to interact

We’re surrounded by new technology – except inside our vehicles. Sure, there are a few cobbled-on bits of technology here and there. But by and large, the interior of a modern car or truck looks a lot like it did back in 1955.

A Taiwanese optronics company called AUO is about to change all that with its Smart Concept driver-vehicle interface system.

You’ve probably never heard of AUO. But if you’ve even glanced at a modern television screen, computer or gaming system screen lately, you’ve seen its digital graphics and display technologies in action.

Now, AUO is looking to bring its new Micro LED technology into trucks. These Micro LEDs are combined with special coatings on a truck’s windows to create a translucent hybrid window/display screen. The result is a dynamic view of the road combined with see-through prompts of real-time information, navigation prompts and alert icons that are flashed onto the windshield in front of the driver or on passenger windows.

AUO Smart Concept driver-vehicle interface AUO’s Micro LED technology combined with special coatings transform truck windows into hybrid window/display screens that can show all kinds of interactive information inside and outside a truck. (Photo: Jack Roberts)

For example, Smart Cockpit can flash an alert on the windshield over the steering wheel warning the driver to stop because another car is running a red light. It can issue a similar warning if the truck driver is following too close, or if a pedestrian is jaywalking.

Instead of looking down at their smartphones or over at a display on the center console, Smart Cockpit delivers timely navigation prompts at eye level, so drivers don’t have to take their eyes off the road while looking for their exit or upcoming turn. It can even integrate with freight management systems. A driver pulling into a freight distribution center can get a prompt flashed on the front windshield with directions to the assigned loading dock.

On the passenger side, information about bridges, highways or buildings can be displayed on the inside of the windows – as well as advertisements or special offers at businesses the truck is passing by, of course.

Revolutionary display

But what makes the information display system so revolutionary is that it works both inside and outside the truck. That means that a QR code can be flashed on the driver- or passenger-side windows that dock workers can scan to check in a shipment and accurately route it onward to its destination.

Jack Roberts is a Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based independent journalist and licensed commercial driver with more than 20 years’ experience covering the North American and global trucking industries.

The system is interactive, too. If a fleet has it tied in with its vehicle telematics and maintenance software system, a checklist of scheduled maintenance items – as well as driver comments and complaints – can be displayed on either the driver- or passenger-side window. Once the technician is done working on the truck, he or she can then tick off the work completed and make any necessary comments right there on the truck window/display screen. That means technicians no longer have to depend on smartphones, tablets or desktop computers to record and update maintenance records.

AUO has confirmed that it is in active discussions with global truck OEMs about the benefits of its Smart Cockpit technology. That’s not surprising. Because more than simply a new way to look at a dashboard, AUO has come up with an intelligent driver-vehicle interface that will transform the way humans interact with a vehicle both inside and outside the cab. It is an amazing, cutting-edge, yet commonsense solution that has great potential to exponentially boost fleet and driver safety and productivity.


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