GB2481077A - Dual processor for Mobile Applications - Google Patents

Dual processor for Mobile Applications Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2481077A
GB2481077A GB1010881.9A GB201010881A GB2481077A GB 2481077 A GB2481077 A GB 2481077A GB 201010881 A GB201010881 A GB 201010881A GB 2481077 A GB2481077 A GB 2481077A
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GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
processing system
unit
computer system
vehicle
external
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB1010881.9A
Other versions
GB201010881D0 (en
Inventor
Anthony Parfitt
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
FUTRONICS GROUP Ltd
Original Assignee
FUTRONICS GROUP Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GBGB1009478.7A priority Critical patent/GB201009478D0/en
Application filed by FUTRONICS GROUP Ltd filed Critical FUTRONICS GROUP Ltd
Publication of GB201010881D0 publication Critical patent/GB201010881D0/en
Publication of GB2481077A publication Critical patent/GB2481077A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60KARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PROPULSION UNITS OR OF TRANSMISSIONS IN VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PLURAL DIVERSE PRIME-MOVERS IN VEHICLES; AUXILIARY DRIVES FOR VEHICLES; INSTRUMENTATION OR DASHBOARDS FOR VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH COOLING, AIR INTAKE, GAS EXHAUST OR FUEL SUPPLY OF PROPULSION UNITS IN VEHICLES
    • B60K35/00Arrangement of adaptations of instruments
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60KARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PROPULSION UNITS OR OF TRANSMISSIONS IN VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PLURAL DIVERSE PRIME-MOVERS IN VEHICLES; AUXILIARY DRIVES FOR VEHICLES; INSTRUMENTATION OR DASHBOARDS FOR VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH COOLING, AIR INTAKE, GAS EXHAUST OR FUEL SUPPLY OF PROPULSION UNITS IN VEHICLES
    • B60K37/00Dashboards
    • B60K37/04Arrangement of fittings on dashboard
    • B60K37/06Arrangement of fittings on dashboard of controls, e.g. controls knobs
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60QARRANGEMENT OF SIGNALLING OR LIGHTING DEVICES, THE MOUNTING OR SUPPORTING THEREOF OR CIRCUITS THEREFOR, FOR VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60Q1/00Arrangements or adaptations of optical signalling or lighting devices
    • B60Q1/26Arrangements or adaptations of optical signalling or lighting devices the devices being primarily intended to indicate the vehicle, or parts thereof, or to give signals, to other traffic
    • B60Q1/2611Indicating devices mounted on the roof of the vehicle
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F13/00Interconnection of, or transfer of information or other signals between, memories, input/output devices or central processing units
    • G06F13/10Program control for peripheral devices
    • G06F13/12Program control for peripheral devices using hardware independent of the central processor, e.g. channel or peripheral processor
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F15/00Digital computers in general; Data processing equipment in general
    • G06F15/16Combinations of two or more digital computers each having at least an arithmetic unit, a program unit and a register, e.g. for a simultaneous processing of several programs
    • H05B47/155
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60KARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PROPULSION UNITS OR OF TRANSMISSIONS IN VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PLURAL DIVERSE PRIME-MOVERS IN VEHICLES; AUXILIARY DRIVES FOR VEHICLES; INSTRUMENTATION OR DASHBOARDS FOR VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH COOLING, AIR INTAKE, GAS EXHAUST OR FUEL SUPPLY OF PROPULSION UNITS IN VEHICLES
    • B60K2370/00Details of arrangements or adaptations of instruments specially adapted for vehicles, not covered by groups B60K35/00, B60K37/00
    • B60K2370/10Input devices or features thereof
    • B60K2370/12Input devices or input features
    • B60K2370/143Touch sensitive input devices
    • B60K2370/1438Touch screens
    • B60K2370/1442Emulation of input devices

Abstract

A dual processor may be used in a mobile system such as an emergency vehicle computer system 1 comprising, in a single unit or self contained module, a first processing system 2 arranged to run one or more applications for output to an external display unit; and a vehicle controller 7 comprising a second processing system programmed to control any one of the police, ambulance or fire vehicle's light, siren or display systems 9, 11, 13 in one of a plurality of predetermined modes independently of the first processing system in accordance with a respective control signal received from an external control module. Data input means, such as a touch screen may be integrated into the unit for user programming the output ports. The system may include removable disk drives and integral modems.

Description

Corn ruter System for Mobile Alications

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a computer system for mobile applications, and particularly, though not exclusively, a computer system for use in an emergency vehicle such as a police, ambulance or fire vehicle.

Backciround of the Invention Modern emergency vehicles, for example police cars, comprise in-situ computer systems providing a plurality of applications commonly employed by operators in the course of their duties. Applications running on the computer system may include a GPS navigation program, a digital radio, a license plate recognition program and video playback facilities utilising external cameras.

This list is non-exhaustive. Operation and display of said applications can be performed using a touch screen device mounted in the vehicle and which is connected to the computer system, usually stowed securely in the vehicle boot or trunk.

The sirens, beacons, strobe lighting and matrix displays provided on such vehicles are controlled by a physically separate unit. This separate unit comprises a control system providing power management and overload protection for external devices connected to this unit. The control system is operated by another dedicated user control unit installed in the vehicle, separate from the touch screen device associated with the main computer system.

A yet further separate communications unit may also be provided, the unit including one or more data transceivers, e.g. modems, enabling data reception and transmission.

The use of these separate units has disadvantages in terms of the space required to stow the various units in the vehicle, the leads required to interconnect the various units, and electromagnetic interference issues.

Programming, use and monitoring of the various separate units is usually performed via the main computer system, which requires the computer system to be booted up and functioning before the overall system becomes useful. If one wanted to monitor or program the controller associated with the vehicles lights, sirens or matrix display, for example, one must usually connect a keyboard to the main computer when it is operating.

Summary of the Invention

According to the invention, there is provided a computer system for use in mobile applications, for example in a vehicle, the computer system comprising, in a single unit, a first processing system arranged to run one or more applications for output to an external display system, a second processing system, and a plurality of programmable output ports for connection to respective external systems, wherein the second processing system is arranged to control data output from the programmable ports independently of the first processing system in response to control signals received from an input device.

The system provides a single unit incorporating two separate and independent processing systems, one associated with running applications, e.g. video playback applications, license plate recognition and verification applications, GPS navigation applications, and the other arranged to independently control programmable output ports. This reduces the overall footprint required to provide the combined functions and inevitably reduces the amount of cabling required and interference issues. The fact that the second processor operates independently of the first processor means that systems connected to the output ports, e.g. lights, sirens, matrix displays and other critical functions are not dependent on the first processor being booted up (as is inevitable as the applications will run on an operating system of some form) nor performance issues due to multiple applications being run on said first processor.

The two processing systems may of course interact, but they are independent in that the second processing system can operate simultaneously or on its own regardless of the state of the first processing system.

The system may further comprise data input means integrated onto or into the unit for user-programming the programmable output ports. In this way, no external device, such as a keyboard, needs to be connected to the unit.

The data input means may be a touch screen. The touch screen is preferably provided on external casing of the unit. The data input means, if in the form of a screen, is also able to provide output information, for example status data.

The computer system may further comprise means for receiving one or more removable disk drives.

The computer system may further comprise a plurality of integral modems.

According to a further aspect, there is provided a vehicular computer system comprising, in a single unit, a first processing system arranged to run one or more applications for output to an external display unit; and a vehicle controller comprising a second processing system programmable to control one or more external vehicle systems independently of the first processing system.

The system may further comprise data input means integrated onto or into the unit for user-programming the vehicular controller. The data input means may be a touch screen, for example a touch screen provided on external casing of the unit.

According to a further aspect, there is provided an emergency vehicle computer system comprising, in a single unit, a first processing system arranged to run one or more applications for output to an external display unit; and a vehicle controller comprising a second processing system programmed to control any one of the vehicle's light, siren or display systems in one of a plurality of predetermined modes independently of the first processing system in accordance with a respective control signal received from an external control module.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 is a perspective diagram of a single-unit computer system for use in a vehicle, such as a police car; Figure 2 is a block diagram showing the main functional units of the computer system shown in Figure 1, when connected to various input and output devices; Figure 3 is a block diagram showing the computer system in more detail; and Figures 4(a) and 4(b) are plan views of the front of a programmable display system shown in Figure 1, the latter showing an exemplary assignment of functions displayed thereon.

Detailed Description of a Preferred Embodiment

Referring to Figure 1, the preferred embodiment relates to a mobile data system. More especially it relates to a mobile data system in the form of a single self-contained device incorporating all electronic software and hardware required for controlling information systems associated a police vehicle and the like.

The apparatus comprises, in a single physical unit 1, a ruggedised mobile computer that provides possibly the most advanced mobile data platform in the world. The computer includes a 2.0GHz Celeron processor and a powerful Core 2 Quad 2.53GHz Extreme Processor.

The computer is fully solid state with the option of two removable solid state drives for greater performance, ease of service and reliability.

The unit 1 includes an electronic vehicle controller (EVC) and so requires no external fuses or an output device to connect to fully programmable power management outputs for lights & sirens, inputs for door, ignition, hand brakes and foot brake, can bus, light Bars, info I matrix signs, run lock. There is

S

therefore no need for individual cables to connect the computer to the EVC which comprises its own processor able to interact with, but independently from, the processor of the computer.

An in-built small touch screen is provided as an integral part of the unit 1 for input I output status information & configuration. Certain outputs can operate independently of the PC.

The direct connectivity with the industrial computer achieves faster more direct and more reliable HSDPA / 3G+ / GPS / WiFi Bluetooth in any combination of communication throughout the mobile data system.

The power provided by the computer allows customers instant access to multiple, processor-intensive applications like ANPR, DVR, Command and Control simultaneously without any performance degradation.

As can be seen in Figure 1, the mobile data system unit 1 comprises a single box-like module, self-contained within a portable shell or casing. The unit 1 provides a control to a number of different apparatus such as, for example, a printer within the vehicle, ANPR cameras, DVR cameras, a keyboard (that may be backlit), a finger print reader, a tetra radio, matrix sign, a light bar, and a touch screen.

The system specification is as follows

Processor: * 2.0 GHz Celeron 667 FSB, 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo 1066 FSB, 2.53 GHz Core 2 Quad 1066 FSB, 4GB RAM Ports: * 5 RS232 16 GIGABIT LAN /7 USB / eSATA Port / VGA and DVI Ports / 2 PS/2 Ports / Audio: Line in and Speaker Out Two solid state drives; Available in 40GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 51 2GB * Security controlled drives; Removable storage drive for easy upload I download * 4x DVR Channels! 4x ANPR Channels Communication: * lx GPS Engine! lx HSDPN3G+ Modem! lx WiFi Module! lx Bluetooth Module Inputs & Outputs: * 4x Programmable outputs at 30 Amps with volt free contacts * 20x Programmable outputs at 16 Amps which are high-sided * 12x Inputs (Door! Ignition! Foot! Hand Brake) * lx Analogue Input 0 -25 volts * lx Can Bus Interface * lx Fibre Optics Port (F-Box Expansion Port) * lx Multiplex Light Bar Interface * lx Info! Matrix Sign Interface * 2x Firmware programming ports Reference will now be made to Figure 2, which shows the unit 1 of Figure 1 when connected to external peripheral' devices located in or on the police vehicle. The main functional modules internal to the unit 1 are also shown.

The mobile data unit 1 comprises a PC 2 (referred to above as the computer) which provides the core processing capability for running an operating system (such as MS Vista or Windows 7) and a plurality of computer programs or applications for assisting police officers in the course of their duties. Such programs may include, for example, a digital radio, a GPS navigation system, an automatic number plate reader (ANPR) program, and a digital video recorder (DVR) program. This list is non-exhaustive. The PC 2 is comparable to the type provided by the applicant under the brand eMC1 or one of its derivatives, such a computer using anything ranging from a 2GHz Celeron processor to a Core 2 Quad 2.53 GHz Extreme processor in the current range. Memory and input/output capabilities are comparable with the more powerful PC5 available on the market, with input and output ports being controlled by the PC's 2 internal processor (not shown).

Also provided in the mobile data unit 1 is an integral EVC 7 which is an independent module arranged to control mission critical vehicle operations, i.e. independently of the PC 2, such as power management and control of lights, sirens, emergency lights (strobes, light bars), matrix display signs, audio and also takes vehicle inputs such as handbrake and door inputs.

Independence from the PC 2 is by virtue of the EVC 7 having its own processor (not shown) and memory. The EVC 7 is not reliant on the PC 2 and can function substantially immediately without having to wait for the operating system on the PC to boot up. The EVC 7 also provides full remote diagnostic capabilities of all the systems it controls.

The EVC 7 is connected to a set of physical ports 6 which are independent of the PC 2. In terms of outputs, these ports include 16 fully programmable outputs, volt free changeover contacts, high-sided fused and monitored outputs, a dedicated mobile computer power output, a dedicated power output for a touch screen controller, a proprietary configurable data port for expansion, a programmable intelligent interface to light bars and matrix signs, programmable voice storage and announcements, and an on-board PC audio speaker driver. Input ports include a dedicated handbrake, footbrake, ignition, door and 999 and arrive scene ports, am expandable fibre-optic port for special applications, and two battery feeds, one dedicated for electronics and one dedicated for loads.

In the embodiment shown in Figure 2, certain ones of the ports 6 are shown connected to external lights 9, sirens 11 and a display matrix 13, each of which is an electronic module fitted to the vehicle.

The programmable outputs of the EVC 7 can be configured by users to output control signals to external modules, such as the external lights 9, sirens 11 and display matrix 13 in response to predetermined inputs. For example, different predetermined combinations of lights can be displayed in accordance with a selected one of the inputs to the EVC 7 being enabled. For example, when a dedicated 999' input is received (this being an emergency condition) the EVC 7 can be programmed to cause all strobes (front and rear) and the roof light bar to be switched on. The siren may also be initiated. When a dedicated arrive scene' input is received (appropriate when the vehicle arrives at a scene following a 999 emergency condition) the EVC 7 can be programmed to cause the front strobes to be switched off whilst keeping the rear strobes and light bar operating to warn vehicles approaching the scene.

The siren is switched off in this mode.

Thus, the EVC 7 not only allows individual lights, sirens and other external indicating systems to be individually controlled, but also has programmable functionality to allow different combinations of said indicators to be initiated in response to a dedicated control signal. As will be explained below, control signals for the individual indicating systems and the programmable combinations are received from a PDS 3.

A touch screen 4 is provided as an integral part of the mobile data unit 1, the touch screen being an LED touch screen panel accessible from the exterior of the unit's casing, substantially flush on said casing. The touch screen 4 is connected to the EVC 7 and allows user programming of the EVC, including the programming and re-programming of the programmable outputs mentioned above. No separate input device need be connected to the mobile data unit 1, therefore. Status information can also be requested and monitored using the touch screen 4.

A communications module (CM) 5 is also provided within the mobile data unit 1. The CM 5 comprises one or more antenna or antenna feeds and one or more modems (e.g. GPRS, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth) enabling bidirectional wireless data transmission between the PC 1 and other modules, for example to upload status data to a police station or to download information for the radio application, the ANPR program or other information from a National Police Database (NPD). The CM 5 also comprises a GPS antenna and engine to provide data required by the GPS navigation program running on thePC2.

As also indicated in Figure 2, a number of further electronic systems 15 are connected to the PC 2, for example a printer, fingerprint reader and one or more cameras. These peripherals' are used by programs running on the PC 2. A first camera, for example, may be used to record video from the front of the vehicle, the video being stored on a hard drive of the PC 2 with the PVR application providing an interface enabling playback of the video to offending motorists or as evidence in subsequent proceedings. The video may also be fed to the ANPR program which uses image processing technology to identify license plates and access external databases through the CM 5 to identify the registered user and/or stolen vehicle reports.

Connected to the mobile data unit 1 is a programmable display system (PDS) 3, which is typically mounted in the interior of the vehicle, in or adjacent to the dashboard thereby enabling easy access by a police driver or front passenger. The arrangement of the PDS 3 and its functionality will be explained in greater detail below.

Referring now to Figure 3, a more detailed diagram of the functional components comprising the mobile data unit 1 are shown. The EVC 7 comprises an EVC processor 50 and input and output ports. The output ports comprise a programmable port module 51 which can be programmed via the processor 50 and takes control inputs therefrom which can be initiated externally. This programmable port module 51 is connected to a power management module 52, comprising power regulation electronics and fuses.

The power management module 52 is connected to the physical ports 53.

The input ports comprise a power management module 54 between the physical ports 55 and the EVC processor 50. The PC 2 comprises a PC processor 40 connected to memory 41, i.e. one or more hard drives storing programs thereon and RAM for running the programs. The PC processor 40 is connected to its own dedicated ports 42. The CM 5 is connected to both the EVC processor 50 and the PC processor 40 and has its own wired and/or wireless ports 61 enabling data communication with external devices via its modems. Control of programs on the PC 2 and the EVC 7 is made using the external PDS 3 via a port 70.

Referring to Figures 4(a) and 4(b), the PDS 3 is a single-unit module comprising a casing 21 housing a touch-screen 23 and, separate therefrom, a column of buttons or keys 25. In this case, six buttons are shown. Each of the buttons 25 is a physical button, similar to those provided on a conventional computer keyboard, requiring applied force to mechanically depress the button onto an underlying contact. Each button 25 includes, as part of its upper exposed surface, an OLED panel 26 for displaying the function assigned to that button. Each OLED panel 26 is connected to a driver which outputs the particular image or icon to be displayed in accordance with a programming operation.

As will be explained below, the functionality of the buttons 25 is re-programmable in use and hence the image or icon displayed by the buttons in use is also re-programmable, e.g. to display a different image or icon.

User programming of the functionality of the buttons 25 is handled by means of accessing a processor internal to the PDS 3 and which itself operates independently of the PC 2. This processor enables the buttons 25 to be assigned to a function associated with the PC 2, for example to initiate an application running on the PC, or, alternatively, to a function independent of the PC, for example to initiate a function operated by the EVC 7. The processor is infinitely re-programmable so that a button 25 currently assigned to control a PC 2 application can be subsequently re-programmed so that it is assigned to control an EVC 7 function, and vice-versa. Control signals are output from the processor via different buses or channels 27, 29, corresponding to, respectively, an EVC data bus and a PC data bus.

Figure 4(b) shows an example configuration of the PDS 3. The touch screen 23 shows a first level menu indicative of programs or applications running on PC 2. Each program has a corresponding icon displayed on the touch screen 23 and the corresponding program is initiated by means of a user touching the capacitive screen; said selection results in a corresponding control signal being sent via the PC data bus 29 to the PC 2. Output data resulting from the initiation of the selected program is received back over the PC data bus 29 and displayed on the touch screen 23, for example to show a graphical user interface (GUI) associated with the program and/or to show a sub-menu associated with the program.

It will be noted that a blank screen' icon is displayed on the touch screen 23.

This function results in the touch screen 23 displaying only approved applications whilst the vehicle is moving, although other mission-critical programs can run in the background. The GPS SatNav program is an example of an approved program that can be displayed safely whilst the vehicle is moving.

In this example configuration, the buttons 25 are programmed to provide a number of mission critical functions, namely (i) a emergency response' function, referred to hereafter as a 999 mode (ii) an arrive at scene' function, referred to hereafter as an ARR mode (iii) an LTS function, (iv) a GPS SatNav function, (v) a PNC function and (vi) an ANPR function.

As mentioned previously, the 999 and ARR modes correspond to different predetermined combinations of lights. For example, the 999 mode corresponds to all strobe (front and rear) and the roof light bar being switched on. The siren may also be initiated. The arrive scene' modes corresponds to the front strobes being switched off whilst keeping the rear strobes and light bar operating to warn vehicles approaching the scene. The siren is switched off in this mode. Rather than using the c 2 to control the lights and sirens when one of these modes is selected, it is the EVC 7 in the mobile unit 1 that is pre-programmed to initiate the appropriate combination in response to a control signal from the PDS 3. This is because the c 2 will take a finite, and often significant period of time to boot-up when the vehicle is initially switched on, and, further, its operation can also be affected by processor performance and the number of other applications running in parallel on said PC 2. The EVC 7 processor, which runs independently of the PC, can initiate the 999 and ARR modes immediately upon receiving the appropriate control signal from the PDS 3.

Thus, the first two buttons 31 of the PDS 3 are in this case programmed to send either a 999 control signal or an ARR control signal direct to the EVC 7, independently from the PC 2. The control signals in this case are transmitted through the EVC bus 27. The remaining four buttons 33 of the PDS 3 are programmed to send a control signal for initiating or controlling a respective application (LTS, NAV, PNC and AN PR) to the PC 2 via the PC bus 29.

The buttons 31, 33 are repeatedly re-programmable so that different or new functions can be assigned to buttons. For example, the 999 function could be moved from the uppermost button to the lowermost button. All that is required is for a user to reprogram the PDS 3.

As part of the programming and re-programming operation, the user is able to specify to the PDS 3 the image to be displayed on each OLED display 26.

The user may simply type-in a word or legend to be displayed, select one of a predetermined number of icons, or upload an image from an external computer system. In this case, simple text legends are used.

In response to selecting a particular function using one or more of the buttons 31, 33 the processor of the PDS 3 is arranged to indicate, by means of the OLED display 26, the or each function currently in operation. This may be by means of changing the colour of the image assigned to a button, underlining the image or causing it to flash. For example, if the 999 button is pressed to initiate the 999 mode via the EVC 7, the OLED display 26 for the 999 button may blink and continue to do so regardless of what other buttons are pressed or whichever other programs are being controlled via the touch screen 23. In a multitasking environment, this means that a clear and visible indication is continually given to the user as to which function(s) are in operation.

The PDS processor 41 is, in use, connected to the PC 1 and the EVC 7 using, respectively, the PC bus 29 and EVC bus 27 previously described.

Depending on which of the buttons 26 is pressed, the PDS processor 41 outputs a corresponding control signal either to the PC 1, or to the EVC 7 independently of the PC 1.

As well as enabling each individual one of the buttons 25 to be assigned to a particular function, the PDS 3 also enables combinations of buttons to be assigned to additional functions. This means that the number of functions is not limited to the number of buttons 25. In one case, pushing two or more buttons simultaneously can be interpreted by the PDS processor as a different function; for example pushing the PNC and ANPR buttons simultaneously may be used to control the brightness of the screen or the volume of the audio output. In another case, pushing a plurality of buttons in a predetermined sequence may be assigned to another function; for example, pushing the ANPR button, followed in quick succession by the PNC button can be assigned to power-down the PDS 3.

In addition, when one of the buttons 25 is selected, the PDS 3 may be configured to assign one or more sub-options to the buttons. Thus, if for example, the 999 button is pushed, the current button assignments shown in Figure 2(b) may change to show different selectable options relevant to the 999 mode, perhaps enabling one of the predetermined combination of lights operated by the EVC 7 to be manually turned off. The current sub-menu may be exited automatically after a predetermined period of time or in response to an exit' function assigned to one of the buttons in the sub-menu. The previous next level up' menu is then displayed again.

Programming and re-programming of the PDS processor is performed either by connecting a computer, e.g. an external laptop, to a PDS interface over the wired or wireless link. An application providing a GUI allowing assignment of the buttons 25 to particular functions and for specifying the legend, image or image upload to be displayed on the OLED screen 26 of a button can be pre-stored on memory or provided as a separate application for use on the external computer.

In a further embodiment, the buttons 25 are provided in the form of a touch-sensitive buttons rather than physical buttons requiring mechanical displacement to cause selection. A separate touch screen may be provided for displaying individual buttons, i.e. distinct from the main touch screen 23.

Claims (11)

  1. CLAIMS1. A computer system for use in mobile applications, for example in a vehicle, the computer system comprising, in a single unit or self-contained module, a first processing system arranged to run one or more applications for output to an external display system, a second processing system, and a plurality of programmable output ports for connection to respective external systems, wherein the second processing system is arranged to control data output from the programmable ports independently of the first processing system in response to control signals received from an input device.
  2. 2. A computer system according to claim 1, further comprising data input means integrated onto or into the unit for user-programming the programmable output ports
  3. 3. A computer system according to claim 2, in which the data input is a touch screen.
  4. 4. A computer system according to claim 3, in which the touch screen is provided on external casing of the unit.
  5. 5. A computer system according to any preceding claim, further comprising means for receiving one or more removable disk drives.
  6. 6. A computer system according to any preceding claim, further comprising a plurality of integral moderns.
  7. 7. A vehicular computer system comprising, in a single unit, a first processing system arranged to run one or more applications for output to an external display unit; and a vehicle controller comprising a second processing system programmable to control one or more external vehicle systems independently of the first processing system.
  8. 8. A system according to claim 7, further comprising data input means integrated onto or into the unit for user-programming the vehicular controller.
  9. 9. A system according to claim 8, in which the data input means is a touch screen.
  10. 10. A system according to claim 9, in which the touch screen is provided on external casing of the unit.
  11. 11. An emergency vehicle computer system comprising, in a single unit or self-contained module, a first processing system arranged to run one or more applications for output to an external display unit; and a vehicle controller comprising a second processing system programmed to control any one of the vehicle's light, siren or display systems in one of a plurality of predetermined modes independently of the first processing system in accordance with a respective control signal received from an external control module.
GB1010881.9A 2010-06-07 2010-06-29 Dual processor for Mobile Applications Withdrawn GB2481077A (en)

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GBGB1009478.7A GB201009478D0 (en) 2010-06-07 2010-06-07 Mobile data system

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PCT/GB2011/000852 WO2011154691A1 (en) 2010-06-07 2011-06-07 Computer system for an emergency vehicle

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GB2481077A true GB2481077A (en) 2011-12-14

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