Smart Vehicle Gateway
Ambulance Mobile Communications Hub
Thorcom's Mobilize® Smart Vehicle Gateway forms the heart of ambulance mobile communications by providing an "all in one box" communications hub for mobile data, job despatch, vehicle location, IP routing, vehicle telemetry and other communications services
The Smart Vehicle Gateway is a communications hub based on Thorcom's VR2200 vehicle router that provides a wide range of services to the vehicle, equipment and systems including:
- Communications over dual 2G/3G/4G networks including ESN
- Vehicle Area Network (LAN network in and around the vehicle)
- WiFi access hot-spot
- Vehicle telemetry (digital inputs and CANbus)
- Dual resilient power supplies and power management
- IP routing services
- Ability to add a second mobile data terminal in the rear of the vehicle
- Ability to add ePCR and other solutions later
All In One Mobile Solution
The Smart Vehicle Gateway is at the heart of Thorcom's modular solution for critical ambulance users as it meets all of the wide area and local area vehicle data communications requirements in a single box. It also provides a range of vital application services, provides an easy migration path from legacy bearers, and is flexible enough to support future developments too.
Wireless Wide Area Network Communications
Critical mobilisation systems demand very high levels of Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) communications performance if they are to meet end user expectations. These requirements are even beyond those available even from dedicated 4G/LTE networks with enhanced coverage and priority such as the Emergency Services Network (ESN).
In order to reach this performance level, a second wide area network service is required to run in parallel with the primary bearer. By maintaining simultaneous connectivity and routing traffic over either or both networks, the Smart Vehicle Gateway provides a combined WWAN service level that meets or exceeds the requirements, especially in terms of cost, latency and reliability.
Local Area Network Communications
In order to access the benefits of the Smart Vehicle Gateway wide area network service, devices in and around the vehicle can connect using a Gigabit Ethernet wired Vehicle Area Network (VAN), or the integrated Wireless Access Point acting as a vehicle WiFi 'hot-spot'. To maximise reliability, and where the user device is a Thorcom Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) fixed in the front of the vehicle, a wired Ethernet connection is recommended.
The VAN allows additional user devices to be added at any time such as a second MDT, electronic Patient Care Record (ePCR) systems and non-critical medical applications such as electronic notebooks, care guidance notes, training and general communications applications such as personal email.
Demountable user devices, for instance ePCR on a Tablet, or personal hand portable devices can still take advantage of the Smart Vehicle Gateway by using the WiFi service which is capable of providing a secure and reliable service in excess of 100m from the vehicle.
Data Optimisation and Security
The Smart Vehicle Gateway is able to provide a range of specialist communications services to optimise the solution and provide seamless integration. These additional services include low and high level protocol conversion, data compression and encryption, caching and access control which enables all the individual vehicle components and wireless services to work together properly and produce an optimised and secure end result. Further security features include tamper detect of antennas and the unit itself and secure storage of key material.
Resource Location and Satellite Navigation
The Smart Vehicle Gateway incorporates a class-leading GPS receiver capable of determining location to within 2-3m accuracy. This allows the Smart Vehicle Gateway to provide location services to other devices in the vehicle, for instance accurate Auto Arrival Status messages, as well as vehicle based Automatic Resource Location (ARL) updates to control.
Vehicle ARL updates will be sent even if the end-user equipment is not in use or faulty, hence the vehicle is tracked even when non-operational, for instance during vehicle service or if the vehicle is stolen. Smart Vehicle Gateway also provides a connection point and software driver to permit a Sat Nav unit to be easily interfaced to the system and installed alongside the MDT as an option.
Vehicle and Driver Telematics
The Smart Vehicle Gateway includes CANbus interfaces which allows it to report vehicle diagnostics, fuel levels and odometer readings to the centre for Fleet Management use. It can also interface to other general vehicle systems, and emergency service specific systems including power management and blue light control systems to provide a fully integrated vehicle control and information solution.
With its built-in high resolution accelerometer, the Smart Vehicle Gateway can also provide the driver and Control with information on the driver's behaviour. This includes rapid acceleration, harsh braking and cornering, in combination with vehicle speed, location, telemetry and incident status.
Via an optional software module, the Smart Vehicle Gateway also provides an Incident Data Recorder (IDR) capability, which when combined with Thorcom's TAnalyst software can produce evidence for collision investigation purposes.
High performance mobilisation and communications systems require an equally high performance vehicle power supply which is a major challenge for vehicle operators, especially emergency service vehicles where power demands can outstrip the supply. Although Smart Vehicle Gateway requires less power than previous generation products, it incorporates Thorcom's latest power management features to maximise performance and communicate with both the vehicle user and control room on power performance.
Thorcom's power management software monitors the power inputs and vehicle telemetry inputs such as vehicle ignition state, 'on charge' and 'shoreline connected' and provides action prompts via the network to local users via the MDT and sends messages to control and fleet management users to ensure that vehicle power is managed appropriately.
A fully integrated high performance vehicle based solution also requires the Smart Vehicle Gateway to provide application specific services alongside reliable communications services. These services include intelligent mobile workgroup management according to the status of the crew and incident, Crew Alerting to important vehicle based events such as alarms and reminders, and application synchronisation services across multiple devices attached to the same workgroup.