Motorola Solutions headquarters in Melbourne is home to a specialist vehicle installation team. From emergency services vehicles to roadside assist vans, the skills of this team ensure that all installations are safe, compliant and fully functional.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it
Imagine this day in the office. You need to install a data terminal into a vehicle. No problem – just attach it to the dashboard with a bracket from your local auto store and away you go. If only it was so easy!
Now imagine you must design the installation to meet occupational health and safety (OH&S) requirements which consider the vehicle a workplace. You must guarantee the safety of the driver, even in a high speed accident where the terminal could detach from the dashboard and injure the occupants if not installed correctly. To achieve this, the terminal installation must pass a stress test under Australian Standard 4535, that is, a 20g-force – which could be up to 100 kilograms of weight – applied without the terminal being ripped off. Peripheral items such as keyboards must be sufficiently tethered so they don’t fly around the cabin and strike its occupants. Failure to do so may open you up to liability if an occupant is injured by your equipment.
Australian Design Rules (ADR) also need to be considered so that, for example, the airbag is not compromised by the position of the terminal, thereby endangering the driver or passenger. Any component used in the “head impact zone” – right down to the types of fasteners – must comply with ADR. You must bear in mind that the head impact zone comprises a significant part of the driver side but the driver must still be able to reach the terminal easily.
You also need to ensure that:
- Sufficient power drives the terminal at all times, which is increasingly difficult with the rising number of devices and features also using power in any modern car.
- Custom-made brackets, covers or fascias, if required, must meet all safety standards and be professionally finished.
- If your vehicle is an emergency vehicle, service or repair to the terminal can be performed anywhere in the event of an incident, within stringent key performance indicators.
- The budget isn’t blown on unforeseen complications.
- The terminal can be removed or replaced without damage to the terminal or the vehicle.
Oh, and you need to do all this with minimal alterations to the vehicle’s body or trim, as the customer will resell the vehicle after use.
Got all that? Good. Because tomorrow you will do it all again. On a boat!
Fortunately, this work is the bread and butter of Motorola Solution’s Vehicle Installation team. The team has performed thousands of installations for customers as diverse as the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), SA Ambulance Service and Victorian Police. They have performed them on vehicles, buses, motorbikes, trucks, boats, mining vehicles, road plants and, in the near future, aeroplanes.
For each design for each type of vehicle, CAD designs are created to ensure the design meets ADR, OH&S and Australian Standards, as well as the customer’s unique requirements. For example, Motorola Solutions worked with Victorian Ambulance and Mercedes-Benz to customise their mobile data terminals throughout various changes.
“We had to move the screen from the roof to improve the ergonomics. Mercedes-Benz changed models so we took the opportunity to integrate the screen into the dashboard,” says Daniel Petrotta, logistics supervisor at Ambulance Victoria. “We were unable to mount the screen on the usual tilt bracket as it would impede the deployment of airbags. Motorola worked with Mercedes Benz to create CAD drawings, understand the available zone and come back with a solution for an integrated screen, and again after a product change. Looking at it, you wouldn’t know it was an add-in as it’s so professionally integrated.”
The design of each installation, once approved by the customer, guides the installation team in the process of actually installing the equipment. Motorola Solutions has undertaken a dedicated process over the years of developing people to provide installation solutions and designs that comply with stringent standards, often in vehicles that do not readily lend themselves to the installation of non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) equipment. It’s a unique combination, as they need to have the skills of panel beaters along with the finesse of electrical and electronic technicians.
Twice a month, two cars are randomly chose, pulled apart and audited for compliance with all safety and design requirements. The reporting system for faults shows a consistent reduction in faults year-on-year.
An independent engineering company provides certificates of ADR compliance, such as performing airbag or stress testing. In some cases, each vehicle type required by the customer achieves certification. In other circumstances a certified generic design is deployed.
What’s in it for the customer?
For a fleet manager, they can be confident that they have done everything possible to guarantee the safety of their workers.
Says one emergency services customer: “The health, safety and wellbeing of every one of our members is paramount. Motorola considers all ADR and OH&S requirements when designing the installation, which is a critical component. The collaborative approach between Motorola, the vehicle industry and us means that we can balance the best operational location of equipment with member safety. And each vehicle type is addressed on a case-by-case basis – it’s not ‘one size fits all’. Finally, at the end of the process, Motorola does the risk assessment, and therefore mitigates the risk for us as the customer.”
By ROLF ULONSKA
Manager of Subscriber
Operations Managed Services, Motorola