Electronic On-Board Recorder Prototype

Over the last several years, Ben Inkster has done a number of projects for Eluminor. In 2011, he built an offline reverse geocoding mobile app for them. Since then, Ben has built several versions of the Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) Prototype.

Ben Inkster was a part of the team of developers that created the original EOBR system using PC-104 single board computers and modules. The system was based on a custom embedded linux OS, off the shelf PC-104 modules and a custom housing. The software included an internal interchange system to handle data from the truck’s engine (over the J1708 bus), network data, cellular communications, Mobileye video data, biometric driver authentication data and details from the user interface.

Eluminor biometric authentication system

A decision was made to shift the main focus of the system from the embedded system mounted in the truck to Android based mobile devices. It simplified the system architecture and allowed for easier distributed data processing (each driver’s mobile device could process his/her data). As a result of this decision, the EOBR physically mounted in the truck could become significantly simpler.

The next version of the EOBR was designed to pull simple data from the truck’s engine and stream a filtered version of that data over bluetooth to the Android device. This system was based on the Arduino prototyping platform with an STN1100 programmed microcontroller to process CAN and J1939 data. Ben and one other programmer created this version of the EOBR and for simple data it worked very well.

Eluminor Arduino EOBR Prototype

However, the team found that the Arduino simply did not have enough processing power to handle the total amount of data that the Android device required. Small things like engine idle time, throttle position and gas mileage worked very well. Current status of every sensor in the engine in realtime overwhelmed this prototype.

The next (and current) version of the EOBR uses the RaspberryPi as the base platform using the Raspbian linux distro as the OS. This version has been much easier to construct and build (thus far requiring a team of one). Ben Inkster built this most recent version based on the lessons learned from the previous iterations. The connection to the trucks communication bus is built on the MCP2515 SPI controller and the MCP2551 transceiver. This allows for communication over bluetooth at the full 250KB/Second speed of the truck’s communication bus. This system is currently in test and looks to be just what the doctor ordered for the overall Eluminor project.

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