A modern, safe way of working
Apps for the TACTIC mobile motorway signaling
The TACTIC is a mobile traffic information system made by TTI Partners. When designing the TACTIC, this automotive joint venture had various key principles in mind, with safety, ease of use and flexibility taking a particularly high priority.
When TTI Partners decided to work with us to develop the corresponding operating application that would enshrine the same principles, we were very excited to be involved.
When a dangerous traffic situation arises, traffic assistance vehicles are used to warn road users about possible dangers. Inattention sometimes leads to accidents involving road users and these assistance vehicles.
With the new application, it would be possible to operate the TACTIC either from the vehicle’s dashboard or from a safe distance away behind the crash barrier. This would make it much safer for the drivers of these assistance vehicles to do their job.
- UX- en UI-design
- Wireless control of the TACTIC
- Native iOS and Android applications
Interfacing with a newly-developed device always presents an interesting challenge, particularly when the device can be controlled using software to move and implement complex scenarios.
As the TACTIC is used in complex, critical traffic situations, ensuring the reliability of the application was very important. The software needed to undergo thorough testing in the field.
Controlling the hardware on the TACTIC was also a challenge. For example, it needed to be possible, using the app, to fold the device open, turn it 45° to each side and close it again. This needed to take place by controlling actuators and reading signals from sensors. The 360° optical signage (e.g. rotating beacons) and the matrix sign also needed to be able to be operated from the application.
Operating the TACTIC
Symbols can be selected in the application to be displayed on the TACTIC’s matrix sign. These symbols are used to provide information to road users, for example about roadworks or an accident.
The matrix sign can also display a text entered by the operator. The driver of the assistance vehicle sets the text in the input field in the application. The application is also used to control the optical signage, such as rotating beacons and flashing lights.
Using the convenient export feature, a fleet manager can transfer all buttons that have been preset and configured from one mobile device to another with ease.
Opening, turning and closing
Smart communication with the hardware means the TACTIC can be folded open, turned 45° to each side and folded in again from the application, just by pushing a few buttons.
Actuators on the device push the matrix sign up and bring it into position, with sensors providing the linked app with continuous feedback on the exact position of the sign. The cover on the TACTIC doesn’t just protect the device in bad weather conditions, it also means you can drive at up to 130 kph with an active matrix sign.
For a flexible and convenient UX we have added a feature allowing scenarios to be preset. This means you can push a single button to (1) fold open the TACTIC, (2) start the optical signage flashing and (3) display preset symbols on the matrix sign.
The entire scenario consists of various presettable steps, so that immediate action can be taken by pushing a single button when an urgent situation arises on the road.
Communication protocol for iOS
Disperanto, the protocol for communication with the TACTIC’s matrix sign only had a public library for Java. The same applied to the chips that we used to control the relays for the actuators. As we were going to develop an iOS version of the application, it was necessary to write Swift implementations of these two protocols as well.
For use in the iOS app we created our own libraries in Swift for the use of both protocols. The library for controlling the relays is even open source, enabling others in the development community to use it.
The product team at TTI Partners works closely with our specialists to ensure we achieve the best possible development.
The product owner at TTI Partners conducts detailed field tests for each development iteration to increase reliability. The well-thought-out agile development process means we keep iterating to produce better software, so by working together we make providing information to road users much safer for both traffic assistance workers and road users.
The TACTIC is used internationally to improve safety on our roads. If you are also interested in enriching an innovative product with native applications then get in touch with Joris to discuss your plans.