Keeping rubber on the road in Automotive Field Repair Services

There is incredible innovation in the automotive world but the whole system can grind to a halt if vehicles have to go off the road for repairs. We look at some of the innovations in remote in-field repair that keeps the rubber on the road.

written by: Dirk Weigelt, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK


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In today’s interconnected and technology-centric world, vehicles still make the world go around, literally. Notwithstanding the 6.4 million medium and heavy commercial vehicles in operation as of 2023, there are millions of agricultural vehicles, construction vehicles, oil tankers, and refrigerated vehicles on – and off – European roads. 

And they’re playing a bigger part in the global supply chain than we think. In 2022, the total weight of EU road freight transport reached 13.6 billion tonnes. Whether it was transporting food from farm to fork, or Christmas toys to stores, road freight has a significant societal impact.

However, businesses are only as strong as their weakest link. Regardless of the state-of-the-art connectivity, GPS, and crash detection technology that’s being used in today’s modern commercial vehicles, mechanical problems do occur. If vehicles are not repaired in the field and quickly sent on their way as soon as possible, this can quickly undo other supply chain efficiencies.


Rising to the Challenge

Performing in-field diagnostics and servicing on vehicles used in agriculture, construction, and haulage introduces a range of situational and technological challenges. Panasonic has developed the TOUGHBOOK 40 to help repairs to be quickly identified, diagnosed, and fixed, in any environment. 


  • Unforgiving environments: Unplanned vehicle servicing typically takes place in outdoor environments and often with unfavourable weather conditions from bright sunlight to snow blizzards. The TOUGHBOOK 40 is built for the outdoors, with IP66 water and dust resistance, MIL-STD-810H 180cm drop resistance, daylight viewable touch screens that can still operate effectively in the rain and in a wide temperature range of -29°C to +63°C.


  • Diagnostics: Physical interfaces and connections vary from vehicle to vehicle, while multiple specialist diagnostic programmes are needed, each requiring high-processing power. 


  • Connectivity: Vehicles requiring in-field servicing and maintenance are typically beyond the range of WiFi networks or hardwire Ethernet connections.

The TOUGHBOOK 40 ensures that access to critical diagnostic information and schematics are still available wherever the vehicle is located thanks to built-in           support for 4G, and 5G networks, including full private network support.


  • Future-proof usability: With vehicle specifications rapidly changing and diagnostic applications developing quickly, engineers need a device that has the power to cope with the latest requirements, alongside usability. The TOUGHBOOK 40 comes with expansion areas to enable organisations to modify the device to meet future needs. A full keyboard and ecosystem of carry straps, docks and cradles and a battery life of up to 18 hours makes the device easy to use for long periods in any location. 

The TOUGHBOOK Difference

Packing the full power of Windows 11 Pro into a rugged device built to withstand the harshest working conditions, the TOUGHBOOK 40 is the result of over 25 years of engineering innovation.

Serving as the ideal companion for demanding automotive field service tasks in physically challenging environments – whilst seamlessly integrating with an organisation’s wider IT infrastructure – the TOUGHBOOK 40 is fortified with military-grade encryption and multi-user authentication. 

With constant time pressures necessitating a rugged device that will perform in any conditions, without any fear of device failure or downtime, the TOUGHBOOK 40 is the ideal partner in enhancing frontline service and maintenance efficiency, while reducing the expenses associated with frequent device replacements.

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