A film antenna package developed by Hirschmann Car Communication Inc. that removes bulky cab and roof antennas atop commercial trucks is being tested by Freightliner.
The package would mean antennas will no longer cause air resistance in heavy-duty trucks and would spell an end to damage caused to antennas during normal operations. This solution is part of an efficiency concept by Freightliner aimed at making trucks more environmentally friendly and easier to maintain.
Hirschmann’s film antenna package can be integrated in the body of the tractor unit at the factory, and because of its compact and flexible design, Freightliner has complete freedom when designing the vehicle’s exterior.
The integrated system provides optimum aerodynamics in commercial vehicles, reducing fuel consumption and cutting down costs associated with service, spare parts and downtime. Hirschmann claims nearly 20 percent of a fleet’s conventional rod antennas have to be replaced within a year due to damage during operation. But the film antenna system requires no external components and achieves the best transmission and reception quality for CB radio, AM/FM stations and weather information radio channels.
The antennas are adapted to the available installation space, fitting between the structural body panels and the interior lining of the cab. And they can’t be seen from inside or outside the truck. Hirschmann Car Communications Inc. supplies the easy-to-install package, which includes antennas, connectors and coaxial cables.
The collaboration with Freightliner began five years ago, according to a Hirschmann press release. After developing and testing, the prototype was featured on Freightliner’s aerodynamically optimized Innovation Truck in 2009. The concept led to the development of the new model — the Cascadia Evolution — which was launched in January 2013.
“Freightliner is moving in the direction of trucks with optimal aerodynamics — from redesigned fairings and underbody panels to reduction of external components such as exposed exhaust pipes or radio antennas,” said Oliver Neil, Hirschmann’s vice president of sales and marketing.
“Large trucks in North America used to have many bulky antennas on the roof, fenders and mirrors. We now offer a system that enables our customer to develop the aerodynamic design without having to worry about the antennas. It is one of the first innovative components of the concept vehicle that went into series production,” added Neil.