Driving process improvement in the automotive industry with rugged devices

Rick Cooper

Sep 5, 2022

6 min read

The automotive sector is one of the largest industries in the world by revenue. When there is so much money involved, the consumers of this sector are bound to expect quality and reliability. One way for automakers to make sure the quality of their products meets consumer demand is by implementing smart factory technologies.

Disruptive technology-driven trends in the automobile industry, including mobility, self-driving, electrification, and IoT, are being pushed by digitization and rising automation. Most industry executives and analysts concur that these developments will strengthen and hasten disruption.

About Rugged devices

Rugged devices are designed to withstand harsher environmental conditions than typical consumer electronics. They are often used in industrial or outdoor settings where they may be exposed to moisture, dust, extreme temperatures, and other hazardous elements.

There are several reasons why businesses might choose to deploy rugged devices rather than traditional consumer electronics. First, rugged devices are typically more durable and can withstand more wear and tear. This makes them ideal for use in harsh environments where they may be exposed to physical abuse or accidental damage.

Second, rugged devices typically have longer lifespans than traditional consumer electronics. This means that businesses can save money in the long run by not having to replace them as often. And finally, rugged devices are typically more secure and can be locked down to prevent unauthorized access. This makes them ideal for use in sensitive or confidential environments.

1. The importance of Rugged Devices in the automotive industry

The benefits of Rugged Devices are evident in the automotive industry as they help maintain efficiency while ensuring safety is not compromised. Rugged Devices play a crucial role in the ever-changing landscape of the automotive industry. They do this by providing efficient and reliable processes that improve safety.

In general, factories have extremely harsh conditions for operation where standard technology would fail. Rugged tablets are built to survive drops, shocks, spills, vibration, dust, as well as the oil and grease common on factory floors, making them ideal for the demanding automotive sector. Due to the strict international criteria for mobility and severe handling, rugged laptops and tablets should ideally be MIL-STD 810H and IP67 certified. These certifications are given to devices after conducting multiple tests on the devices and ensuring they last in the harsh environments that they are designed to work in.

To satisfy the requirements of automobile manufacturers and vendors, rugged tablets are fitted with cutting-edge automotive solutions to enable precise diagnostics.

Rugged devices should be created as a tool with a specific purpose and a variety of configurable features to meet your workflow. For instance, a rugged laptop with integrated parts like the Offboard Diagnostic Information System Service and the Diagnostic Interface will enable effective vehicle diagnostics. Users could do inspections, tests, and data collection by being able to link to a variety of equipment and sensors on the assembly line.

2. How Rugged Devices help improve the automotive industry

Rugged devices can be found at every step of the manufacturing and testing processes in the automotive industry. They bring about significant changes in the structural processes.

Digital technologies like automation, seamless connectivity and personalization are propelling the automotive industry forward. These modifications influence the decisions of automakers at many levels inside and outside the ecosystem.

Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are actively used in predictive maintenance to assist fleet managers, car dealers, and service facilities in anticipating vehicle difficulties. Technology advancements are affecting changes that are upending the automotive industry’s old procedures. Rugged devices are enabling these changes and are critical for the automotive industry’s future.

3. Rugged Devices and their impact on safety in the automotive industry

Rugged devices ensure safe and effective manufacturing and testing of cars. A large amount of data is collected through these devices. Therefore, it is important to protect this data making device safety crucial in the automobile sector.

  • The automotive industry needs rugged electronics due to their durability and long lifespan. This indicates that by not having to replace them as frequently, firms might save money over time. In addition to being more secure, rugged devices can be shut down to block illegal access. They are therefore perfect for usage in private settings.
  • In the automobile sector, the advantages of rugged devices are clear as they support efficient maintenance without compromising safety. For eg. Few cars have rollover detection systems, and automakers are using this technology for vans, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles, which have a greater center of gravity and are more likely to flip over. To assess whether the vehicle is toppling over, these systems analyze the roll angle and roll rate of the vehicle. If so, the mechanism deploys the airbags to safeguard the passengers.
  • Towing the vehicle away is one of the most common methods of car theft. Numerous automakers are implementing antitheft systems with tilt detection systems in response to this issue. Accepted tilt detection systems must be able to measure an inclination shift in accordance with pan-European criteria and enable lock and send information to the owner.

How does Hexnode help manage rugged devices in the automotive industry?

Hexnode provides a unified platform to manage all your rugged devices from a central location. It helps you control and monitor the devices, applications, and content

Hexnode’s integration offers support to most rugged device OEM’s in the market making it an easier decision.

Centralized management: Hexnode lets you manage all your rugged devices from a central console. This makes it easy to deploy and update apps, enforce security policies, and monitor devices. Admins can also retrieve information from a centralized location.

Device restrictions: You can restrict access to certain features of the device, such as the camera or microphone. This helps you prevent users from accessing sensitive data or from using the device for unauthorized purposes. Restrictions like this also help increase product life and improve speed, as any apps that take up unnecessary computing power are restricted. This is an important addition to the devices in the automotive industry.

Content management: Hexnode lets you manage the content on rugged devices. You can deploy content remotely, restrict access to certain types of content, and schedule content updates.

Security management: Hexnode offers a host of security features, and you can remotely enforce security policies like locking or wiping devices in case of theft or loss.

Device monitoring: You can track the device location, battery life, network connectivity and other device-related stats on the Hexnode portal.

Application management: Hexnode lets you deploy and manage apps. You can also control which app features are accessible to users and set up app restrictions.

Kiosk management: Hexnode’s kiosk mode lets you lock down devices into a single or multiple app mode. This helps you ensure that users can only access the apps that you want them to use.


The automotive industry is an ever-changing field with a big shift towards electric coming up. Data analysis from existing structures is the fastest way to drive new developments, and rugged devices play an important role in collecting this data. Tools like Hexnode make it easier to manage rugged devices.

Rick Cooper

Product Evangelist @ Hexnode. Millennial by age. Boomer by heart.

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