Volvo Trucks North America says unparalleled driver visibility and innovative design ideas are seamlessly integrated with advanced safety technologies for Class 8 trucks in a one-quarter-scale model truck concept that was on display this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Volvo concept is part of the Michelin Challenge Design competition.
“All of our vehicle designs begin with Volvo’s dedication to its core values of safety, quality and environmental care,” says Ruben Perfetti, director of design for Volvo Trucks North America. “Whether a design is intended for large-scale production or developed as a future concept, it must be a true Volvo in its design, as well as in its approach to transportation and society.”
According to Volvo, the “BeeVan” concept truck puts the driver front and center in the truck’s cab, instead of the traditional left-side position, in what Volvo’s designers call the FVDP – Full-View Driver Position. FVDP has more than 180 degrees of uninterrupted visibility, as the huge windshield arcs around the driver, while remote vision cameras eliminate blindspots. Dual armrest consoles place an array of other advanced technologies literally at the driver’s fingertips, including lane tracking, vehicle proximity sensors and driver drowsiness detectors.
The advanced design concept begins even before the driver enters the vehicle, as the door slides back – and not out into traffic – and hidden access steps slide out to “greet” the driver. The steps retract when not in use for security, safety and aerodynamic efficiency. Opening the door also causes the driver’s seat to move rearward and rotate toward the driver for easy access.
Once inside the cab, innovative materials are used to support, refresh and insulate the driver from the outside environment, and to promote effective work and rest. The cab includes sleeper berths, a dinette table and other versatile components to combine office, relaxation, dining, personal storage and sleeping functions.
The windshield is the backdrop for another design idea combining aerodynamics and improved engine efficiency. Engine cooling is enhanced by positioning two radiators at the base of the A-pillar/dash transitions. Air is directed from the wraparound grille, routed through the radiators and exits via the roof. This means the heat transferred from the radiator to the air is never in contact with the engine, for increased cooling efficiency. Plus, the engine benefits from direct airflow through the traditional grille opening for additional cooling and reduced drag.