April 10, 2007 Unparalleled driver visibility and innovative design ideas are combined with advanced safety technologies for Class 8 trucks in a one-quarter-scale model truck concept from Volvo Trucks North America. The concept was shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, and is part of the Michelin Challenge Design competition.
With safety the primary consideration, the “BeeVan” concept truck puts the driver front and centre 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 provides the driver with more than 180 degrees of uninterrupted visibility, as the huge windscreen arcs around the canopy, while remote vision cameras eliminate blind spots. 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 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 dramatic windscreen is the backdrop for another bold 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, 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.