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Development of the interior of Scania cabs

Take a peek inside the cab of a Scania truck from the 1950s and you realise how much the driver experience has developed. Anna Selmarker, Scania’s head of vehicle ergonomics, takes us through the dashboard revolution, decade by decade.

1950s

“Beautiful but not very practical. The dash is mainly of a bright metal, which looks nice, but would have created quite a glare in sunny conditions. The dials are ringed with chrome; that’s a classic touch, and something we use for inspiration today. And the steering wheel, although not comfortable for long journeys, is beautiful. The instrument panel is vertical, like today’s trucks.”

1960s

“A major change here is the flat wheel and instrument panel. But like in the 1950s, the buttons are small and unmarked, so you had to learn what they did, not rely on the symbols we use today. The seat has no suspension, and the steering column is non-adjustable, so long journeys would have been uncomfortable.”

1970s

“Longer and longer journeys meant that you can see the beginning of the driver comforts that we see today. The dash makes use of soft, black plastics for more of a luxury feel and some impact protection. The buttons are larger and use symbols to indicate their function. Centre consoles start making an appearance. These are great for storage for the driver, but not so good for allowing movement around the cab.”

1980s

“We are really seeing big changes here, especially with the introduction of the 3-series; that was when we first introduced the Scania sweep, the curved dashboard that we are famous for. There is a lot more luxury, too, with more supportive seats, adjustable steering column and lots more soft plastics.”

1990s

“Like the ’80s, the sweeping, more vertical dash remains, making it easier and more comfortable to access the ever-growing range of function buttons. The dash and instruments are very clearly laid out and easily navigable. The centre console is still there, though, making backward and sideward movement difficult.”

Today

“This is the ultimate in luxury and comfort. There’s lots of textile and soft-touch plastic which makes for a pleasant driving environment. The sweeping dashboard keeps everything in range, and there are even two small horizontal ledges to guide and steady your hand when you reach around the dash. Everything is clearly marked and many important functions are actually built into the steering wheel. The seats are like armchairs, with optimal adjustment, air suspension and integrated seatbelts for added comfort.”