During the development of Scania’s completely new dashboard, the company’s designers drew inspiration from the aviation industry in a bid to improve functionality and user-friendliness for drivers. With this in mind, we let a commercial airline pilot test Scania’s new ‘cockpit’.
The dashboard in Scania’s new generation of trucks provides drivers with a whole new level of functionality and user-friendliness. Developments in the aviation industry were studied as part of the process of further improving the interaction between the driver and the truck.
“The guiding principle of our work with the new generation of trucks has been that Scania drivers should always be able to say that they perform best because they have vehicles that support them in the best and most efficient way,” says Anna Selmarker who is leading Scania’s work within Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) – the digital interaction between the driver and the truck.
The aviation industry is home to significant HMI expertise, something that Selmarker and her colleagues at Scania closely monitor to find the right design expression to help truck drivers in their daily work. The design of the new dashboard is characterised by accessibility and functionality which, in combination with the sweeping lines, guides the eye and the hand to the right place.
A modularised dashboard
Joakim Hellestig has worked as a commercial airline pilot for 10 years. As a pilot with ultimate responsibility for thousands of passengers’ lives, he is very accustomed to continuous HMI development.
“One of the most important things when working with HMI is to create simplicity,’ he says. “Pilots must not misinterpret information. Doing so can have devastating consequences. So, it’s important to be able to work with the machine – the aeroplane in this case – in a way that’s so simple that it’s not possible to make wrong decisions. And I imagine that the same thing applies for drivers of big, heavy trucks.”
The professional pilot’s first reaction to the driver’s position and dashboard in Scania’s new generation of trucks is a big smile of recognition.
“I’ve never driven a truck before,” he says. “But I was immediately struck by how spacious and simple this truck driver’s workplace is. The dashboard feels really ‘clean’ and functional. The instrument lighting is clear but also subtle, which is important when you’re spending long periods of time behind the wheel.”
The dashboard in Scania’s new cab is modularised. This means that the different performance steps are easy to adapt to the needs of customers and drivers regarding everything from ergonomics to buttons, controls and storage. All materials and gaps have been executed with a fit and finish rivalling premium-class passenger cars.
“I like the logic behind how the functions are clustered on the dashboard,” says Hellestig. “You quickly know where all the most important controls are. I recognise that from cockpits in the passenger planes that I’m currently flying.”
“The perfect working environment”
Hellestig is also impressed by the range of options for positioning the driver’s seat.
“From a safety perspective, it’s incredibly important to be able to create a completely individual and optimally restful driver position. Nowadays, we talk a lot within aviation about fatigue, which can affect our ability to interact with the aircraft. And it must be just as important for truck drivers to not lose focus.”
In summary, professional pilot Joakim Hellestig says, ”This feels like the perfect working environment for a professional driver. The only thing I think is missing is a pair of wings!”