The new Volvo FM has a number of key roles to play. One is to be an office on wheels. After all, this is where drivers conduct their daily business. To get a feel for the new driver environment, we talked to product planner Louise Karlsson and feature manager Malin Gabre.
Louise Karlsson explains the essence of their thinking. “Every improvement we’ve made to the cab is designed to maximise productivity – comfortably.”
It’s easier for the driver to get in and out
Maximum comfort within reach
“The environment has been developed with reach in mind,” says Malin Gabre. “Drivers need to have information, controls and stalks within easy reach to do their job properly.” The concept of prioritizing what is most important encompasses gauges and controls, too. “Vital information is visible at a glance,” explains Malin Gabre. The speedometer, tachometer and other key gauges are in the driver’s immediate field of vision. Less frequently used information is further away – to minimise distraction.”
Room to move around
Drivers come in all shapes and sizes. Some need more room than others. “The cab in the new Volvo FM is designed to facilitate moving around… no matter who is driving,” says Louise Karlsson. “That’s why we mounted a number of controls and switches on the dash. Not only that, we actually designed them to follow the shape of the dashboard – to ensure they don’t get in the way. The storage compartment in the door has been redesigned too, making it easier for the driver to get in and out of the truck.”
The new cab also features an innovation called flexible switches that allows drivers to rearrange and group functions according to their needs – regardless of application. “It adds to the feeling of comfort and familiarity in the cab,” says Louise Karlsson.
Cab goes to clinic for check up
To make sure cab design is on track, Volvo talks to the people whose opinions matter most – the drivers. “We regularly run customer clinics where drivers are invited to evaluate our thinking. That way we can judge if our ideas are good enough,” explains Louise Karlsson. “The input we received from these clinics was crucial in optimizing the driver’s environment in the new Volvo FM.”
Secondary information of primary importance
The Secondary Information Display (SID) is integrated into the instrument panel with a new screen for easy navigation. It displays audio, phone, Dynafleet communication and up to four cameras. “It’s a better solution than the current pop-up because it doesn’t disturb the driver’s line of sight,” says Malin Gabre.
Close to hand
Drivers bring all of manner of stuff with them into the cab to help them do their jobs. From pens, clipboards and phones to cups, mugs and personal items. “That’s why we created more storage spaces,” says Malin Gabre. “We also provide a number of accessories to reinforce the feeling of an office on wheels – for example a PC holder and waste-paper basket. We even have a fold-out bottle-holder with enough room for a 2-litre PET bottle,” Malin Gabre adds.
New steering wheel
Because drivers spend most of their working day behind the steering wheel, a generous number of grips come as welcome relief to tired shoulders. “The new steering wheel has plenty of grip alternatives, so the driver will always find one that’s comfortable. We’ve also placed more functions on the steering wheel, allowing the driver to manage key instru-ments and the secondary display without hardly lifting a finger,” says Louise Karlsson.
Give the brake a break
The Volvo FM comes with a new electronic parking brake that takes care of itself. “It’s an excellent solution for drivers who have to make numerous stops during their shift,” explains Louise Karlsson. “The brake is engaged as soon as you switch off the engine. And you don’t have to release it. That’s done automatically when you touch the accelerator pedal.”
Have a 360-degree view inside the Volvo FM cab