Lessen the time a driver needs to look away from the road and you reduce the risk of an accident – this has been the thinking when designing the instrument cluster in the new Volvo FH. It’s led to greater flexibility in the cluster and fewer visual distractions.
Smooth, clean surfaces make the driving environment more harmonious. A good example is the secondary display (SID), which has been integrated within the instrument panel and doesn’t impede your field of vision.
Another important aspect has been to improve the image quality of the display screens.
“The new screens have better contrast, sharpness and colour. It’s also easier to scroll the menus and find what you’re looking for,” says Nina Theodorsson who has been working with the cluster. This makes it easier to locate the information. The buttons and stalks needed to control the vehicle should also be easy to see and use. This is why buttons now have surfaces that allow fingers to tell them apart, and a distinct clicking sensation.
“The Volvo FH is first with neck-tilt. It’s the steering wheel that’s the secret”
Rearrange your buttons
“The driver or operator can simply rearrange the positions of several of the buttons, so that the most frequently used features are closest to hand,” says Nina Theodorsson. The fixed buttons have mostly been placed close to the area they control. There are buttons in the door for the windows and side mirrors, and in the ceiling for the yellow flashing light, microphone and so on. “These are in the places you are most likely to look for them,” says Nina Theodorsson. “Altogether these changes contribute to a safer workplace for drivers and less damage to the truck.” “Now driver’s can keep their eyes where they should be – on the road.”
All bodies welcome
Tall or short, narrow or wide, every driver will be able to find a comfortable working position. The new driving seat has better cushioning and is more versatile. It’s the steering wheel that’s the secret. With neck-tilt, a feature that evokes luxury associations, the steering wheel can be tilted, not just raised or lowered as before. “When your arms drop down a bit the driving improves,” says Peter Johansson, design engineer at Volvo. Together with raising and lowering functions, the wheel can be angled up to 40 degrees – 10 of these come from the neck-tilt function. A more vertical steering wheel makes the Volvo FH feel similar to a conventional car.
Extended seat range
Tall drivers in particular will appreciate the increased adjustment area of the driving seat. The seat can slide back further in the new Volvo FH, 4 centimetres to be precise. Altogether the seat can slide up to 24 centimetres in a forwards backwards direction (best in class). The span for raising or lowering the new seat is 10 centimetres.
The seat also has a new shape. Among other things, it has improved lateral support and longer leg support. But this is a tricky area: too little leg support is not good, too much is no good either as it makes it harder to get in and out of the seat. “The new seat is quite amazing when you realise it’s designed to work for almost every shape and size of driver,” says Peter Johansson.