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They're going to have to change the name of this thing to NCC-1701, because piloting it will definitely make you feel like you're boldly going where no one's gone before. As part of the Michelin Design Challenge competition, Volvo has revised the design of the the traditional big-rig tractor. Serious thought was given to improving driver safety and some semi-radical changes to convention were made. The driver is front and center in the cab, just like F1 cars. The central seating position gives an expansive 180 degree field of vision; Volvo calls it the Full View Driver Position. There are blind spot cameras, as well as sensors to detect other vehicles, lane tracking, and driver alertness. The doors open by sliding, rather than flapping out into traffic, and a set of steps comes out from hiding, allowing ease of ingress. The seat motors back and rotates toward the opened door, making the driver feel like a transportation deity.

More after the jump.

[Source: dexigner.com]

We have pictures in our head of motoring along the US's vast expanses of highway, landscape fringing the arc of the windshield while we enjoy the driver-centric environment. Who doesn't love a big 'ol chair with buttons in the armrests (buttons! In the armrests!) that greets you like an excited puppy. If we had one of these things, we'd never want to leave, it's like the uber car geek's dream come true. The Bee-Van is set up so you don't have to leave very often. There are bunks and a dinette, not to mention plenty of storage. Much attention has been paid to keeping the driver comfortable and coddled, so he or she can perform at his or her best. Volvo's designers also applied their noggins to the greasy bits. Radiators are located at the base of the A-Pillars. Air from the high-pressure area at the base of the windshield is directed through the radiators and exits up by the roof. That keeps engine compartment temperatures lower, improving the engine's efficiency. Forget the little weekend speedster, with this thing you could haul around the whole racing team - the race car's cockpit may pale in comparison to the Bee-Van, though.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Jim Pierce
      • 8 Years Ago
      As we used to say about cabovers, back when everyone drove one (instead of conventionals), in the event of an accident - YOU will be the First One on the scene!!! (Splat) And in a roll-over, guess what happens? I don't think this is equipped with an ejection seat (though it should be).
      • 8 Years Ago
      Cameras & sensors have limitations. Snow, rain & mud may blindsight the lenses and if not a simple electrical fault may. Sitting in the center of the cab will also limit the driver should the a/m occur. A driver has to be in touch with his surroundings and electrical gizzmos will make him reliant on them instead. Truck cabs can be improved for better comfort and the "doze alert" would be an excellent aide if the driver gets to comfortable.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Come on, thats the new Mr. Coffee
      • 8 Years Ago
      Is this a Mr. Coffee Transformer?

      Does this cab swing out like a coffee filter compartment?

      • 8 Years Ago
      WOW, what a forehead :)
      • 8 Years Ago
      For Greens sake,streamlining is decades over due & chassis should be designed for making use of the several million containers sitting around going to waste. in fact they could serve as the chassis itself w/quikconnect axles
      • 8 Years Ago
      I read the description while waiting for the picture to download and what I imagined and the "reality" weren't even close.

      Yes, streamlining and aerodynamics can go a bit further on trucks than they have, but let's face reality. With the need to accomodate a fairly large engine and the need for the cab to "meld" with a fairly large box/trailer...you don't have room for a lot of possibilities.

      I'm surprized cameras aren't being used more (if at all) to alleviate the blind spots on trucks. It appears that only buses and motor homes are using them currently, though I could be wrong. I have seen tractors with "concealed" steps, they have little flaps/doors over them that look like they could snag a shoe/boot. Sliding doors on the cab? Don't see the point, I mean, no one opens the doors while the truck is moving. "Finally" the windshield on this concept. I agree, it makes the truck look like a coffee maker and I would be interested to see the fuel savings figures. That is, would it REALLY be cost effictive?
      • 8 Years Ago
      At first glance I thought this was a cartoon. Someone should turn this truck into "Mater" or the NASCAR truck that drove Lightning McQueen around.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Haha...your kidding..right?