Student designs of future vocational trucks may contain some long-term value for the Western Star Truck Sales subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA).
Some ideas from a collaboration between the truck maker and the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, include:
- A plow that inhales snow and turns it into vapor. While plows clear surfaces, they also throw snow, ice and rock and create walls of snow along the side of the road.
- A diesel engine that slides out from the engine compartment for easier access and see-through A-pillars on crane trucks for better visibility.
- A cement mixer with a movable chute and drum that would eliminate the safety hazard for the driver. The passenger space would be turned into a platform, ladder and hatch for better visibility. All controls for the truck and mixer would be inside the truck.
DTNA’s Vocational Truck of the Future Challenge partnership with the ArtCenter involved more than designs and drawings for what equipment would look and function like in 2030.
Students considered the challenges vocational truck operators face today and how their equipment might evolve. They looked at technologies like connectivity and electrification. They met with dealers, interviewed drivers and used qualitative and quantitative research methods, including social media, to better understand the industry.
“Through this challenge, we tapped into some of the brightest minds in transportation design to gain new and different perspectives on what vocational trucks might look like in the future,” said Samantha Parlier, Western Star vice president of marketing and strategy.
Transportation creativity has paid off for two students already interning at DTNA.
“We’re excited for the opportunities to incorporate some of this bold thinking into our long-term vocational strategy,” Parlier said.
DTNA will announce the winning designs at the North American Commercial Vehicles show in Atlanta, which runs from October 28-31.