Rikard Orell, Design Director over at Volvo Trucks Corporation (a separate company from Geely-owned Volvo Cars) recently provided some details of its Concept Truck 2020.

One idea Volvo Trucks is exploring is that commercial trucks will have auto-pilot, freeing the driver to relax as the truck moves down the highways of the future at a constant 56 mph. Even more startling would have the trucks follow each other in a caravan, wirelessly communicating with each other not only maintain distance and speed, but to actually position themselves in each other’s slipstream. Such a technique will improve fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions.

Volvo Concept Trucks 2020 will be safer in the event of a head-on collision. The jutting front “bumper”, which has been designed to be more aerodynamic (which, in turn, improves fuel economy), will also absorb impacts more “gently” to reduce injuries. "Because the nose is a safety function our starting point has been that it does not count as part of the maximum permitted vehicle length, just as rear-view mirrors today are outside the maximum permitted width," states Orell.

Finally, the driver’s cabin will be redesigned to maximize not only visibility but comfort. Extensive use of glass around the cabin will permit the driver to be more aware of his surroundings and traffic conditions and allow more eye contact with others on the road. Rearview mirrors will be replaced by cameras that project their image onto the front windshield for drivers for easy viewing. Finally, the standard dash will be replaced by a panel whose controls function like those found on touchpads. Each can be customized to fit the particular driver’s habit and style.

Sounds farfetched? Not according to Orell. “Progress is getting ever faster,” he said. “Because of this our vision for the future is not that far away. Much of the technology in the Volvo Concept Truck 2020 is already available, other technology needs to be developed. One needs to dare stride firmly into the debate, demonstrating what one can and will do. Just tinkering at the edges runs the risk of progress slipping away.”

Source: Volvo Trucks