At its launch in Bilbao, Spain, the headline at the spectacular event unveiling the new MAN is ‘Simply My Truck’. The next generation of the German truck maker’s entire range has been brought bang up to date with all of the latest technology and a completely new driver’s environment.
The new cabin doesn’t look that much different from the current model on the outside, apart from a smoother overall look. This is something which contributes to the claimed eight per cent improvement in fuel efficiency of the new Lion.
Following this launch for the European market, we can expect a delay before the new 6×4 and then right hand diversions appear. Then it will simply be a matter of time before this new model makes an appearance in Australia.
It is on the inside where all of the big changes are taking place. The streamlined, application-oriented format of the electric and electronic architecture is fundamentally new. The newly developed on-board network has a modern central computer that controls all the processes and enables significantly improved interaction of all sensors installed in the truck.
These assistance systems also ensure further safety, a congestion assistant takes over continuous guidance of the vehicle in stressful congestion situations on the motorway. A lane change assistant enables the driver to avoid possible collisions with other road users.
A new engine is expected, but it is still a couple of years away. However, the driver’s workplace in the new MAN truck generation has been subjected to a revolution. The cab and cockpit have been completely redesigned. The focus was on ease of operation, ergonomics and high living comfort. Ten years of research and development with 742 test users made the cab design cab possible.
There is a new three-finger-wide switch, the new electric parking brake. There is no longer a centre console in the new truck generation. The whole concept has been tailored to the needs of the user in its approach. The developers did not orient themselves to the previous model for the new truck, but rather to the everyday work of its drivers.
“The vehicle has been completely redefined,” said Dr Britta Michel, who is head of the Central HMI Research department and along with her team was instrumental in its development.
The gear selector lever is now located on the right-hand side of the steering wheel; an ergonomically shaped steering column switch in a convenient position. Its rotational movements are matched to hand movements. The driver also uses the steering column switch to operate automated driving programs, a further development of the previous gear shift programs.
The large digital display behind the steering wheel is also new. The speedometer and rev counter are only displayed virtually and cropped, leaving plenty of room in the middle for more information. Which assistance systems are activated, for example. Important: the imagery is said to be self-explanatory and concise.
The basic ergonomic design of the cockpit provides a clear separation between display and operation. The distance between large displays and driver is based on the television principle, a comparatively large distance improves readability for drivers of all ages.
The controls can be accessed safely without moving from a seated position. The infotainment and navigation system, which are displayed on a 12-inch screen, have been significantly enhanced. Control is via a rotary push-button integrated into the dashboard, the MAN SmartSelect. It is via a menu selection ring, supported by a palm rest, the infotainment system can be operated safely via MAN SmartSelect. Drivers view menu information on the display, they look straight ahead, not down, and are therefore less distracted from the road ahead.
The new GPS-based EfficientCruise assistance system continuously determines the truck’s current position and direction of travel and links this information with saved road map data and the route planned in the navigation system. The system thus knows the topography of the road ahead and calculates the optimum speed and gear shift strategy for a particularly fuel-efficient driving style.
The operating functions in the door are an innovation. Drivers no longer have to climb into the cab to turn the hazard warning lights on and off or to adjust the manoeuvring lights. LED warning lights on the A-pillar plus an acoustic warning tone indicate in several stages whether cyclists or pedestrians are approaching.
There is also an LED warning light on the left A-pillar. It signals approaching vehicles in the blind spot, useful for overtaking and when merging onto a motorway. As in the passenger car sector, support from automated technology is also increasing in truck-based transport.