A Volvo for George Jetson

How about instead of having the sleeper berth behind the driver, it's above him. And there's a high-def TV. Oh, and forget about mirrors. The driver will be sitting dead-center in the cab, so he'll be too far away to use them.

How about instead of having the sleeper berth behind the driver, it's above him. And there's a high-def TV. Oh, and forget about mirrors. The driver will be sitting dead-center in the cab, so he'll be too far away to use them. Instead, there's video cameras to display what's going on outside.

Sound farfetched? Maybe. But it's all part of a new Class 8 truck concept unveiled as a scale model by Volvo Trucks North America as part of the Michelin Challenge Design competition at last month's Detroit auto show.

Volvo calls this concept the “BeeVan” (we know not why). A key design element is the driver's position at front and center in cab, in what Volvo designers call the FVDP — Full-View Driver Position — which gives him or her more than 180 degrees of uninterrupted visibility. The huge windshield arcs around the driver and remote-vision cameras eliminate blind spots. Dual armrest consoles place an array of other advanced technologies literally at the driver's fingertips. The cab's doors slide back to open — not out into traffic — and hidden access steps slide out to “greet” the driver, retracting when not in use.

Finally, the BeeVan concept boasts a unique engine cooling system that uses two radiators at the base of the A-pillar/dash transitions.

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