The changing driver interface
Since the very early days, drivers have relied on dashboard instrumentation to keep them informed of their vehicle status. Once basic and purely mechanical and electrical, these readouts are now all-electronic and highly informative.
Scania launched its Smart Dash in Europe in late 2023 and, at the same time, sent us a few photos of its dashboards of yesteryear.
The 2023 Smart Dash had two screen displays: a Driver Display in front of the steering wheel and a 260mm or 330mm information touch screen. The driver could input via the touch screen, or by pushing buttons or voice activation.
Scania settled for a balanced mix between physical and digital controls, steering away from the common mistake of hiding vital functions one or two levels down in a menu.
“The most well-used functions should be readily available,” said Eduardo Landeo, Product Manager, Scania Trucks. “It is all about offering drivers the best possible experience and making sure that new technology always supports drivers, rather than annoying them or giving them cognitive overload.”
Back in the good ol’ days, Scania dashboards were quite different, as the following lineup shows.
What’s noticeably different in these European cabs are dash-mounted, graduated-release parking brake levers, instead of the yellow and red buttons that are still used in today’s US cabs.
Also the trailer ‘hand piece’ – allowing independent control of the trailer brakes – vanished from Euro trucks in the 1980s.
1928 Scania-Vabis Fryken truck, type 3256
1968 Scania LB110
1969 Scania LB80
1974 Scania LB111
1976 Scania LB
1998 Scania 4 Series