Smart solution for a better rear view
Far better visibility for the driver and a dramatic reduction in blind spots. This is the result of a successful partnership involving the development of the rear-view mirrors on the new Volvo FH truck.
“A simple yet innovative solution that really makes a difference,” says Asok George, chief designer exterior.
Work on the new rear-view mirrors began in 2007 and has been a cross-functional partnership between different specialist functions in product development, design, construction and virtual analyses.
In addition to Asok George and Ann-Charlotte Andreasson, the team has comprised Hanna Degerman, feature leader, and Dennis Saluäär, technology specialist.
“Everyone has contributed his or her experience and expertise. The teamwork has been fantastic,” says Hanna Degerman.
She explains that the team has focused heavily on increasing the gap between the rear-view mirror and the A pillar, which is located at the exact point at which the windscreen is attached to the sides of the truck.
“When it came to the passenger side in particular, it was difficult for the driver to see precisely what was below the truck, as the rear-view mirror obstructed the driver’s view. So the A pillar was re-angled and, together with the new rear-view mirror design, this has significantly improved visibility. The driver can now see better between the pillar and the mirror. This improves safety in urban environments where there are many other vehicles and unprotected road users, for example,” she says.
What is more, the rear-view mirror has a much thinner frame, which also makes visibility much better. Instead of adjusting the actual mirror inside the frame, as was previously the case, the new design makes it possible to move both the frame and the mirror.
The development of these rear-view mirrors has been dramatically boosted by the simulation tool, Vision Tool. According to Dennis Saluäär, it has saved a great deal of time and money.
“We have visualised various concepts with mirrors and varied different conditions such as the traffic environment and the driver’s height and position. We have been able to analyse many different solutions and select the best at an early stage. This meant that we were able to make real progress in our development work before the time came to start work on the actual design and tests,” he explains.
All four team members say that their work during this period has been both challenging and enjoyable.
“Working on the front of the truck is complicated. There are many aspects that have to be taken into account when it comes to both the design and the robustness and reliability, for example,” adds Ann-Charlotte Andreasson.
The team at Group Trucks Technology won the Volvo Group’s Internal Safety Award for their work on the rear-view mirrors on the new Volvo FH trucks. It goes without saying that winning is a huge reward. The other plus point is customer reactions.
“They are incredibly important. We have received a really positive response from happy customers who see this as a massive improvement,” says Hanna Degerman.