Smart textiles can make truck cabs better

Textile with lights, self-cleaning textiles and textiles that detects how the driver feels. These are just a few example of possible outcome of a new co-creation project with the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås, Smart Textiles and Science Park Borås

Smart textiles can make truck cabs better

Photo: Smart Textiles

“We constantly strive to create the best possible working environment for the drivers”, says Anders Nordén, Vice President Cab Technology at Volvo GTT. “Many of them drive for 8 hours a day, do their paper work in the cab and also quite often live there for several days in a row or even weeks.”

The development of smart textiles goes fast, and now Volvo Group would like to explore how this could contribute to a better cab environment.

“We have worked together with the Swedish School of Textiles before, but then we have always asked for a very specific task”, says Anders Nordén. “By doing so we don’t give them the opportunity to use all their creative skills to help us.”

So this time it is a lot more about co-creation without any limitations. Volvo Group has decided to put a truck cab at the University at Borås that students and researchers can explore and use for testing and demonstrations.

“We have simply challenged them to come up with ideas they think could contribute to a better environment for the drivers and demonstrate them in the cab.”

The Swedish School of Textiles will as a start run two courses, both on bachelor and master levels, including  this collaboration opportunity. One will look at dirt and wear resistant seat textile solutions and possible self-cleaning textiles. The other one will look at how textiles could be used to make the cab lightning even better.

There could also be master theses and research projects focusing on the cab environment.

“We don’t know the outcome of this joint effort, but hopefully there will come some great ideas that we together can develop further and commercialize”, says Anders Nordén. “And there are many possible areas that can be covered.”

Textile can be used for communication with the driver instead of or complementing the screens, it can be used to make the cab environment quieter and textiles can perhaps be used instead of other material to lower the weight and make the truck more energy efficient.

“And there is research ongoing with textiles in cloths that can monitor the health status of a person”, says Anders Nordén. If applied in the driver’s seat, perhaps this could be an interesting safety feature.

“I really look forward to see what this co-creation project will lead to.”

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