Kenworth has developed a new digital instrumentation display for the Kenworth T680 Next Generation.
The 15-inch high-definition screen enables both a level of customization and dynamic information content not possible with traditional analog gauges. The design is highly intuitive and easily adjustable to enable drivers to match their preferences, while also automatically displaying critical content.
“The Kenworth T680 is The Driver’s Truck, so when we set out to develop the Kenworth T680 Next Generation, one key focus was to enhance the user experience inside the cab. We followed the methods of the Human Centered Design process. Drivers want contextually relevant information, when they need it with a new level of personalization,” said Joe Adams, Kenworth chief engineer.
The tachometer and speedometer dominate the layout, and harken to the Kenworth tradition of large central gauges. The color tones are easy on the eyes and allow critical warning information to stand out. The easy-to-read bar graphs glide in from either side as if on transparent planes and feature traditional Diamond-shaped pointers.
Standard in the Kenworth T680 Next Generation, the high-definition, fully Digital Display resulted from countless hours of driver observation, user testing, iterative prototyping and meticulous design work to create this advanced user experience. To help maximize quality and customer uptime, extensive testing was conducted by a dedicated team of engineers.
“Digital display technology has grown incredibly robust over the years. Since there are no mechanical parts, and a data bus instead of individual wires, this system is considerably more reliable than traditional instrumentation,” said Adams.
The new Digital Display allows seamless viewing selection between two Minimized Views, Basic View, Maximized View and even a driver customizable Favorites View. Drivers can easily scroll up and down this hierarchy using the standard Kenworth Next Gen SmartWheel®, which also puts cruise control and radio functions at the driver’s fingertips.
“We also wanted to offer flexibility allowing drivers to personalize their dash. That drove us towards a fully digital experience. With this screen-based instrumentation system, drivers can select the level of information detail they want to see, while the technology behind it lets us employ automation to show drivers what they need to see when they need to see it,” said Laura Bloch, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing.
For drivers seeking fewer gauges, the Minimized Views show only the truck speed, tachometer and standard content in the header and footer area. Think of this as a ‘dark cockpit’ experience for the minimal visual distraction and impact on night vision. In any viewing mode, however, the driver will be alerted to warnings or faults, if they were to occur, by having them presented automatically onto the screen.
The driver can also choose a Basic View that adds gauges such as fuel, air, coolant and oil pressure to the on-screen content. If the driver prefers to view all featured truck information while on the road, a simple scroll of the Kenworth Next Gen SmartWheel® to the Maximized View will show additional gauges – such as axle temperatures, torque, air filter, and brake application – as specified on the truck. Current trucks show approximately 23 gauge functions and this system can show as many as 38 on-screen – all straight in front of the driver view instead of the side.
The display system’s flexibility supports nearly 50 different layout possibilities across a wide range of possible gauge sensors. There is more than 4,500 possible gauge view combinations, including those that a driver could construct into a “Favorites” view. The Digital Display is especially unique since drivers can customize their display to show specific information they find useful.
“In the Favorites screen view, drivers can select and place specific gauges onto the screen,” said Adams. “While the factory layout of content is prioritized and intuitive, we wanted to give drivers the opportunity to create a personalized display for quick and easy access to information and a layout that fits their needs.”
In addition to tracking and reporting vehicle information while a truck is in motion, the Digital Display also enhances truck functionality when the truck is parked. When the driver presses the Exterior Light Self-Test switch, for example, the truck runs a full System Check and gives a quick analysis and summary of multiple systems statuses on the Digital Display.
When a driver pulls in for the day and shuts the truck off, the screen transitions to a Trip Summary view, and if equipped, can even provide a Driver Performance Assessment report and coaching advice. A Drive Summary, which reports statistics on information such as average fuel economy, idle time, cruise control usage, as well as any potential mechanical issues, also appears at the day’s end.
“The in-cab technology we’re able to equip today’s trucks with has come a long way in just a few years,” said Adams. “We believe Kenworth’s fully Digital Display will set a new industry standard. Drivers will appreciate being able to control what they view in such a simple and intuitive way, and grow to trust that the display will alert them as needed. The messaging even gives them advice on what to do about it, not just that something might be wrong. Besides that, the graphics are amazing and will make drivers realize they’re in a premium product when driving the Kenworth T680 Next Generation,” said Bloch.