Ford has showcased an all-electric and fully autonomous concept truck at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany.
Said to have been inspired from comic book characters, and transformed from drawings on a screen into a physical prototype in just four months by Turkish designers and engineers based at a Ford R&D centre located in the Sancaktepe district of Istanbul, the “F-Vision” is a large commercial truck that is able to communicate with its surrounding environment via an interactive front panel made from a special ‘smart material’.
Additional smart materials even enable the truck’s window lines to be lowered when it enters urban settings, expanding the driver’s field of view as a result. On the motorway, the windows are automatically tinted again to the colour of the body, giving the truck the look of, as the designers call it, “a machine”.
Other more functional tech features include a patented trailer hitching system that enables the cab and trailer to come closer in long-haul rides, thereby creating a more integrated structure – which also means better aerodynamics as well as reduced energy consumption. The driver can further choose to ‘platoon’ with other autonomous trucks as part of a travelling convoy.
Ford’s truck division has yet to confirm whether or not the F-Vision is to enter into production, although the company does say the design study is compliant with the autonomous drive road plan for heavy commercial vehicles that has recently been prepared by the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC).
Ford has also not disclosed any specific details regarding the F-Vision’s battery-electric drivetrain.