New developments in cockpits and driving technology make drive time as much fun as road trip stops—safer, more comfortable and more stylish too.
Touchscreen controls on dashboards, mounted iPads that control every aspect of coach workings and other means for centralizing operations are centerpieces of the new advances.
In its new models, Foretravel Motorcoach is introducing adaptive cruise control, among other features. The coach still won’t drive itself exactly. “But if you set your cruise control on the highway and another vehicle pulls in front of you within a certain range, it will slow down without you having to do anything,” said owner Tyle Fore. “Once the controls see you are clear, the coach will speed back up to the predetermined setting.”
American Coach, Liberty Coach and Foretravel are all improving ergodynamics of their cockpits and using iPads as the coach “brain.” Centralizing control in a mounted iPad allowed Liberty to greatly simplify the dash by reducing the number of switches and eliminating a pair of gauges. One of the most dramatic examples is the AM/FM/Sirius radio system, which is now controlled via its own iPad interface, says Kurt Konigseder, managing partner. It’s also positioned to be easily reached by the driver.
In Foretravel’s 2017 model, motorcoach owners will be able to control most everything via one-button operation on their iPad; they’ll be able to monitor the coach’s condition, turn down the music, lower the shades via the device. There’s another permanently mounted, touch-screen control center in the coach.
Integration and simplicity is key when keeping up with the latest in technology trends, adds Paul White, director of design for the Allied Recreation Group. Customers want to be able to play the latest games and stream music and movies, but they don’t want to juggle six or seven different remotes. In the new American Coach Eagle, one of his many designs, passengers can control entertainment and navigation functions via the iPad, on which the dashboard controls are mirrored. The cockpit audio also is improved, showcasing some of the sound system advances previously seen in the back of the coach.
Look for a more high-end look in the dashes, too. New designs take their influence from high-end automobiles; they also mirror the rest of the coach trends with their color contrasts, wood grains and brushed aluminum accents, White says. “It’ll look consistent and balanced and be easy to see and reach.”