Have you ever had a great idea for a new product or even a new vehicle? You rush to write it down but you get distracted and then it disappears forever. Now that won’t be a problem thanks to Peterbilt and The Forge Software. They’ve created a place for creative minds to gather and design the next Peterbilt truck. Some of the submissions are merely mockups while other are comprehensive designs; complete with the framework and sales pitch. You can view all of the submissions here at The Forge’s website. The heavy truck industry tends to be stuck in its ways but through social interaction and user input it is slowly breaking out of its typical mold. PACCAR has been known for its quality products and reliability but never its innovation. This project opens the door for other semi truck manufacturer’s to reach out to their customers and fans for inspiration. The phenomenon is already being used elsewhere under the buzz term “crowdsourcing.” The process involves giving project guidelines to a group of qualified individuals and awarding a contract to the submission that the company likes the most. This keeps the risk low for both the designer and the company in need of innovation.
After looking at the submissions I decided to ask myself what I’d be looking for in a semi truck. If I were to design a truck for myself here are the features I decided I might need:
- Ultra fuel-efficient, modern, design: I want my investment to slowly pay for itself by putting fuel expenses back in my pocket. The best way to do this is by minimizing drag through a well engineered frame.
- Modular fairings and wheel covers. I want to easily switch between the most fuel efficient covers for my rear axles and more durable or showy ones. So many trucks are either boring, over-the-road, outfits or gas guzzling, chrome laden, monstrosities. Why not have something that can be both?
- Built-in electronic systems that actually work. So many of the new trucks have terribly unreliable electronic systems that can be expensive to repair. I want a system that is dependable. I also want something I can modify and tweak to improve performance. There are currently aftermarket options through companies like Bully Dog, but I’d still prefer to have those features come with the vehicle.
I know ever driver is different and can only image how difficult it must be to design a new truck from the ground up. I wouldn’t have any issues purchasing a vehicle that meets the criterion I’ve outlined about. Until then I’ll stick to what I know. There are always new products hitting the market so make sure to keep a look out for the next big thing. This month we’ll be running specials on kenworth parts and freightliner accessories.