The new Mercedes-Benz Citaro in detail: Driver’s workstation with perfected ergonomics
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Stuttgart/Mannheim, Germany, May 20, 2011
The developers have completely remodelled the driver’s workstation, and the cockpit now takes ease of operation, ergonomics, instrumentation and comfort to new heights for regular-service buses.
A new driver’s door leads into the cockpit area
Even the door to the driver's cab has been redesigned. The door is now hinged at the rear and opens from the front, allowing drivers to move in a straight line between the front door and their workstation for particularly fast entry and exit. The developers also took the opportunity to improve the stowage facilities in the door. Drivers will now find a larger compartment for their bag, for example, as well as an extra compartment for a drinks bottle. The partition screen for the driver’s cab has been given a new look too, and is now larger and curves further forward. Instead of the grab rail previously fitted at the front of the partition screen, there is now a grab handle on the side.
For the first time, the new Citaro can be factory-fitted with another new development – an optional driver protection door. This door has a modular design based on the standard door. Depending on requirements, a number of variants are available, which offer graduated levels of protection by forming a screen between driver and passengers.
At eye level with passengers
The driver’s seating position has been altered too. The height of the driver’s pedestal and seat has been increased by 60 mm altogether. This gives the driver the psychological advantage of being at eye level with the passengers boarding. At the same time, the raised seating position affords a better all-round view, for example of the traffic in front. To maintain the exemplary view outwards and upwards, the windscreen has likewise been raised by 60 mm. The destination display, meanwhile, has been moved up by a whole 72 mm, for even better visibility when looking up and to the side, for example at traffic lights. The lowering of the window sill at the side is also beneficial to the driver. The development team has made the pedals more ergonomic to operate too.
Attractive instrument panel, handy steering-wheel control pad
The completely newly developed instrument panel in the new Citaro meets the specifications of the Association of German Transport Operators in terms of both its construction and adjustability, as does the steering wheel. However, the developers have succeeded in creating considerably more knee room and foot room for the driver with the new, elegant design. The upper section’s light-grey colour adds to the cheerful, welcoming impression.
The cockpit comprises large, clearly arranged dials for road speed and engine speed, with a grey background. The strip of indicator and warning lamps between the two dials has now been replaced by a colour display showing a multitude of supplementary information.
The display is operated using the standard control pad on the new steering wheel. The two-dimensional menu navigation is very clearly structured, and also allows basic operation of the radio or two-way radio, for example. The steering wheel, its control pad, as well as the colour display, are the same as those fitted in the current range of Mercedes-Benz touring coaches.
Logically arranged switches and buttons
The buttons and switches in the Citaro’s cockpit have been repositioned based on the latest ergonomic findings. As a result, the lower array of switches on the driver’s right-hand side (on left-hand-drive vehicles) consists solely of the door-control buttons that are in constant use in daily operation. The control buttons for the automatic transmission, which are generally used less frequently, are now positioned further forward in a separate horizontal strip. The location of the light switch is also worth noting – it continues to be placed on the left of the cockpit, but no longer on the front face of the instrument panel. Not only does the new prominent position much further forward make the switch easily accessible, but the driver also has the switch setting in their field of vision at all times. The repositioning also frees up extra legroom.The new Citaro is prepared for all eventualities. The regular-service bus’s instrument panel has been constructed so sturdily that it can support additional items of apparatus on both left and right, each weighing up to 2.5 kg. Mounting adapters as well as cable bushings can be factory-fitted as special equipment for this purpose, allowing customer-specific equipment to be integrated far more neatly than before.
Further improvements to driver's workstation
Depending on which door variant the transport operator chooses for the driver’s cab, either two or four additional DIN slots are provided on the right-hand side (on LHD vehicles) within the driver’s reach and vision, offering even greater versatility and flexibility for fitting additional equipment. Accessibility to the existing slots in the overhead equipment cabinet has now been improved by a new flap on the side. Up to four devices can also be fitted in the slots in the frame, where they are also easily accessible and legible. The loudspeaker for the driver’s area is also housed here, while the monitor for the optional interior or exterior cameras is mounted so that it interlocks with the base of the overhead cabinet.
The window sill next to the driver was also restyled as part of the Citaro’s redesign. The controls there are now placed directly within the driver’s reach and vision, while the stowage facilities here have also been remodelled. LED bulbs are now used to illuminate the driver’s area.
Ventilation system completely redesigned
The ventilation system for the driver’s area is also new. The electrically opening window section is now positioned at the front, so that drivers can now enjoy a direct flow of fresh air. This also makes it easier to reach the offside exterior mirror from the driver's seat. Air can also enter through two large circular air vents in the instrument panel.
There is now room for a larger pollen filter behind the enlarged air intake grille positioned at the side immediately behind the driver’s seat. The new ventilation unit behind the driver’s seat ensures a high airflow rate into the driver’s cab. The front box for ventilating and heating the driver’s area has been furthermore repositioned in the centre to ensure that the entire windscreen can be demisted even more evenly. As on the outgoing model, it is also electrically heated.
New options to aid the driver
The new large and extra-powerful halogen headlamps help the driver to see in poor visibility, thereby increasing driving safety. The list of options includes LED daytime running lamps, front fog lamps with a cornering light function and even bi-xenon headlamps.
The compartments surrounding the cockpit have been rearranged too. Any objects that are found on the bus can now be stored in an enclosed compartment at the front right of the instrument panel (on LHD vehicles). Not far away is the fire extinguisher, positioned where it is close to hand. Items of emergency equipment such as the first-aid kits are now housed where they are easily visible and accessible in a compartment inside the driver's cab. Like all the other compartments, this can be quickly and easily reached by the driver, but is protected from unauthorised access by passengers alighting from the bus.
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