Prized: "Busworld Digital Award" for smart cockpit in MAN and NEOPLAN buses


MAN Truck & Bus is significantly upgrading its entire bus series with many new features for the 2024 model year. The new digital cockpit for all MAN and NEOPLAN buses has now received the "Digital Award" from the Busworld organisation. For the first time, an international jury of experts presented the award at Busworld Europe 2023 as part of the "Digital Mobility Solutions Conference" on 11 October in Brussels. MAN's digital cockpit received the award in the category "Digital On-Board Comfort" and convinced the jury with its smart operating concept.

"We are very pleased that the new digital cockpit impressed the expert jury and won the Busworld Digital Award at the very first award ceremony. The feedback from our customers on the new comfortable driver's workplace is also consistently positive," says Heinz Kiess, Head of Product Marketing Bus at MAN Truck & Bus on the award at Busworld in Brussels. "The feedback at the trade fair and the award are great recognition for the tireless commitment and professional work of the entire team. It has worked intensively across all areas to develop the new cockpit and now bring it to market."

A total of twelve products were shortlisted in four categories for the prize, which was awarded for the first time by Busworld. In addition to the "Digital On-Board Comfort" category won by MAN, these were also the categories "Digital Operational Excellence", "Digitally Enhanced Driving" and "E-Mobility Management". A jury of experts from the bus industry, private entrepreneurs, journalists and UX (user experience) designers drew up a shortlist from a large number of submissions and selected the winners. The jury's statement reads: "MAN's new digital cockpit is a clear step into the HMI future. With its innovative "SmartSelect" operation and full integration of the new electric platform and the latest ADAS systems, it helps the driver to concentrate on his work without irrelevant distractions."

The basis for the new features in the 2024 model year and the innovative, digital cockpit is a newly developed electronics platform for the bus portfolio. This is based on the tried-and-tested modular technology of the truck series and has been adapted for the special needs of MAN and NEOPLAN buses with their complex body electrics. This massively accelerates all computing processes on board with extended functionalities.

Digital cockpit with MAN SmartSelect sets new standards

The new digital cockpits, especially in the coach versions, feature the innovative SmartSelect operating system, a newly designed driver's workplace that meets the highest ergonomic standards. In the centre of the console, the new SmartSelect control panel is used in conjunction with a high-quality infotainment system with navigation, which is easy for the driver to reach and intuitive to operate.

A highlight in the truest sense of the word is the new 12-inch diagonal colour digital screen, whose two half-instruments in the centre reveal a large information surface. For this purpose, the rev counter and power meter have been moved to the right. This doubles the display area compared to its predecessor. The display offers a "full screen" view with large symbols in 3D optics and the detailed "home screen" display with a toggle display to the right and left of the central display for selecting. When the information placed to the side is called up, the two side pop-up menus slide like curtains from the outside inwards into the driver's central field of vision. In this way, several pieces of information can be displayed in parallel and optimally perceived by the driver.

The new MAN SmartSelect control button, which has never been installed in a bus before, pays tribute to the same theme. The entire operating concept and the positioning of the MAN SmartSelect unit is not only convenient, but also serves to ensure safety during the journey. Drivers can remain in their usual position with the media control and keep their attention on the road throughout. Carelessness or accidental missteering that could jeopardise safe driving are significantly reduced.

The concept is based on the experience of MAN's developers that in a commercial vehicle with its hard use and also a swinging driver's seat, a touchscreen for operating important functions is not optimal. To stabilise the operator's hand, an ergonomically optimal palm rest is used for the first time in the bus sector, on which the hand can be placed and thus stabilised. The principle behind this is: "Intuitive, simple and low distraction".