LoneStar gets ‘Wired’

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Updated Dec 14, 2009

a href=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ez6JTnOl_tQ/SZ13dq5KaNI/AAAAAAAAANc/2yJ_UEB47V4/s1600-h/lonestar_truck.jpg”img id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5304527287726270674″ style=”FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 0px 0px 10px 10px; WIDTH: 200px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 100px” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ez6JTnOl_tQ/SZ13dq5KaNI/AAAAAAAAANc/2yJ_UEB47V4/s200/lonestar_truck.jpg” border=”0″ //aemWired/em magazine’s a href=”http://blog.wired.com/cars/”Autopia blog/a, a forum devoted (as it sounds) mostly to new technology in the realm of cars and other personal transport, a couple weeks back had a href=”http://blog.wired.com/cars/2009/01/how-a-couple-of.html”this story/a about International’s new LoneStar tractor (pictured). Run under the headline “An 18-wheeler That Feels Like Home,” the writers picked up on a growing trend among truck manufacturers toward tooling their rigs to the comfort needs of the most important user of the equipment.br /br /Yes, that’s you. The funny part about all this is that it took two Carnegie Mellon professors to set the emWired/em editors straight on the reality of long-haul trucking. Peter Boatwright and John Cagan, two of the authors (with Craig Vogel) of the book a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Design-Things-Come-Ordinary-Extraordinary/dp/0131860828″The Design of Things to Come/a, were consultants on the LoneStar’s interior, which is built to optimize operator comfort. “Hours spent chatting up drivers at truck stops helped [Cagan and Boatwright] create a ‘lifestyle savvy’ interior that packs the comforts of home into a rig,” the emWired/em editors wrote. “Boatwright and Cagan started by checking out the rigs already on the road and were surprised by what they found.”br /br /And then they dropped the big news: “‘Most of the trucks out there are pretty Spartan, and people live in them for weeks at a time,’ Cagan told us.”br /br /Jokes aside, Cagan and Boatwright took the design opportunity to involve graduate students in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon and ended up tossing out old-style bunks “in favor of a fold-out bed with a 42-inch mattress, [using] the space they saved to install airline-style storage bins,” the story runs. “Other creature comforts include a fold-down desk, a boomin’ stereo with 11 speakers and a subwoofer, and a fridge. There’s even a hardwood floor, a touch added after students found truckers often customize their cabs with hardwood or Oriental rugs to create a defined transition from the driver’s seat to the living space.”br /br /As Land Line Media’s Bill Hudgins a href=”http://landlinemedia.blogspot.com/2009/02/lonestar-stars-in-wired.html”also pointed out/a, essentially, Navistar took the custom sleeper (which superstar makers like a href=”http://www.trucksleeper.com/”ICT/a, a href=”http://www.doubleeagleind.com/”Double Eagle/a, a href=”http://www.legacysleepers.com/”ARI/a, a href=”http://www.bentzusa.com/”Bentz /aand so many other a href=”http://www.etrucker.com/content/channels/gallery_intermediate.asp”individual owners and small businesses/a have been gearing toward driver comfort for years) and streamlined it for factory production.br /br /We’ve been hearing good reports about the comfort of other truck makers’ new models, too, from the a href=”http://www.etrucker.com/apps/news/article.asp?id=63548″Freightliner Cascadia/a to the a href=”http://www.etrucker.com/apps/news/article.asp?id=61327″Kenworth T660/a.br /pInteresting side note: If you were wondering how two Carnegie Mellon design professors got involved with a truck manufacturer to begin with, note that Cagan and Boatwright’s 2005 a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Design-Things-Come-Ordinary-Extraordinary/dp/0131860828#reader”design book begins/a with a narrative of the notable career of Dee Kapur, including a href=”http://ir.navistar.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=117231″how he became president of Navistar-International’s Truck Group/a in 2003 after a career at Ford. /pli class=”social-digg”a onclick=”window.open(‘http://digg.com/submit?phase=2amp;url=’+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+’amp;title=’+encodeURIComponent(document.title), ‘digg’); return false;” href=”http://digg.com/submit”Digg/a/lili class=”social-facebook”a onclick=”window.open(‘http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=’+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+’amp;title=’+encodeURIComponent(document.title),’facebook’); return false;” href=”http://www.facebook.com/share.php”facebook/a/lidiv class=”blogger-post-footer”Channel 19 is the blog version of the column of the same name featured in Overdrive: The Voice of the American Trucker. Todd Dills ([email protected]) is its author./div