Xiamen Golden Dragon new flagship luxury coach unveiled at Busworld
Published on: 31st October 2017
DCA was involved from the start in the design and development of the complete interior, working closely with the team in China. With passengers’ and drivers’ needs always at the centre, DCA worked on improving human factors, ergonomics and overall passenger experience, rethinking coach interiors along the way.
Project manager RP Kruizinga explains “In recent years bus and coach exteriors have seen a shift to more expressive designs and better production qualities. Coach interiors, on the other hand, remained largely stagnant. In most cases there seems to be very little differentiation between them, with little attention given to the passenger and driver experience. Although our team is no stranger to bus and coach design, we were encouraged to take a fresh approach on this project, looking closely at all interior elements and posing the question: why are they this way and can they be something more?”
“Starting with the entrance, we knew we couldn’t change the location or geometry of the doors but wanted to make the experience more passenger orientated. We wanted to segregate the entrance way so that passengers don’t feel like they are encroaching on the driver’s working environment and personal space. This resulted in a dashboard that is physically split and delineated through the use of differentiated colours, materials and finishes. The dashboard and guide seat wall that define the entrance are designed to welcome passengers with friendly, furniture-like forms and materials and are shaped to guide passengers in and out of the vehicle without the feeling of passing through the driver’s space.”
“The split and form of the dashboard also allowed us to optimise the driver’s environment to create an ergonomic, comfortable and safe working space. A large 17” touchscreen replaces multiple separate switches for a more intuitive driving experience and a cleaner working space with essential functions all being placed closer to the driver. “
This approach of challenging existing norms continued throughout all the interior spaces. In traditional coach interiors, the separators can often seem like they were an afterthought and are often made from big slabs of grey plastic. Martin Crofton, senior designer at DCA, explains. “They are overlooked but are such important touch points for entering and exiting the vehicle. It is such a missed opportunity and a great place to differentiate and communicate the brand.”
“We designed the separators with clean lines and rather than incorporating the traditional large plastic moulded surfaces we clad them in leather to lift their appearance and tie them in with the rest of the interior, matching the colour of the seats and parts of the ceiling to reinforce the brand.”
Great effort has been expended on the seats since these are such a dominant feature of any coach interior. First our ergonomics and human factors experts analysed and tested the current seats and made recommendations for geometry and form improvements to match best ergonomic practice. DCA’s designers and engineers then worked closely with the seat supplier to design a modern modular seat that would allow operators to choose from a range of options, including tray tables and tablet holders. The unique leather upholstery with only a central seam reduces visual clutter, adds to the seat comfort and helps to set this interior apart from all others.
The Navigator coach has been warmly received and will be sold globally, with the first 3 already been delivered in Qatar and a European version with a Mercedes Benz Euro 6 engine will follow in early 2018.