Gear Shifter

Development of a generic gear shifter
for the truck industry


There is an on-going paradigm shift from mechanically operated shifters to “by wire” systems in the automotive industry. This change also applies to the heavy truck industry, where Kongsberg Automotive has identified a potential market for a generic “by wire” shifter, that is interchangeable across vehicle types and platforms.

The aim of this master thesis project was to explore the potential for developing an “off the shelf” shifter for the heavy truck industry. The goal was to introduce a design proposal for a generic shifter, capable of achieving various positions within the truck cockpit. Knowledge regarding users and the use context was acquired through interviews with truck drivers, observations and study visits to resellers. A usability test was conducted for further insight regarding different shift patterns, and numerous concepts were developed and evaluated both theoretically and practically through workshop sessions. The final concept is a generic shifter offered in two versions. It is designed to provide a good user experience regardless of the type of truck or field of operation, and can easily be integrated into different interiors. The concept can be bought “off the shelf”, minimizing development time and costs for the vehicle manufacturer.

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