Cockpits provide very important functions in a mech which can be summarised as control and comfort. They also help to define the overall look of the vehicle, so they factor into the earliest design cycles.
Control – this represents all aspects of commanding the performance of the vehicle, including electronics, sensor readout, tracking location, providing a visual perspective and more. Oftentimes all of the other components of the vehicle has parts that terminate in computing or mechanical hubs nearby the cockpit.
Comfort – climate controlled areas for a pilot to stand or sit is always needed. In instances where a vehicle may be tele-operated, this will be of less importance, but the user still needs to feel like they are looking at the eyes of someone seated in the cockpit.
Our project will focus on a seated position for the pilot, with both a transparent frontal windscreen and a remotely operated camera system. With the anticipated Power functions nearby, sound and temperature insulation will likely be an important part of the cockpit design.
Cockpits that are expected to be used in combat or rough terrain also must provide a wide range of safety features – be they armour protection from artillery or anti-crushing roll cage support for the pilot. Obviously not trivial considerations.
More on the details of cockpits when we finish working through the high level introduction of other components.