- ABOUT US _ Drive is an Automotive Design Consultancy building long term relationships with design-driven companies worldwide, designing products that enhance their brand's DNA and position in the market place.
Virtual reality is something that is allowing design teams to develop concepts quicker and resolve issues earlier and here at the Drive Studio we now have a fantastic Virtual Reality design set up to which we are all becoming accustomed to using in our day to day work.
So how have we facilitated the use of the VR set up within the studio? We are always finding new ways to use it, but within the realms of being a beneficial tool rather than being a slave to it. A good example is this Bugatti concept , that enables us to show off the benefits of using VR to our automotive clients.
Projects like this are an important to everyone at Drive, with our passion for automotive design and especially for anything that goes fast is in our DNA. With the initial concept penned everyone was unable to resist getting involved with something as extreme as this. The team worked together to design, resolve and refine the concept simultaneously combining our work flows through Photoshop, Alias and VR.
The use of VR is a great tool to check the design through the modelling development process and helps both modeller and designer. An instant tool at our finger tips that allowed us to critique and rapidly develop the concept, producing a better result in a quicker time frame. As a tool VR makes you aware of the digital model issues you normally only realise when you are standing in front of a full scale clay. I am a firm believer in the development of a physical model, and VR is a benefit to allow any studio to start physical modelling stage from a more advanced point, speeding up the process and saving time.
We use various systems from Autodesk VRED, Unreal Engine and Unity to create the Virual Reality experiences. We will be very pleased to discuss your requirements and support your adoption of the technology into your work flow.
In the world of the design consultancy we are familiar with getting a wide variety of clients through our doors, along with a vast amount of projects from supercars to space craft … however … every so often there is always something you were least expecting.
So when a Top Gear producer entered Drive’s design studio; a world where dreams are created, made, smashed and cherished, he approached with a big grin on his face, beaming with his latest project for us to get involved with … and now it is a gaming sensation in Forza Horizon 4.
A brief was set out, to turn a common tractor into a ‘supercar-tractor’, to alleviate the common countryside issues of being stuck behind a tractor at speeds of 15mph for miles and miles … So this creation was to have a handsome V8 – it sounded like a good start. Other aspects for the new extreme farming solution was that it would have to be able to retain all the functionality of a current tractor; ploughing, towing, ground clearance etc.
So it couldn’t be compromised by its new super-car styling.
So with the desires of Matt Le Blanc outlined, the initial visual cues for the Track-tor were down-force, extreme styling, aggression and a McLaren F1 inspired seating arrangement. Large splitters and diffusers were a go head!
The designs were swept off to the Top Gear fabrication team, and our usual design process, common throughout the car design industry, of sketch, alias Cad, CNC mills, reviews, dynoc / highlight checks, was ……. side stepped. Let’s just say the result was a true one off, bespoke hand crafted in the true tradition of British engineering ingenuity and excellence.
A fun project to have completed and it was great to be able to get down to the Top Gear studio to watch the show filmed live as a bonus. The Track-tor appeared on Country File and Top Gear and excelled in every test thrown at it, on track, road and field! (25th March 2017)
Drive can sleep soundly at night knowing that we have helped Top Gear solve tractor traffic congestion.
images subject to copyright – image courtesy of TopGear www.topgear.com
New Design magazine editor, Alistair Welch, visited Drive to write a piece for their consultancy feature in the automotive design edition.
The article records his conversation with Drive directors Chris Longmore and Mark Pritchard and looks at some recent milestone projects in the company’s 20 year history and thoughts on both the challenges and opportunities that electrified power trains and autonomous systems are presenting automotive designers and companies.
Read the article here Drive – Automotive Design Company – New Design Magazine
Alistair Welch @alinewdesign
The annual Goodwood Festival of speed never disappoints. Every year I think it has the potential to become the victim of its own success as it borders on being too crowded, but there is no denying it is still one of the automotive and motorsport highlights of the year.
This year it was Aston Martin’s turn in the spotlight with an elegant 31m high sculpture towering above Goodwood House, which had a beautiful DBR1 balanced as its centrepiece. Celebrating 60 years since it first won at Le Mans, the marque had every era of their history represented with many taking part in the main event, the hillclimb. The weekend was split by contrasting weather conditions: Saturday’s spectators hid from the blistering midday sun, with Sunday seeing incessant rain. VW brought along it’s ID-R electric race car, and made the best of Saturday’s grippy conditions and during the official timed session at the end of the day, it broke the hill climb record that had stood for over 20 years crossing the finish line in 39.90 seconds. Given that it was a car tuned for specifically for the climb, it was then astounding to see the WRX cars climbing the hill only a handful of seconds slower.
The festival speed is usually dominated by modern day race and supercars and often the only place in the UK that you’ll be able to see new rarities in the metal. Indeed, given Goodwood’s prestige, some OEM’s use it to launch new cars. One of the most talked about new releases was the new De Thomaso that made its public debut at the event. Beautifully finished in a deep burgundy with Rose Gold trim finishes, it was on the whole very well received, as were the quartet of Zagato’s that were lined up alongside the Aston Martins. McLaren showed off their new 3 seater Speedtail hypercar alongside the 720S Spider, and being a family event, they made their stand even more appealing to the dads with their full size Lego model of their Senna. Given that the new Lotus hypercar, the Evija, was released to the public only a week after Goodwood, it was surprising to a few that Goodwood wasn’t used to at least provide a sneak preview of the car, but it could be argued that in such a crowded space some of the impact would have been lost.
As impressive as it is walking around the Supercar Paddock getting close to cars retailing at 6 figures or more, the event always attracts the old favourites. The supercars you remembered from your childhood, the rallying icons, or the famous race liveries. A Sainz era Toyota Celica parked next to a Martini liveried Delta Integrale. A GT40 in classic Gulf colours parked next to another Martini Porsche. And then a collection of classic Stirling Moss era Mercedes Mille Milia cars. We all love modern day exotica, but we all still love the romance that comes with such historical cars, and this year it was impossible not to well up slightly at the sight of thirteen F1 cars that were all driven by Michael Schumacher throughout his racing career. Celebrating 25 years since Schumacher won his first world championship, the cars lined up next to each other which as well as serving as a wonderful tribute to the great F1 driver, for the F1 fans it clearly showed the progression of the design changes over the past three decades.
As always, Goodwood put on an event that showed why it is still the centre piece of the British motoring calendar. Next up, the Revival!
Drive has provided consultancy services to many low volume vehicle manufacturers and during that time has built up an understanding of the challenges that these businesses face in developing and establishing a successful vehicle in the market.
Niche vehicles have always provided opportunities for entrepreneurs to build successful businesses but now more than ever they are providing a solution to specific transportation problems. This is leading to opportunities for OEMs to use niche vehicles to expand their brand into new markets, become leaders by redefining a market or exploiting new technologies.
Low volume vehicles provide unique challenges in the product offering, manufacturing constraints and the commercial demands. Drive have been involved in numerous programmes and have built up experience of the various approaches to the business proposal, from designers wishing to produce their concept, technology led business opportunities and brand experience products. Spectre Cars, Delta Motorsport, Magna Styer, Zenos Cars, Caterham Cars and Lightning Car Company have benefitted from Drive’s expertise at various stages during their projects.
Whilst the funding for niche vehicle projects is provided from varying sources depending on the circumstances, the necessary underlying business case has to be rigorously tested and proved just the same, before investing of valuable time, resources and money. Drive’s in depth experience can help build the background to the project, give crucial investor confidence in the participating parties and provide experience and guidance throughout project timeline.
Through the development and refinement of the design our experienced team maintain the initial design intent whilst answering the engineering and economic challenges posed by these unique projects.
Drive’s understanding of the difficulties facing niche vehicle manufacturers (NVMs) trying to establish a company or product make them ideal partners to be involved in the development of a robust product concept and commercial strategy, whilst helping identify design and manufacturing efficiencies through collaboration with strategic partners.
Not every venture can be the success that everyone is looking for but minimising the risk by being fully aware of the undertaking at the start, with suitable gateways mapped out so that owners and investors can make informed decisions before embarking on the next phase, help to increase the chances of a sustainable business.