Coventry University held a ‘Future of Transport Design Debate’ at their Simulation Centre on the Coventry University Technology Park. This annual debate was taking a light-hearted but serious look at issues which will influence transport design in the future.
The debate was chaired by Steve Cropley, Editor in Chief of Autocar at Haymarket Media Group, with an expert panel of Andrew Everett, Chief Strategy Officer at the Transport Systems Catapult, David Hilton, Senior Design Director at NextEV, Dr Cyriel Diels, Human Factors Researcher at Coventry University and Dr George Gillespie OBE, CEO of Horiba MIRA.
This year the event concentrated on electric and autonomous vehicles, with the need for greater integration requiring the topics to touch on areas such as rail and freight. A huge subject to try and cover, but the discussion was moved along expertly by Steve Copley, through the death of ‘Car Culture’ as we know it, the car’s current status likened to that of the horse in the early 1900s and how do Local Authorities influence the debate?.
The audience came from engineering and design consultancies, OEM’s, research institutions and govermental departments and although everyone could see both opportunities and challenges through the speed of development of current technology, the over whelming feeling for the future was one of excitement in finding and designing solutions.
The event also gave attendees the chance to view ‘virtually’ The National Transport Design Centre (NTDC) whose construction has already started on Coventry University’s Technology Park. The centre is being funded through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the government’s multimillion pound Local Growth Deal, with an initial £7 million contribution.
State-of-the-art features of the NTDC, which forms a key facility for the University’s existing Centre for Mobility and Transport, include:
• a 6m interactive power wall which allows users to explore detailed design and engineering concepts in virtual reality;
• advanced clay milling facilities for creating physical models of vehicles;
• a projection mapping system which can cast digital images onto 3D objects below, helping designers to assess how multiple options would appear on full-scale models.
The centre is set to address many of the Automotive Council report’s recommendations, with key areas of focus including undergraduate and postgraduate education in transport design, research projects in collaboration with industry, and support for the UK’s high-value manufacturing sector and its supply chain to improve design capability.
Once again the designers on the RCA Vehicle Design Course have produced high quality design studies, and expressed their ideas through excellent 2d work and 3d models.
Getting a preview to the show allows the opportunity to talk through the projects with the designers and share in their passion for car design. The back ground research that they undertake provides new approaches that in turn leads to new design forms. Below are just some of the projects on display.
The industry is going through a transistion period to automonous and driverless cars that seems to demand larger screens imparting more information as we sit as a captive audience, so it is good to see the interior design studies here are proposing a brighter future with much calmer environments.
A very worthwhile visit and I thoroughly recommend everyone should take the opportunity to get along to the RCA for this show and also see the other courses final work too.
The Royal College of Art Vehicle Design Degree Show – Private view is by invitation only from 6pm on Thursday, June 23rd –
and is open to the public from June 26th. College wide Open Day on Friday June 24th.
It is a historic moment for Drive as the Limited Edition Drive E10R from Zenos takes to the road carrying the Drive logo, on the distinctive new colour and trim package with Charged Graphite colour, black anodised chassis and additional equipment that makes this the fastest Zenos yet.
This is the first time ‘designed by Drive’ has appeared on a car, and it is a great honour. With Zenos recognising the importance of the design in their success, they are keen to celebrate the relationship with Drive who penned their car, by displaying ‘designed by Drive’ on the buttress.
“Zenos Cars has a long standing relationship with the team at Drive and the E10R provided the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate our partnership. Who better to style and detail our range topping product than the brilliant team that designed it from the outset?” enthused Mark Edwards, CEO of Zenos Cars.
Lead designer Mark Przeslawski commented “The Drive edition E10R had to stand out from the rest of the E10 range, being one of the most exciting cars you can drive we had to inject this emotion into its appearance. As designers we are passionate about everything down to the last detail, being able to have the freedom of paint finishes and colour schematics gave us the scope to create the ultimate E10R.”
With the drive team all very keen drivers it is appropriate that it should be the fastest Zenos yet that carries the Drive Logo. The Drive Edition E10R is track-ready, with adjustable suspension, updated brakes and 6-speed transmission, with race harnesses. It’s track-quick, too, with 500 bhp/tonne serving up 60 mph in as little as 3 seconds, and masses of torque available throughout the rev range.
Designer Gareth Culverhouse commented “The visual expression of the car is completely different, and this is all down to the colour and trim we chose in-house, it’s how we always envisioned a Zenos should be. We used a range of dark finishes and deep metallic paint to give the car a sinister but premium feel, whilst the contrast of the yellow graphics adds visual drama.”
This partnership between Drive and Zenos can be seen as the beginning of a long term relationship akin to that of Pininfarina and Ferrari.
There was a very interesting presentation this week by the McLaren Automotive design studio, held at the new Ascot McLaren showroom. The select guests were party to an intimate occasion with the design team who were revealing some of the decision making processes and design activities involved in producing the Sports Series.
Design operations manager Mark Roberts, who is one of the forces behind the initiative, introduced the evening before handing over to Rob Melville, chief designer, who gave an insightful presentation on their approach to understanding the brand and producing a design that encapsulates everything McLaren stands for.
What was intriguing about this presentation, and evening as a whole, was the apparent move to change how McLaren is perceived. Anyone who has been to McLaren’s technical centre cannot fail to be impressed by the experience, where meticulous attention to detail is everywhere – from the clinically clean Formula 1 car assembly bays to the alignment of the visitor book pens. This precision and technical approach has made McLaren Racing the incredible championship winning team it is, and laid the foundation for producing its dynamic and technically brilliant road cars.
So what was different about the presentation – personality. The event at a showroom, not technical centre, designers mixing with guests in a relaxed atmosphere with a presentation showing individual’s hobbies and design influences of sharks – nature influencing the form not drag co-efficient figures. The original MP4-12C’s message of incredible aerodynamics and stability through corners was there, but the language used was now different. McLaren’s success is down to Ron Dennis’ focus and drive for perfection, but it is the Bruce McLaren story being used to win over the hearts, in addition to the minds, of drivers.
Senior designer Paul Howse on this occasion went through the process from sketch to production, with interesting asides on the ‘friendly’ discussions between design and engineering and the continual defining and refining of the sculpted surfaces, an entertaining description that kept everyone’s attention throughout.
With the showroom divided in to design studio, alias modelling office, clay modelling area, future technologies of Oculus and augmented reality, the full complement of McLaren models on display and the design ‘family’ on hand to answer questions and demonstrate skills, it was a very slick and well-judged presentation.
The Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall is a very fitting place for the Royal College of Art to display their Anglo-American Emeritus Design Competition.
Founded in 1897 with the aim of encouraging the development of motoring in Britain, today the Royal Automobile Club is one of London’s finest private members’ clubs, with its magnificent galleried hall.
The invited guests were treated to a display of fifteen design concepts created by first-year students studying at the Royal College of Art Vehicle Design faculty.
Set up on easels and displayed as works of art, the projects were well received by the judging panel of Club members and industry experts.
Standing beside his design winner Pontus Merkel, an ex-industrial design student from Umeå, Sweden said: ‘This is my first trophy and to receive it from the Royal Automobile Club is quite an honour. This gives me a great deal of confidence; I am humbled and thankful for this award.’