Fourteen graduating students in the Vehicle Design program at RCA submitted their designs for automobiles of the future this summer, taking into account both function and form. Some cars incorporate advanced communications technology, some incorporate automation features, and many incorporate energy efficiency or other green technologies into their vehicles. At the same time, each car is visually appealing and looks like a car of the future, a vehicle more likely to be found in Speed Racer than in your neighbor’s garage.
Some of the more interesting designs were “Airflow” by Pierre Sabas, “Nereus” by Ceri Yorath, “Noah” by Jung Hoon Rhee and “Soft Vehicle” by Raquel Aparicio Lopez. “Airflow” won the best interpretation design award and combines an electric engine and an interior featuring four individual pods for passengers. The exterior is made entirely from glass with doors that open vertically from the center of the sides of the car as if on hinges. It is stylish, innovative, and energy efficient.
Perhaps the most interesting car in the show is “Soft Vehicle” which incorporates soft materials like rubber and textile into a more traditional car frame to reduce the impact of crashes. “Wave” looks like a modern wire sculpture of an idealize wave and is designed to provide seating that feels like floating on waves. “Nereus” incorporates elements of social networking by using external plates that change their color and patterns based on the speed, driving style, and route taken.
Other vehicles incorporate other types of personalization including a mix and match concept encouraging consumers to select objects from different manufacturers into a single car much as people construct their living rooms by buying individual pieces of furniture from different stores and furniture manufacturers.
TFOT has reported on other innovative automobile designs including the fully electric Norwegian car Th!nk Ox, a prototype solar taxi that just finished a trip around the world to raise awareness about global warming and automobiles running on alternative energy sources, the Morgan LifeCar designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient, and a new hybrid car partially running on compressed air capable of getting as much as 106 miles per gallon of gasoline.
The Vehicle Design program pages at the Royal College of Arts has information about some of the designs and the designers in the program here and you can see pictures of many of the entries at Wallpaper.com here.