Automobiles

Mobility Moment: Offering Choices for Shared Travel

Today's ride sharing services use vehicles that never designed with this form of mobility in mind. Designing for choice will be a key challenge for those creating vehicles optimized for ride and car sharing services in the years to come. Passengers may choose to work, converse, be entertained or just relax and restore themselves with some private time. All of this is what IDEO has explored in chapter four of its Future of Automobility point of view. Noise canceling or conversation enhancing technologies contained in seat "halos" could help passengers have easier conversations, enjoy media or opt out for tranquil time. Its an exciting time to consider all the needs one must design for when creating something for the new on-demand and shared mobility market.

Providing shared vehicle occupants with a choice of being social or relaxing on their own will be key challenge in vehicle design for the next generation of vehicles.

Mobility Moment: CASE Brings New Hot and Cool Opportunities to the Road Ahead

With Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric vehicles on the horizon, the gig economy and the sharing economy may well intertwine in interesting new ways.

Imagine accessing a shared vehicle for a few hours and paying for that time by running an errand for the vehicle owner. By picking up their groceries and placing them in a cooled storage area, everyone benefits. Mobility is gained and money saved by the vehicle borrower and time is saved for the vehicle owner. Vehicle utilization goes up as well.

As envisioned in IDEO's Future of Automobility provocation series, accessible heated and cooled storage spaces could enable a range of new on-demand services.

Sharing economy...meet the gig economy. A driver using a shared vehicle cuts the cost of their shared vehicle session by running an errand (in this case picking up fresh vegetables for the week and storing them in a cool vehicle storage area) for the vehicle owner.

Beyond Skin Deep

There is something very striking about viewing objects in an exploded or x-ray view. One has the sense that you are being invited into a secret world allowing for the way in which an object is made to be readily seen.

This "cutaway" mockup of a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited four door model is a nice example of this. It gives viewer a sense of improvements made to the new model. This kind of transparency is interesting to see especially for objects as complicated to manufacture as automobiles.

Just Ship It Series: Cadillac Cien

Although debuting way back in 2002, once the ELR starts shipping in January, kindly turn your attention back to the Cien please Cadillac. One in hybrid form would be an excellent "halo" for the brand. Stunning...just stunning. Keep up the Art and Science explorations and get more on the road.

 The Cadillac Cien powerfully demonstrated the capabilities of General Motors Design Studio.

The Cadillac Cien powerfully demonstrated the capabilities of General Motors Design Studio.

Trailing Trailers

This recent IIHS crash test footage is scary stuff and good to keep in mind the next time find yourself following a semi truck. Why not back off just a bit? Oh yeah, and while you are at it, write the makers of Manac/Trailmobile and thank them for desiging and producing proper trailer underride crash components.

 

 

 

Enlightened Signature Elements

The Cadillac ELRdesign has been getting a lot of attention at the bivouac lately. In addition to the striking design and progressive technologies both inside and out, various small details stand out in a good way as well. Cadillac logo placement within both headlamp and tail light elements is well executed. Each adds an elegant and refreshingly understated, yet dynamic signature touch. That's a tough middle ground to hit. Here's hoping such attention to detail lights the way to forward to continued impressive designs coming out of the Cadillac studio in 2013 and beyond.

Cadillac ELR Officially Charges Up the Bivouac

With the release of the production version of the Cadillac ELR at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past week, General Motors proved yet again that energy behind the resurgence of the American automotive industry remains high. Any time a vehicle manufacturer comes out with such a stunning concept car, as they did in 2009 with their Converj concept, and manages to stay so faithful to the original concept vision, that company certainly deserves high praise. Audi came close to this sort of effort when they introduced the production version of the TT in terms of staying true to a concept. However, with respect to the ELR, this may be one of those rare occasions where the actual shipping car looks better than the concept embodiment.

Can you spot the concept vehicle?

GM also deserves credit for moving into the luxury Extended Range Electric Vehicle luxury niche before other large-scale luxury vehicle manufacturers. They are also introducing some new driving affordances unique to this type of vehicle, such as steering wheel-mounted paddles that allow drivers to induce regenerative braking on demand. While we will have to wait and see how the ELR actually performs, on paper things look promising. And if you are a fan of Cadillac's "Art and Science" aesthetics, on the show room floor they are looking great.

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An Empathy Exercise for Those That Really Build Things

For those that could swear that their car had to have been built late on a Friday afternoon or clearly bought a pure lemon, try building an 8070 in a weekend. The latest super car from Lego Group's Technic division includes a free floating differential, a visible 8 cylinder engine with working pistons tied in to the transmission, double wishbone suspension components and various power goodies.

Putting one of these together sans a bunch of spare parts lying around once the job is done is a nice accomplishment. It's also a great empathy exercise to help us realize, even if on a much smaller scale, some of what a day is like for those putting together the things that move us every day. A special thanks goes out to you, the builders of the world.

Lego Sports Car.jpg

Quality Time in Seacrest County

Lately, my nephews and I have had the opportunity to spend some quality time in Seacrest County, the fictional land featured in Need For Speed Hot Pursuit.  Thankfully, designers of this racing game have foregone obsessing over telemetry and torque curves generated on the world's most famous race tracks. Leaving that to those crafting Grand Turismo 5, NFS creators instead made the solid decision to offer up a dynamic new twist on a childhood favorite: Good Guys vs. Bad Guys.

Adrenaline levels run high as convincing near photo-realism is placed in just the right places. It starts with the diverse and beautifully rendered vistas of Seacrest County, which span coastal roads, open desert highways and snowcapped alpine routes. These stand out as heros of the title alongside the fastest police response units. Creators of the game follow through with a great range of the world's most exciting vehicles. I for one was most happy to see the BMW Z4 sdrive3.5is and the Lamborghini Reventon among the list of beautiful cars one can try their had at. 

The game delivers on a few well-honed gaming principles:

1. Support immersion- Convincing visual details in the landscape and vehicle modeling are convincing and invite drivers into the world of Seacrest County.

2. Cause and Effect Loops- Dramatic and sufficiently detailed damage simulation reinforces just enough cause and effect consequences to keep things interesting.

3. Collectibility- An impressive range of vehicles each with their own overview provided by an ecosystem of manufacturers keeps one engaged and moving forward in the game as does the addition of technological enhancements.

While there are surely a number of alternative driving games out there with more realism that would be far better to use as training platforms for your next trip to the Nurburgring, few can match the levels of sheer joy that come along with busting bad guys or racing at high speeds across the deserts of Seacrest county. Thanks goes out those who put quality time into creating the vistas of Seacrest County and Need For Speed Hot Pursuit.

Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept: Small is the Next Big Thing in Luxury

Cadillac's Urban Luxury Concept which debuted this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show is just the kind of product that will continue to fuel General Motor's emergence from bankruptcy. For those that took part in a fairly strong IPO this week, this is another encouraging sign of solid design thinking taking place at GM these days. With room for four, estimated fuel economy ratings of 56 mpg city/65 mpg highway, and a number of innovative features in store beyond the scissor-style doors, the bivouac says bring this to market ASAP! This is "Art and Science" that's great for both the senses and the planet. See more photos via World Car Fans.

The New Face of BMW Motorrad...Yes Please!

A recent study indicates that people love cars with angry faces. This finding has long been recognized by automotive designers. In fact, shaping the faces of vehicles to make a statement has been an important aspect of the design process for many car companies over the years. With the release of the K1600GT and K1600GTL, BMW is migrating some of the most recognizable "facial" elements from its automobile division to its motorcycle group.

Here's hoping that this new face of motorrad propegates throughout BMW's motorcycle lineup. Not only is it distinctive and instantly associated with the power the brand has had on offer for decades, but it also brings welcomed innovation to the motorcycle industry in the form of the world's first adaptive headlamp for motorycles. Critics might feel this new look is a bit too agressive but when you are moving down a dark and rainy pacific coast highway, one is hard pressed to think of a better way to ward of any potential threats lurking in the darkness.

Shown above is the new facia of the K1600GTL. Illuminating even in full daylight from a design perspective.