When we paint a nebulous future of tomorrow based on the research dictated by the available resources, we see a marathon run for the future that instigates new opportunities for the automotive industry with additive manufacturing. Cars of today are a product of subtractive manufacturing; but in future 3D printing would empower us to define a novel architecture that provokes the construction of the interior, exterior and the powertrain in one piece allowing us to celebrate the marriage between all three key components. Project UNO, meaning - ‘one’, exhibits this new architecture through a semi-autonomous concept that exaggerates the feeling of sportiness with a suspended cabin. In the autonomous mode the cabin moves around in the boundary of the exterior to enhance the g-forces by thrusting the cabin forward while accelerating, backward while braking and tilting while cornering. Therefore, the sporty nature of the design can be celebrated actively in both modes.
Inspiration and Method
The process was cut up into two palpable routes. The former dealt with a system level approach where the present cardinal building blocks of automotive manufacturing were rearranged with the new cues derived from additive manufacturing techniques to render a new system level solution. The later was aimed at advocating a tangible solution that best delineated this idea. Ten radical themes were generated that helped showcase the marriage between the three key components - exterior, interior and powertrain. The final theme was inspired by the analogy of an egg where the yolk moves freely within the egg white. This metaphor was then applied to the cabin experience in the autonomous mode. The occupant in the manual driven mode can cherish the full potential of the car to procure a sporty experience outside the city. While in the city, the autonomous mode seizes control and instigates the movement of the cabin within the perimeter of the exterior to amplify the g-forces by thrusting the cabin forward while accelerating, backwards while braking and tilting it while cornering.
Concept UNO celebrates the marriage between the exterior, the interior and the powertrain that best encapsulates the process of additive manufacturing where cars would be grown and not assembled. The interior tub is reposed inside the exterior shell with the aid of six mechanical joints and is not adhered to the floor of the car. The gap around the cabin exaggerates the feel of a floating island that can shift freely. The cabin is composed of smart glass which renders opaque when an electric current is passed through it and turns transparent when the car is parked gravitating people to yield a glimpse of the interior. The bottom of the cabin is reflected by the gloss finish of the chassis unit that amplifies the floating feeling. A warm white was used to grant the concept a more puristic look while making it seem warm and friendly. The idea was then showcased through a 1:4 scale model printed in one piece using a Selective Laser Sintering (SLM) technique.