February 16, 2017 – The car of the future is predicted to be an on-demand, shared, autonomous vehicle. With a car that drives itself, the look and functions of the traditional car interior will change. This will offer new opportunities for design and materials. To explore the potential applications of polycarbonate in a shared, autonomous vehicle’s interior, Covestro recently collaborated with students at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit.
Students in the junior auto design studio course were challenged to present an interior concept for an autonomous, premium, rideshare vehicle designed for four passengers in the year 2025. Students were encouraged to push the boundaries of polycarbonate by showcasing new, creative ways of the utilizing polycarbonate in car interiors.
The class met with Covestro automotive experts to gain a deeper understanding of polycarbonate’s benefits and capabilities, and obtained feedback from Covestro during the course of the project before making their final presentations.
The students capitalized on polycarbonate’s suitability for interior lighting, with several projects featuring ambient lighting for branding, ambiance and therapeutic purposes. Many students incorporated lighting elements in new and novel ways, utilizing polycarbonate for floor and seating illumination to enhance the passenger experience.
Seamless design was a well-executed common theme among student concepts. Student designs featured the use of transparent polycarbonate for glazing applications, including roofs and infotainment screens. Polycarbonate-based materials are ideal for back-lit, touch-screen control and entertainment interfaces, which will be a prominent feature in future vehicles.
Students presented new ideas for seating design and configuration to allow more interaction for passengers and to accommodate activities such as working, entertainment, eating or sleeping. These multi-functional interiors also took haptics and textures into consideration, taking advantage of polycarbonate’s excellent surface replication to create luxurious interiors.
This project showcases how Covestro strives to inspire students and designers to push the boundaries between aesthetics and materials. We aim to gain a better understanding of the needs of designers while sharing our product knowledge and expertise with young minds. The CCS student projects provided insight into potential future vehicle design trends, which will help shape innovation and product development at Covestro.
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