Buckle up! Let’s explore what’s next in automotive design

As the heart of the automotive industry, Detroit hosts the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) each year. At this premier industry event, automotive designers, manufacturers, engineers and many more come together to see innovations that will drive the future of mobility forward.
NAIAS attendees were transported to the year 2030 through an immersive VR experience focused on the future of mobility.

Materials make the difference for future mobility

Growing automotive trends, such as electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, connectivity and ridesharing, are transforming the way passengers get from point A to point B. At AutoMobili-D, held in conjunction with NAIAS, we highlighted our materials and technologies that are helping the automotive industry design today for the passengers of tomorrow.

Here, we transported attendees to the year 2030 through the Covestro Future of Mobility Virtual Reality (VR) experience. This autonomous vehicle journey allowed passengers to see how materials will play a critical role in designing future vehicle interiors. For example, picture yourself scheduling a shared ride vehicle for your commute to work. Inside, transparent polycarbonate gives you a 360-degree view of your surroundings, sound-dampening materials calm the city noises, polyurethane technologies create stylish, easy-to-clean floors and textile coatings keep fabrics looking good after repeated use.

Then, after a hectic work week, you embark on a weekend getaway to the beach using a subscription service to book the right vehicle for your travel needs. Polycarbonate glazing enables embedded infotainment functionality that the whole family can enjoy, while transparent materials and ambient lighting create a customized interior atmosphere for riders of all ages. Passengers can also relax on long journeys, knowing that polycarbonates used for battery packaging can help extend electric vehicle range. Don’t just take our word for it. Click here and see for yourself!

Celebrating top automotive designs

Covestro often works side-by-side with designers, and at NAIAS, we were excited to help recognize great automotive design. The EyesOn Design Awards are the officially sanctioned design awards of NAIAS. At the January 15 ceremony, we presented the Best Production Vehicle Award to the Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500.

At the EyesOn Design Awards, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 received the Best Production Vehicle Award (presented by Covestro).

Another award-winning concept that left a lasting impression was the Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept. The vehicle’s exterior styling blends very well with lighting to create a striking visual. The Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept took home many accolades, including Best Concept Vehicle, Best Designed Interior, and Innovative Use of Color, Graphics or Materials. The judges describe this impressive design best, with comments such as: “Embodies a modern take on materials while retaining a clean Japanese sensibility” … “True inspiration and functionality” and “A new and fresh look that shows extraordinary sophistication and simplicity." Learn about the other vehicles that were honored here.

On the show floor

Each year at NAIAS, concept cars of all makes, models and designs make us stop and stare. Here are a few that grabbed our attention:

  • Several vehicles stood out with a fashion-forward golden bronze color that brings warmth, richness and strength to all types and sizes of vehicles.
  • A delivery van created by a major U.S. automotive manufacturer uses polycarbonate for transparent side windows. Polycarbonate, which passes Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 266 for ejection mitigation, replaced glass in this application. Hear more about the role materials play in this vehicle from our own Paul Platte, senior marketing manager – Automotive, in his video interview with Plastics News.
Several vehicles stood out with a fashion-forward golden bronze color that brings warmth, richness and strength to all types and sizes of vehicles.

Driving designs of the future

What does the future of automotive design look like? Design students and talents from all spectrums of the automotive industry shared their visions during the Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment.

Held on January 15, this automotive design sketching competition – deemed the “Fight Club of Design” – consisted of three intense, 30-minute rounds. As the night went on, 16 contestants dwindled down to four, who competed in the third and final round. Sung Kwon Go from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit came out on top as this year’s champion.

We’re proud to support this event and the drive toward innovation for the future of mobility.

See how the competition unfolded here.

For more information, email us: plastics@covestro.com.

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