A student design study that won a Renault-supported Car of the Future competition is part of a new exhibition at the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. A student from Central Saint Martins, UAL designed in 2017 the ‘Float’ concept vehicle. Renault partnered with the Central Saint Martin college, a part of the University of the Arts London, to support the competition that was run for MA Industrial Design students.
Renault challenged 15 students to think about the future of autonomous, modular car design
and to consider how infrastructure and services might support their ideas. The winning ‘Float’ design, by student Yuchen Cai, was then on display on the Renault stand at the design junction exhibition in London in September 2017.
The ‘Float’ is a vision of a car that would provide a new way of connecting with people. It portrays an idea of how vehicles can be more open and social to the outside world as autonomy becomes ever more popular. The name ‘Float’ comes from its form and function. It looks like a bubble when in transit and it uses magnetic levitation (maglev) technology. The base of the concept design is around the car becoming more of a social space. Its seats rotate while a sound system connects the different pods. Passengers can change the opacity of the glass depending on their preferred level of privacy.
After winning the competition Yuchen spent two weeks working with senior designers at the Renault Technocentre in Paris
There she experienced cutting-edge technology such as a full-size virtual reality suite. It puts the designer right inside the car.
The ‘Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility’ exhibition will be on display in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery. The gallery is at the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City until 31 March 2019. It features 40 projects that explore the future of mobility and the urban environment. It also explores the question: how do people want to live? Additional works consider how mobility might be a service, how automation might change how goods are delivered, and how cities might sound in the future.
Renault has designed a trio of concept cars that explore the idea of autonomous driving since the unveiling of the ‘Float’ as the winner of the Car of the Future competition. The company presented the EZ-GO robo-taxi concept in March 2018. It focuses on Renault’s Easy Life brand promise and envisions an autonomous, shared, ride-hailing service. EZ-PRO concept followed in September 2018, which is a last-mile autonomous delivery solution. At the Paris motor show in October, the EZ-ULTIMO appeared. It is a premium mobility solution that offers everyone the pleasure of being autonomous transport as part of an exceptional, unique experience.