WINNING ENTRY FROM RENAULT DESIGN COMPETITION ON SHOW AT SMITHSONIAN DESIGN MUSEUM, NEW YORK

Added: 18 January 2019

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. The ‘Float’ concept vehicle was designed in 2017 by a student from Central Saint Martins, UAL. 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 designjunction exhibition in London in September 2017.

A vision of a car that would provide a new way of connecting with people, the ‘Float’ 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 concept design is based around the car becoming more of a social space, with seats that rotate and a sound system connecting 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. Whilst there she experienced cutting-edge technology such as a full-size virtual reality suite, which 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 at the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City until 31 March 2019 and features 40 projects that explore the future of mobility and the urban environment. It 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.

Since the ‘Float’ was unveiled as the winner of the Car of the Future competition Renault has designed a trio of concept cars that explore the idea of autonomous driving. In March 2018 the EZ-GO robo-taxi concept was unveiled. It focuses on Renault’s Easy Life brand promise and envisions an autonomous, shared, ride-hailing service. It was followed by the EZ-PRO concept in September 2018, which is a last-mile autonomous delivery solution. At the Paris motor show in October the EZ-ULTIMO was unveiled as a premium mobility solution that offers everyone the pleasure of being transported autonomously as part of an exceptional, unique experience

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