Poster Exhibition at The Sustainable Cities Round Table

The projects done for the Campaign Projects 2008 are to be exhibited at the The Sustainable Cities Round Table this wednesdy at 6 PM. Be there for a chat. Some of the studenst will be there to talk about their projects.

The Sustainable Cities Round Table on Healthy Cities
Village Roadshow Theatrette, The State Library of Victoria
6-8pm, Wednesday12 November 2008

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What will the car of the future look like?

Imagine this: Sometime in the future – private ownership of cars may be curtailed.

Car will then be shared but not owned. This will fundamentally change the way companies think of and develop cars. Cars will not be seen as possessions but as modes of transport. Cars will in short be PUBLIC TRANSPORT.

What then will these cars look like? Do post your ideas and discussion points. I would be very keen to hear what you think.

Volkswagen 2028

Volkswagen 2028 > Volkswagen Company > Volkswagen Company > Volkswagen Australia

The cars of the future: innovations are coming
Cars won’t be able to fly in the year 2028, but we’ll experience vehicles that communicate with traffic lights and other vehicles, that you can control using words and that have the necessary intelligence to find a free parking space and park in it automatically without a driver. You’ll be able to change the colours and forms of your custom-made car at any time. We’re looking at new drive concepts so that we can make the vision of emission-free cars a reality as soon as possible. Be inspired by functions that are both innovative and useful.

For Video see here.

Nissan Denki Electric Cube – NY Auto Show

The CUBE Nissan Denki(Electric)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cars that avoid collisions

YouTube – World Tech Update

n this week’s show: We take Nissan’s high-tech cars for a spin, Steve Jobs grills employees over MobileMe, riding Toyota’s robotic transporter, new rules for gadgets at U.S. ports and news on upco…

Petrol Prices and Social divide

Social gap widens from outer to inner Melbourne |

SUBURBIA is bearing the brunt of rising fuel prices and extreme mortgage stress, a major study of Australian cities has found.

Governments must step in to provide outer suburbs with better public transport or risk extreme social breakdown, it warned.

The report, Unsettling Suburbia, for the first time combines the 2006 census figures on car use, mortgage levels and income.

Outer suburban households are under the greatest stress from petrol prices and mortgage levels as a percentage of income, according to the Griffith University’s urban planning unit report.

Melbourne’s outer suburbs were far more vulnerable to rising fuel prices than the middle and inner suburbs, it warned.

“The households that will have the greatest (problem) coping with higher transport and housing costs are among those with the least resources and weakest access to local infrastructure,” authors Jago Dodson and Neil Sipe said.

They warn of a greater social divide between inner Melbourne, which has better access to public transport, and outer suburbs where residents have little option but to drive.

Retrofitting Hybrids

I like this as I think it is a welcome boost to reusing old cars – and my favourite Austin Chummy from 1929 – with an electric wheel.

Strap-On Hybrid Kit Coming This Fall | Sustainable Life Media

July 25, 2008 – Soon you may be able to turn your non-electric vehicle into a hybrid simply by attaching an electric motor to your car’s back wheels.

The new Poulsen Hybrid system, packaged in the form of a do-it-yourself kit, can convert any car into a hybrid by strapping two 7-horsepower electric motors to each of a vehicle’s rear wheels.

The device can supply enough electricity to power 70% to 85% of normal driving, according to Paulsen. The conventional combustion engine helps with vehicle startup, acceleration, and hill driving.

The system works equally well with rear- or all-wheel drive vehicles, gasoline or diesel, the company says.

Poulsen Hybrid here.

Share your car

Press Release

Car sharing is becoming popular with the advent of high fuel prices and local people are being invited to join a car-sharing scheme set up by Kirklees Council.

As well as reduce travel costs, the scheme will help to reduce congestion and pollution in the area and will ease pressure on parking spaces. Since the start of the scheme it has saved over 36 tonnes of CO2 and almost 120,000 of car journeys a year.

The scheme can be used by logging on to and registering your journey details. The system will then highlight others travelling in the same direction and will encourage the drivers to make contact using a secure email connection so that they can arrange to share the journey and the costs of travel.

The specialist software used by the scheme has been provided by Liftshare which is the UK number one car-sharing company and which has extensive experience of setting up car-sharing schemes. It has established more than 200 schemes across the UK for a range of clients. The national Liftshare network has now arranged for an estimated 50 million miles of journey to be shared each year.

Cllr David Hall, Kirklees Cabinet member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We are all feeling the pinch at the moment and this is a good way to help both the environment and the pocket.”

On Designing

I have been strugling with a paradigm shift where students learn to design artefacts – from a more or less ‘product design’ perspective. In time, and in specific circumstances this practice – which is intensely analytical and re-design focussed – adds interaction design ideology on to its practice, and thus privileges the focus group and the field study. Which is all good – but then it suddenly starts to come unstuck when this becoems canonical – and the ‘justificatory’ framework of the design school pushes for the privilging of the precise words and aspirations of the person studied. The dominant discourse out there – no doubt created by the media and doninant forces in the first place – gets hardened into a brief. An inviolable artefact that throttles innovation – and redcues the capacity for risk taking.

I then went looking for a text – and found Moggeride in page 681 gives me ammunition. Where he speaks about the designer – ignoring client prerogatives (very Fuller this) – designs the next big revlution. Which is how you would design a ‘new’ car as against a variant of the old model.

So? I recommend Moggeridge for just the unshackling potential it offers.

Designing Interactions

Digital Technology has changed the way we interact with everything from the games we play to the tools we use at work.

Designers of digital technology products no longer regard their job as designing a physical object—beautiful or utilitarian—but as designing our interactions with it. In Designing Interactions, Bill Moggridge, designer of the first laptop computer (the GRiD Compass, 1981) and a founder of the design firm IDEO, tells us stories from an industry insider’s viewpoint, tracing the evolution of ideas from inspiration to outcome.

Moggridge and his interviewees discuss why a personal computers have windows in desktops, what made Palm’s handheld organizers so successful, what turns a game into a hobby, why Google is the search engine of choice, and why 30 million people in Japan choose the i-mode service for their cell phones. And Moggridge tells the story of his own design process and explains the focus on people and prototypes that has been successful at IDEO—how the needs and desires of people can inspire innovative designs and how prototyping methods are evolving for the design of digital technology.

The I-Car

What would be in an Apple iCar? – MP3 Players

The rumoured collusion between Apple and Volkswagen on an iCar leaves me baffled. What would an iCar do that cars with iPod adapters don’t? For example, the 2008 Scion range from Toyota in the U.S. comes standard with an excellent iPod interface, giving you full access to your entire music library. Why isn’t the Scion an iCar?

Throwing Apple’s signature “i” in front of “Car” has got to be a marketing dream. The term iCar has the same simplicity as iPod and iPhone. And it mimics the iPhone treatment by putting the “i” in front of a common word. It makes me want to live in an iWorld. Imagine waking up in an iBed, taking your iCar to work, doing your iJob all day, then having a couple of iBeers at the end of the day.

There aren’t any details on what an iCar might be, but I’ve got a few ideas. First, forget about mechanical controls, such as steering wheels, shifters, and pedals. You control the iCar with touch surfaces and gestures. When you want to turn right, drag your finger across the dashboard-mounted touch screen toward the right. If you want to speed up, drag your finger forward on the touch screen (although on BMW iCars, you would drag your finger back to increase speed). Of course, there is one mechanical control — a subtle switch mounted unobtrusively under the dashboard to turn the car on or off.

Impromptu Car Pooling

HOV lane or Transit lane as we call it here in Australia – is being used.
Slugging News Story – Impatient commuters form impromptu car pools

Hundreds of passengers and drivers team up each day to create impromptu car pools that let them whiz to work in the HOV lane. As the region grows and traffic worsens, the trend appears to be gaining popularity as commuters search for alternatives to Houston’s every-man-for-himself freeway culture.

Many commuters who do it say they were skeptical of impromptu car pooling at first. But once they gave it a try, they found an efficient system that saves time, money and stress. Drivers in these pools get to use the high-occupancy vehicle lanes on four area freeways, shaving time and frustration off their commutes. Riders save bus fare or the expense of driving themselves and usually arrive at their destination more quickly and more comfortably.

Where can you find car sharing?

List of cities.

Where can you find Car Sharing in North America

Car Sharing, launched in 1987 in Switzerland and later in 1988 in Germany, came to North America via Quebec City in 1993. As of January 1, 2008 – based on data provided by Susan Shaheen, University of California, Berkeley – 18 U.S. carsharing programs claimed 234,483 members sharing 5,261 vehicles, and 13 Canadian carsharing programs claimed 33,895 members sharing 1,499 vehicles (increases of 75%, 45%, 55% and 51% respectively for 2007).

Google Map of Autoshare ar locations

A graphc portrayal of where the cars are – Autoshare, Toronto.
AutoShare: Our Fleet & Locations: Locations

Model T Car Design Project

Designing the Model T for the Future –

AS part of its celebration of the centennial of the Model T, the Ford Motor Company commissioned a group of transportation design students at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit to rethink the Model T for the future. The students were asked to imagine “a car for the 21st century that would offer affordable transportation and social impact in the way Henry Ford’s original Model T did.”

Campaign Projects 2008

Locavore – 100 mile diet CBS story

Charmer – Adaptive Path Design Project

Monique Conheady of Flexicar speaks …

Melbourne Icarus Project

To Design a Car for Car Sharing in Melbourne

If you are interested in Sustainability and have an interest in vehicle design, which may have led you to develop skills in rendering, then you will find in this project a chance to combine your two interests within the idea of car sharing. In this project you will work on vehicle styling, and that will develop in you a deeper interest in car design and suatianbility. You will also develop skills in CNC model making towards a finished scale model of your car design. The collaborators in the project are two car share companies – Flexicar, Melbourne and Auto Share, Toronto. 6 places availabl

Project Collaborators

1. Soumitri Varadarajan, Associate Professor, RMIT Industrial Design

2. Eleanor Conheady, CEO, Flexicar, Melbourne-Australia

3. Kevin McLaughlin, President, AutoShare, Toronto-Canada


To Design a Car to suit Car Sharing in Melbourne drawing on the experience of Flexicar – the Car share firm in Melbourne.

Significant points:

  1. There are two kinds of ‘car share’ cultures. One is where Car charing is seen as a part of the public transport system. This is Paris, Chicago, San Franscisco, Washington. And cars designed for this are the sort done by MIT. The second is where car sharing is seen as Car Hire – for days or weekend trips.
  2. The Flexicar system provides ease of use – over the car hire system. Furthermore car hire is targeted at Tourists and Business travellers. Car Hire pickup is located at transport hubs – airports – and in tourist areas – Elizabeth Street – for this reason. Flexicar is localed in the communities and its target audience is locals living in Melbourne.
  3. The Smart and For Four introduced when Flexicar started did not go down well with customers. Flexicar now runs the Honda Jazz and the Subaru Forrester.

The Project to design a Car for the Car Share System like Flexicar is therefore focussed upon a mid sized car. Addition notes for consideration include:

  1. The environmental performance of the car is critical. So Australia fuel (Natural gas/LPG), environmental materials choice, local manufacture, LCA (cradle to grave)
  2. For the exterior – There are to be three strategies for styling – the Retro, the KIT-Car and the Futuristic.
  3. For the Interior – the Driver’s Cab is to be similar to what a significant proportion of people in Melbourne are used to. The interior has to respond to the needs of the local population of car share users.


  1. 5th August: Detailed Proposal, Report, Document of Resources
  2. 19th August: Pin up Review – Renderings, Preliminary digital model Stage 1
  3. 16th September: Pin up Review – Digital Model Stage 2
  4. 14th October: Penultimate Pin up Review – Design
  5. 4th Nov: Final submissio


  1. Online Project Dissemination: Blog posts thru the semester, Flikr photo album of project and process, You tube channel – Research and all presentations on you tube
  2. Refined Project Proposal
  3. Solution: (a) Digital Model, (b) Scenario Story Boards, (c) Scale Model

The way Cars are Designed

I am going back in to teach UG classes after a semester of work exclusively with post grad. I am beginning to feel the energy of this enterprise and am quite excited.

Undergraduate teaching in design consists of setting up fictional projects – which simulate a design project situation where the student plays the role of a designer in a workplace. Usually we only half set up the fiction – that is we let students into a class (say) ‘to design a car’ for a semester and then sporadically interact with them to help them do a good project. The half is when we just set up the shell and wait for the student to put the content in through their own research. A great way to teach design and innovation.

I however believe in Authentic Tasks – which means the fiction is a reality. That is the design project the student works on is real and will have an impact. So …

I began a dialogue with Car Share firms to set up the context in which car share firms can influence the ways cars are designed. Th student project teams ( 3 of the) thus become the agency which converts ideas ( which can be influenced by the car share firms) into a three dimensional design.

My next task is to see that the teams that are set up understand their role – and what is required of them in this project (as distinct from what they may do in other projects on offer next semester). I plan to communicate this to them by saying:

  1. The project is a Work Placement opportunity.
  2. The Design Task is to take the ideas of the car share firms and convert it into a design that a firm like Honda can appreciate.
  3. The Campaign Task is to put all their work into an accessible channel like YOUTUBE and FLIKR – so that others can get inspired to do their own projects of this kind.
  4. With the aim – to generate critical mass to influence the ways cars are designed in the future.

Cars for Car Sharing

The Melbourne ICARUS Project began with the objective of looking at – A Car specifically Designed for Car Sharing in Melbourne. See what I wrote before I went in to see Monique Conheady the CEO of Flexicar.

And what she told me changed the brief. Before it was 2-seater and small and now its not!

1929 Austin 7 Restoration Project 2003

A car not as a status symbol, to drive on highways, to zip-nip-revv-race and just zoot in.

The Image is of a 1929 Austin 7. This was a Restoration Project I worked on in 2003. With 20 students.

The engagement is with Car Design and titled Melbourne Icarus Project. The project looks at the phenomenon of Car sharing and speculates upon the Design of Cars for the future – cars that would fit with the requirements of the car sharing systems. Currently cars used in car sharing – Yaris by GoGet and Jazz by Flexicar – have not been designed for this specific purpose and have been retrofitted with the necessary hardware/ software to enable car sharing.

In 2008 the project aims to develop a understanding of Car Sharing services and begin a dialogue with the service providers. The outcomes of this project are to be two fold: (a) the design and depiction of the service for car sharing and (b) the designs of cars expressly visualized for car sharing.

The CAR: A car designed just for the Car sharing Industry. For now this vehicle is specified as –

1. Using a 400 CC multi-cylinder Honda CB motorcycle engine running on CNG, and Exploring hybrid options

2. Seating two

3. Luggage space for city shopping

4. Weight Conscious (PEEL was 132 Kgs, This car? 300 kgs?)

See for Carsharing:

1. The Car Sharing Library

2. World Car Share Consortium