Design

Hyundai, Rhode Island School of Design studying mobility innovations inspired by nature

Teachers, researchers, designers, and students have come together to study new versions of mobility.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Group and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) have announced a new research collaboration to examine relationships among natural and built environments. The result of the partnership will be proposals for new directions for the future of mobility.

Hyundai has been showcasing long-range vision planning for the future in a number of areas in the last 18 months. The company is focusing on three mobility solutions: Urban Air Mobility (UAM), Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV) and Hub. The company recently exhibited their mobility display from CES inside their Korea headquarters (it's slated to hit the road on a tour later) and showcasing a human-centric futuristic vision for San Francisco.

Hyundai Rhode Island School of Design  mobility The meetings started out in-person in February but quickly moved to virtual experiences.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

To better structure the research, Hyundai established a tesk force that includes four designers from their Design Innovation Group. RISD developed a new collaborative research platform created solely for Hyundai. According to a release, "four faculty members at the school leveraged their expertise to explore study areas supported by 16 students. Hyundai and RISD kept the participant size small, allowing for close collaboration, resulting in a distinctive study on the future of mobility."

The study examined four distinctive areas of future mobility, including graphic design, industrial design, sound design, and textile design.

  • Graphic Design – Posthuman Mobility: From Molecule to Machine
    Faculty lead: Anastasiia Raina, Graphic Design
    Responding to the evolving pandemic, this group explored the future of mobility in a microbe centric world by addressing the relationship between humans and microbes and our need to respond and adapt with agility to the new world around us. The research team developed models for collaboration with nature as an alternative to modelsinspired by nature. They focused on interspecies collaboration, cyborg nature, and designed nature, such as future mobility hubs and human identification methods utilizing augmented reality, virtual reality and machine-learning technologies.
  • Industrial Design – From Anthropocene to Aerocene through Biocene
    Faculty lead: Paolo Cardini, Industrial Design
    In response to the increasing need for sustainable options, this research group explored alternative trajectories for the future of mobility guided by artistic, scientific, and philosophical provocations. In particular, this group utilized negative speculative narratives to explore the topic of future cities and environment in the era of UAM. Scenarios such as privacy intrusion and bird strikes were considered.
  • Sound Design for Mobility
    Faculty lead: Shawn Greenlee, Experimental & Foundation Studies
    Drawing from the fields of bioacoustics and soundscape ecology, and experimentation in RISD's Spatial Audio Studio, this group worked toward developing novel auditory displays and sonic experiences with embeddable computing platforms and procedural audio techniques under a common theme of "Making the Un-heard Heard" in response to the current COVID-19 environment. For example, the group studied alternative "noise" for soundless electric vehicles.
  • Textile Design for Mobility
    Faculty lead: Anna Gitelson-Kahn, Textiles
    This research group drew from the fields of bionics and biomimicry in developing innovative textile solutions through speculative approaches and solutions gathered from a case study of the cockroach. The structure of cockroach provided insights into the safety of future mobility. Hyundai plans to further incorporate biomimicry methods into its study.

The partnership officially kicked off in February 2020 with in-person meetings. The collaborative study moved forward despite the COVID-19 pandemic with meetings and discussions held virtually.

RISD-Hyundai Research Collaborative www.youtube.com

Hyundai and RISD will continue their partnership starting with a six-week summer research program focusing on lightweight structures and hygiene, inspired by nature. The partners plan to deepen their collaboration and form a longer-term partnership with RISD's Nature Lab providing a foundation for living systems research.

"Hyundai Motor Group's work with RISD is providing deep insights that will help us advance innovations in technology and design, paving the way for next-generation mobility solutions," said Youngcho Chi, Hyundai Motor Group's President and Chief Innovation Officer . "Through the collaboration, we've discovered that we have a similar vision for the future, and we're able to develop a common language and working methods that will provide a solid foundation for a more fruitful collaboration going forward."

"The post-COVID-19 era will require us to come up with new ways of thinking for our mobility ecosystem to evolve," said SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Hyundai Global Design Center. "By conducting in-depth studies with RISD about how nature copes with change, we expect to gain fresh inspiration that can lead to the development of sustainable processes, next-generation technologies and innovative designs for the future of mobility."

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Musical artist H.E.R. has worked with Honda designers to customize a Civic Type R.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
H.E.R. graced the stage at the 2021 Honda Civic Tour but before that happens, the R&B singer-songwriter has put her stamp on a custom-designed Honda Civic Type R. This one-off is part of a longstanding tradition of Civic Tour headliners designing a custom Civic.

The unique-looking model is a reflection of H.E.R.'s personal values. Nuance, subtlety, and "sharing your heart" are held high. This all starts with the car's exterior where a deep black matte finish washes over the model while chameleon-tinted headlamps and windows, purple brake calipers and nebula painted trim are presented as intriguing highlights.

Designers worked to customize the cabin as well, adding nebula painted accents and special LED interior lighting that changes colors based on music and sound inside the vehicle by featuring custom colors, moods, brightness levels and rotating color patterns, adjustable by a smartphone.

H.E.R. Unveils Custom ‘Honda Civic Type R’ Presented by the 2021 Honda Civic Tour www.youtube.com

"One of the things that drew me toward the Honda Civic Tour was knowing that I'd be able to design my own vehicle, and out of all Civics, I picked the pinnacle Civic Type R," said H.E.R. "Infusing my personality into all aspects of my performances, and also expressing it through my favorite products, is something that I am passionate about. So being able to create and share my custom Honda Civic Type R with my fans is just so special to me."

H.E.R.'s custom Civic Type R joins Honda vehicles designed by past Civic Tour headliners, including Maroon 5, OneRepublic, Demi Lovato, blink-182, Black Eyed Peas, One Direction, Charlie Puth and more.

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The 2022 Infiniti QX60 is expected to hit the market later this year.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The next-gen Infiniti QX60 is almost here. The long-awaited successor to the top-selling Infiniti model has been in the works for a while but the first official glimpse at the SUV happens today with the release of a teaser photo and video of the interior.

Billed as being "serene" and "spacious", the family-friendly crossover will retain its three rows of seating when it arrives stateside. It will also have premium leather appointments, intuitive technology, and ambient lighting, according to a release sent by the company.

The model was first teased in a private video shown to journalists in the autumn of 2019. Since there, a number of changes have been made. The fresh images show off a wide but not tall infotainment screen, similar to what you'd find on a Lexus or Hyundai. There's what appears to be a fully digital radio/climate controls screen on the center stack with physical dials for adjusting certain functionalities.

All-New 2022 INFINITI QX60 Tech Stories: Performance - Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD) www.youtube.com

There's a quilted leather dashboard and long horizontal design feature that seamlessly covers the dashboard vents under one housing. Though not shown, the QX60 is expected to have a fully digital instrument cluster.

Infiniti has already divulged a few key details about the revised QX60. It will be powered by a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine that is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. That's the same power plant that is in the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder. The SUV will be available with all-wheel drive. It's likely that the QX60 will have drive modes similar to those in the Pathfinder.

The model will have a 6,000-pound maximum towing capacity. A 3,500-pound maximum is standard.

Infiniti is promising a Sports drive mode where the movement, power, and control of the car are said to be similar to those in a sports car. Gears are held longer and engine braking helps along the way.

The 2022 Infiniti QX60 is expected to arrive in North American showrooms in the fall of 2021, followed by other markets worldwide. It will debut June 23.

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