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  mobilityThe 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 Collaborativewww.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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The Hyundai Palisade got a mild refresh for 2023.

Hyundai

Earlier this year, Hyundai announced changes to the Palisade for 2023. The list includes a new front fascia, an updated grille with new headlights and daytime running lights, a 12-inch touchscreen with navigation, and more. A new XRT trim joined the lineup as well, bringing brawny off-road styling and dar exterior trim. Today, Hyundai announced pricing for the SUV, which starts at a little more than $32,000.

2023 Hyundai PalisadeA new XRT trim adds rugged styling. Hyundai

The Palisade's powertrain carries over from 2022, which includes a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. Inside, the SUV got several new and updated technology features, including a more powerful wireless device charging pad, an updated digital key system, and a larger infotainment display.

As Hyundai's flagship SUV, the Palisade edges on luxury territory, with plush leather upholstery and a serene cabin that offers excellent noise cancellation and comfort. Captain's chairs and seven-passenger seating are available, but a second-row bench comes standard and brings eight-passenger capacity to the SUV.

Muscular SUVs are more popular than ever before, so Hyundai gave the posh Palisade an outdoorsy treatment with its XRT trim. The new Palisade XRT builds on the SEL trim with 20-inch wheels, a more rugged bumper and lower body cladding, a sunroof, and leatherette upholstery. To be clear, XRT is an appearance package that does not improve off-road capability to a large degree.

2023 Hyundai PalisadeTop trims border on the quality and design of some luxury brands. Hyundai

Standard safety equipment is generous, and includes forward collision warnings with avoidance, lane keep assist, lane following assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, driver attention warnings, high beam assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Pricing for the base Palisade SE starts at $36,245, which includes a $1,295 destination charge. The top Calligraphy AWD model starts at $52,095 after destination. All-wheel drive is available for all trims as an added-cost option.

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The N Line forms a midpoint between the standard Kona and the Kona N.

Hyundai

Hyundai has a lot going on, with new EVs hitting the market, but the brand has been on a surprising run with performance models lately. The Veloster N is an excellent, rowdy hot hatch, and the brand followed that act with the Kona N and Elantra N. Hyundai’s Kona N takes the hot hatch formula to the next level with an incredible powertrain and useful space, but it’s too much for many people. The mid-point is Hyundai’s N Line, which borrows styling cues from the hottest N variants but lacks the all-out grunt of those vehicles.

2022 Hyundai Kona N LineThe N Line gets aggressive styling cues from its sportier N counterpart. Hyundai

The styling works for the Kona N Line, as it does with the Kona N, but the powertrains couldn’t be more different. Where the Kona N gets a 286-horsepower four-cylinder, the N Line comes with a milder turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 195 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which adds a layer of engagement not found in the continuously variable transmission that standard Kona models get.

That modest output lends the Kona N Line modest performance, with more noise generated than expected. In motion, the powertrain feels decently responsive, but it lacks the razor sharp nerves of steel that the Kona N brings. Shifting into sport mode changes the gauge cluster to a bright red and hastens the vehicle's responses, but again, it's important to temper expectations for a milder experience here.

2022 Hyundai Kona N LineThe digital gauge cluster responds to drive mode changes. Hyundai

Styling is more aggressive than the standard SUV, with 18-inch wheels and mean-looking exhaust tips. The Kona’s front-end design is still busy and will still be polarizing, but the dark trim and sporty aero bodywork help the situation. The N Line’s all-black interior gets red stitching and accents that help break up the otherwise monotonous color scheme. The seats are supportive and comfortable, but could be deeper for better body-holding during spirited driving sessions. There’s plenty of room up front and a surprising amount of space in back, aided by the Kona’s large-ish rear door openings. Parents will find an easy time loading kids, and older children can ride in relative luxury with plenty of legroom.

A 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, which offers configurable colors and legible information. It’s paired with a standard 8-inch touchscreen, but a 102.5-inch screen with navigation is available. Hyundai’s excellent infotainment software runs flawlessly on both units, and offers an intuitive and straightforward way to interact with the vehicle. A Harman Kardon eight-speaker stereo also comes standard.

2022 Hyundai Kona N LineRed accents liven what is otherwise a dark, monotone interior.Hyundai

The Kona N Line, while not as hot as the Kona N, offers a reasonable styling upgrade for people wanting a small SUV with sporty looks. Enthusiasts should look at the full-on N model for thrills, though, because the N Line should be viewed as more of an appearance package than a performance model.

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