Stepping into the Audi Design Center is a breath of fresh air, and miniature models of futuristic vehicles stand lined up next to each other. The unique concepts come from over 60 students from academies in South Korea, Italy, and Germany. They are all working busily on their models, making their final adjustments, practicing their speeches, and — most importantly — presenting their visions of the mobility of the future, true to this year’s motto.
Audi design UNIverse: these are the automotive design concepts of the future
The seventh corporation-wide think tank for young designers took place under the motto “urban future mobility.” It provides a unique international platform for creative new ideas. The question now is: “What will the mobility of the future look like?”. Blog author Ines Ramke was at the Audi design UNIverse and found out why the future just might bring us a forest in a car.
How will mobility change in the future?
“We need to re-think things and look at mobility from a new perspective,” says Andrea Staebner, the project manager for this year’s Audi design UNIverse and an interior designer at Audi Design Headquarters. And that was exactly the students’ assignment: to view the future of transportation as a unified whole. That’s because, in the future, the focus will shift to integrated mobility concepts, as Andea Staebner explains: “Urban living needs to be designed efficiently and break apart infrastructures. The students have all interpreted this in their own unique ways.”
With the idea of universal mobility, the up-and-coming designers look towards a common future. Because although every design is very unique, they are all united by one vision: to get away from the idea of private ownership, away from fixed traffic flow, and move towards greater flexibility and individuality.
The vehicle as a home
“We have worked on this project for a year,” says Mariem Halaka, beaming. She and her team colleagues Kennedy Masihi Christ and Lukasz Wojkowski are proud of what they have built. It’s a completely new interpretation of mobility — a new chance to feel at home anywhere in the world.
The model built by Mariem and her team is known as Audi NEW-MOD. With their idea, the international team from the Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan takes on the challenge to completely redesign the mobility of tomorrow and to counteract the problems of housing shortages and over-filled streets. The concept: modular living. Using a subscription service, customers can live in an “Audi Home” anywhere in the world and be easily and autonomously flown anywhere they want by the Macro-Hub — a type of drone built in to the house.
Even if this futuristic model might seem to be a long way off, the project is based on current trends and developments and could become a reality by the year 2040.
What does “new mobility” look like?
All models created by the students include the implementation of autonomous driving — in most cases up to level 5, in which the “driver” need not actually steer his method of transportation in any way.
And that’s exactly why the students also ask themselves the question: what will the “user” actually do if they aren’t driving?
The answer to this question can be found in contemporary history, before it has even been written.
The Peony, for example, blends public transportation with private life, and rails with streets. This model makes it possible to travel along rails within city limits in order to counteract overcrowding in the central city. If users leave the city center, a drivable base is available, allowing the Peony to transport users autonomously to their destination.
Another important topic for the students was the demographic change in our society. The concept of the B-Well focuses on a target audience of seniors over the age of 60. So that passengers arrive safely at their destination, the fully autonomous vehicle provides not only short-range transportation within cities, but also mobile health check-ups. Patients with diabetes or cardiovascular disease, in particular, could benefit from this model.
The students at the Audi design UNIverse also designed customized solutions for people whose mobility is limited by a physical disability.
The Audi IN and the Audi SeaMo (short for Seamless Mobility), for example, focus on the needs of people with physical disabilities. It makes it possible for them to travel short distances and manage obstacles such as steps with ease, providing a level of independence that was never before possible.
In modern times, stress is omnipresent and practically unavoidable. The students recognized this problem and looked for new approaches to stress reduction. What if I just want to relax in nature after work? It’s almost inconceivable in the megacities of our world, but the group of inventors from RWTH Aachen University and Hongik University created the ANV — a model that confronts this problem head-on.
At the end of the day, head designer Marc Licht concludes: “Imagining the future and redesigning it is truly not an easy task.” But with their ideas, the young designers and engineers show that they have a handle on things.
Head of Design, Audi
Audi head designer Marc Lichte: „We re-imagined the future to develop new offers of mobility.”
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