The Acura Active Energy Experiment (AEX) was a project undertaken by recent Art Center graduate Roy Roh. Part of a Honda-sponsored term project, the objective was to create a lightweight vehicle for the future generation.
Roh therefore set out to create a vehicle for the year 2100, devising an elastic body that absorbs energy through piezoelectric and solar energy. “The body surface is inspired by elastic material, which allows us to explore the extreme tension within an organic surface,” says Roh.
“I wanted this vehicle to be a truly beautiful vehicle,” says Roh. “And the more I was able to rethink ‘true beauty’, it needed to resonate from within.”
Beneath this surface lies a structural frame, which is made up of self-sensing individual sticks that form freely and left exposed. Inspired by expanded foam, weaved carbon fibers and nano materials, the exposed components are a key characteristic of a lightweight vehicle, Roh contends.
“I wanted to imagine beyond the transition of our energy source, I wanted to imagine what humanity wants, without any constraints,” Roh says. “By imagining this for our next generation, we will be able to make a better decision in our generation.”
But what is it that humanity wants for the future? And what are the problems with our current personal transportation and its energy source? These are the questions that Roh sought to answer in his proposal.
“Oil is power on many levels. Humanity has been struggling to obtain this power through war, politics, and money,” Roh notes. “A transition in an energy source will only result in a shift of where the power lies. For a redistribution of this power, I believe a transportation device needs to become self-reliant, self-sustainable.”
“After I realized that I needed to design a self-sustainable vehicle, I started researching different energy technologies that might allow me to imagine my vehicle. The more research I did about piezo-solar technology, it was obvious that this technology was currently under-valued and needed more exposure.”
The Acura AEX project is a statement. It reflects what we — as a society — want for the future, and by doing so it reminds us what social effect personal transportation currently has on the world.
Our energy sources for personal transportation are on the verge of a transition. Eventually we will need to find a permanent alternative to oil. Technology already offers a wide range of choices. The decision will lay the groundwork for our future.