CCS 2020 Transportation Design Thesis Projects

Amid this pandemic, students are being taught remotely and having to work autonomously more so than ever before. While students typically feed off of one another during the program and projects, developing lasting bonds and lifelong friendships, the pandemic now limits interactions to 2D virtual conversations. It’s a far cry from the collaborative processes learned through physical interaction.

Fortunately for the College of Creative Studies’ recent graduates, this hasn’t always been the case. When they started out as students they had the inherent benefits of being on-site at the school, a physical part of a program that is one of the best in the world. Toward the end of their studies, they had to work from home. We’ve already featured the Mustang projects created by CCS students in 2020, here are a few thesis projects from this year’s graduating class.

John O’Laughlin

When faced with the prospect of a blue-sky senior thesis, students will typically grab hold of the opportunity and reach for the stars – some more literally than others. John O’Laughlin saw his thesis as the ideal chance to explore the intersection between Transportation Design and Entertainment Arts. He tells the story of the Outdistance Faction – humans left behind on a polluted Earth while the well-connected depart for Mars. In a last-ditch attempt at a better life, the Faction devises spacecraft to colonize Callisto.

The detail to which O’Laughlin fleshes out this scenario is worthy of some Hollywood productions and is surprisingly practical in many respects. His SENTINEL landing unit is notable for its functional simplicity and improvised construction materials — reminding us that necessity is the mother of invention.

Range Rover Expansion
Yun Sik Hwang

Range Rover Expansion exterior rendering

If and when society returns to something resembling normal, people will be eager to get together and enjoy each other’s company in new and interesting ways. If they also happened to have a little extra coin saved up, they may want to consider the Range Rover Expansion, Yun Sik Hwang’s electric luxury truck that transforms into an outdoor social space. Beyond the novel split bed design, the Expansion features a pull-out storage drawer where an ICE engine would normally be. Add to this the rugged, full exterior shapes, and you have an innovative truck embodying the adventurous spirit of Land Rover — a spirit that existed long before the brand made its storied move upmarket.

MINI Pacman Micro EV
Seungwan Han

MINI Pacman exterior rendering

After World War II, Europe saw an influx of microcar designs that pushed the boundaries of automotive ingenuity. Seungwan Han’s thesis project hearkens back to cars of this era, with a clever pop culture twist: MINI meets Pacman. But is there ingenuity beyond the brand name mash-up?  Consider the clamshell front door for easy ingress and egress. A nine-foot overall length that opens up spaces other cars can’t get to. The charging port and information center in place of a conventional grille. And what almost gets lost in all the dayglo fun? The rugged, solid feel of this little guy. Ready to take on the urban jungle with a smile.  How refreshing 🙂

The projects outlined above are rich and diverse, showcasing the designers’ positivity and creative thought processes. Overall, the CCS graduates’ ability to imagine vehicles that enable multiple options for an increasingly divergent transportation and mobility design space is welcome and appealing. Their projects demonstrate the proficiency they’ve gained during their time at CCS as well as their creative approach towards finding solutions to current and future scenarios. They’re exactly what a thesis project should do.

Thanks to CCS assistant professor Jason White for providing the project descriptions featured in this article


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