Every once in a while, I attend degree shows where I’m presented with concepts that are so uniquely refreshing that I leave thinking the world is a better place. The ‘No Infrastructure Needed’ flat pack vehicle by RCA graduate Simon Haynes is one of those concepts.
Intended to provide mobility to low infrastructure areas devoid of dealer networks, No Infrastructure Needed could well be from the Swedish housewares store we all know and love, but the attention to detail in its creation made it one of the standout projects at the show.
Inspired by the Lunar Rover and structure of a pine cone, the vehicle is created using 4D printing (the extra ‘D’ is time). Its individual parts are delivered to the user who engages a battery and watches the static charge material flex into place. The wheel hubs, wheels, interior and user interface are then added onto the vehicle.
Using a package that is a bit longer but as wide as that of the Renault Twizy, the design’s central pillar is less of a hindrance on the driver’s field of vision than conventional A-pillars.
Haynes cites that the Lunar Rover was the first truly ‘no infrastructure’ vehicle, built to be compact, transported and then assembled upon arrival. “I wanted to use this model as a base,” he says, adding that he also “wanted it to be elegant and lightweight.”
The pine cone influence on the concept is more poetic: “A pine cone is a great example of nature’s ingenuity,” says Haynes. “It is a form of dual state transportation. When it drops from a tree in transportation mode it looks after its occupants (seeds), protects them from the duration of the journey and, when the conditions are correct, assembles and releases the seeds. The beauty and elegance of this process was inspiring.”
Though the concept is meant to be a basic proposal to provide a mobility solution to people living on the periphery of human occupation, it’s easy to envision it being embraced by the counterculture in densely populated urban areas. Its method of construction also allows for endless customization opportunities, which is an ever-evolving trend amongst automakers. It could even be offered in different versions or ‘grades’ to suit varying individual tastes.
Haynes doesn’t dismiss this scenario as a possibility, but notes another of the concept’s potential benefits:
“This isn’t just a future relief vehicle for the mobility deprived but a potential model and idea to rethink the manufacturing process of vehicles,” he says. “Rather than stockpiling vehicles based on strategic forecasts, you could build an on-demand vehicle that could self-assemble upon arrival to provide transportation to people. The way we manufacture vehicles has stayed the same for 50 years, maybe it’s time to make a change.”
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