When College for Creative Design industrial design students look to the future they see sleek yachts, sporty cars with plastic components, compact urban tractors and personal transportation that looks like an insect.
The top floor of the annual CCS student show at the Taubman Center was home in May to the multiple drawings and models from rising juniors and graduating seniors specializing in transportation design. Here visitors could follow the process from solid idea and its reasoning to early and finished sketches, marketing and energy information and scale models – all of which obviously took many hours of preparation.
Noah Robinette of Ypsilanti, Mich. is a member of the spring 2015 CCS graduating class. His stunning Zephyrus model could ignite wanderlust even among those with little interest in sailing. Zephyrus, he said, is a world cruising yacht able to accommodate 10 guests and a crew of eight.
While he did not need to be too specific about building materials for the yacht, his drawings showed where things would go on the ship. “I tried to make it as practical as possible,” Robinette said, “and close to now, time-wise.”
Zephyrus, named for a god of the west wind, would be powered in and out of the harbor by two diesel generators. There would be separate sources of power for the needs of those on board, he said.
Automotive designer Jinyoung Yoon was responsible for the personal transportation model Go Solo that looked like something from a Batman movie. His display also included his drawings of an urban luxury vehicle concept called Urbain, with a Buick insignia and a materials connection to BASF chemicals.
The need for farming equipment adapted for use in cities captured the imagination of Suven Young-Harper. The CCS graduate’s graphics and descriptions included a short history of gasoline-powered tractors, how farm equipment has morphed into enormous machines for commercial farms and how a small, electric-powered urban tractor might find an enthusiastic market.
“I wish I had the means to actually make it because everybody likes it, and wants one for themselves,” Young-Harper said.
For his CaseIH mega-tractor concept, Young-Harper said he did not get much engineering information from CaseIH. The company was more interested in a new look plus unique functional options for its current lineup.
“I did what I could with the research I found on how their current tractors work, and put a spin on it that I believe would make it a little more comfortable and easier to navigate,” he said.
Young-Harper put the concept tractor cabin at the front so the operator could see the ground. Ground lights could be used during the busiest seasons when equipment might be used night and day. The young designer placed the engine mid-vehicle for better weight distribution and suggested tank tracks would keep the tractor from sinking in the fields.
Trucks for rallying, trucks for ecological research and trucks for urban dwellers wanting to haul stuff without making a mess of the truck interior were among the student projects.
One personal vehicle included a piggyback component that could be detached and submerged and would serve as an incubator for bio-diesel fuel produced by algae.
Other students tackled projects like giving new glamour to older brands like Buick or to newer ones like Scion.
Work focused on beauty and practicality – essential components for future vehicles from the next generation of designers.