Volvo VISE

University essay from Umeå universitet/Designhögskolan vid Umeå universitet

Abstract: Every year over 1.35 Million lives are lost to road accidents. Trucks are probably the most dangerous vehicles on public roads due to their size and mass. 15% of all accidents involve trucks and the majority of victims are car occupants. Most of these accidents happen outside of urban areas at high speeds. In the dawn of autonomous drive and electromobility the trucking industry has the opportunity to reinvent their products. Volvo Trucks is a company that has Safety in its DNA. Future Volvo trucks could be tailored around Safety to save lives and bring justice to this core value. Autonomy has the potential to make road accidents history in the long run. Before that becomes a reality, society will face a transitioning period where autonomous vehicles will share the space with manually driven vehicles. Communication between human and machine will be more important that ever. Product Designers must account also for situations where an accident is unavoidable. The focus of this project is to explore what safety means for the human eye. How do we perceive safety visually and how do we create trust? Trucks are versatile products built with modularity in mind. Manufacturers are responsible for delivering a capable tractor unit. Trailers and other accessories are built externally. Throughout the process of this project a holistic approach was adopted. The only way to have full control over the product experience is to design a complete product: trailer and tractor unit. Volvo Trucks experts are consulted along the way covering key points of interest such as Passive Safety, User Experience Design and Aerodynamics. Benchmarking of existing concepts sets a starting point. Initial explorations question the architecture of conventional trucks. Different set-ups and layouts are proposed. Each decision is made based on various safety needs of the future semi-autonomous traffic. Analog sketches and digital renderings of design proposals build the way towards a key sketch. The chosen design direction is further developed and built in CAD. The vehicle is designed with an eye on its environment. The link between truck and car, truck and human is the core of this project. This vehicle sheds light on the mystery of how autonomous vehicles will blend with traffic as it is known today. Focusing on long haul highway routs Volvo VISE is designed to execute hub to hub transport services autonomously. Signals used to communicate in road traffic are translated to the digital age. By being able to understand its environment and react to it, Volvo VISE comes to life with a soul of its own. Through various sensors and autonomous technology the vehicle measures each traffic situation and earns the trust of its surroundings through clear communication of intent. With soft and generous shapes the exterior design describes a friendly vehicle that wins over its audience at the first glance. Volvo VISE has a deeper understanding of safety. Beneath the skin and besides its capability to communicate, the vehicle is equipped with several passive safety features, taking control in every situation. Volvo VISE ensures road safety for all.

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