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Here Are The Greatest Hits Of The Legendary Car Design Group That Just Went …



Published 1:00 pm, Saturday, April 12, 2014

Article source: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Here-Are-The-Greatest-Hits-Of-The-Legendary-Car-5397768.php

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Volvo’s New Child Car Seat Inflates In 40 Seconds


It’s never a good urban parenting moment. You jam the heavy car seat you’ve lugged to the curb into the back of your car, while simultaneously jamming yourself half in, too. Then you twist into a pretzel to secure the seat to the seat belt. And there’s no cutting corners. All 50 states require you to put your baby in a child seat and 48 states want you to use a booster seat as they get older, based on certain weight requirements. You have no choice.

Today, Volvo revealed a new concept that could change the industry. What’s so great about it? It’s inflatable. It fits in a bag.

Rather than being constructed out of rigid plastic and metal, their seat uses heavy duty drop-stitch fabric–the same stuff you’ll find in outdoor gear such as inflatable rafts. So you can pull that car seat out of a bag, and watch it balloon into a seat. It does this amazing feat in 40 seconds, thanks to a silent internal pump. You can even set it to inflate from your phone via Bluetooth, if you’re into that extra effort.

The seat is designed to be rear-facing, which would imply that it’s designed for children up to about age three. Otherwise, there are almost no other details available at this time. Volvo has no immediate plans to bring it to market.

While it’s certainly a compelling concept–it inflates like magic!–it’s dubious whether it offers suburban parents much of an advantage. Because they can strap in a car seat and leave it there for years. No car rentals, no walk-ups. And while car seats are bulky and heavy, some have more than one use. Infant seats, for example, click conveniently into strollers, and have a handle–which creates a fun grab-and-go concept for your little one.

That said, parents have a lot of gear. Is an inflatable car seat worth it or another luxury? What if the design were built right into Volvo cars, allowing a spontaneous pop-up child seat when you need one? Now that has appeal.

Article source: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3029010/volvos-new-child-car-seat-inflates-in-40-seconds

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Future car designs: sleeker, safer and more efficient – AM


By Alisdair Suttie

Motorshows are a chance for car designers to show off to their peers and the wider world with concept cars. These one-off machines often give a strong hint of what we can expect to see in the future, but what trends separate the fanciful from the practical?

The Geneva Motor Show is the ideal place to find out where form meets function in design and where automotive design is headed. We spoke to a number of leading designers to identify the trends that will influence how cars will look both outside and in.

         ♦ See AM’s gallery of the latest cars unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show

Far and away the biggest influence for every designer we spoke to is legislation. While this is nothing new – legislation has dictated car design since the 1950s, as safety and then environmental regulations became ever stricter – it is also a constantly moving set of goal posts that need to be factored in to car design.

Malcolm Ward, General Motors Europe’s director of exterior design, says: “Legal stuff will always be with us, but occupant and pedestrian safety are the main areas we are focusing on.

“Designers need to carefully consider how to manage the safety of pedestrians in a collision when styling a car. This means not only understanding where the hard points of the front end of the car lie, such as the engine and suspension turrets, but how the shape of the car can better absorb a collision and guide the pedestrian more gradually to lessen any impact.”

Other designers concur, but Hyundai’s Thomas Burkle, chief designer at the Korean firm’s European Technical Centre, believes legislation also needs to adapt to changing design. He says: “There must come a moment in the near future where those making the rules will change them to allow carmakers to introduce more advanced technologies.” Burkle is talking about some of the technology incorporated into Hyundai’s Intrado concept small SUV, such as the panoramic rear view mirror operated by tailgate-mounted cameras.

Drivers are currently not allowed to look at a display while driving, but Burkle says this will change as more cars rely on cameras to inform them of hazards.

 

The for and against of hi-tech weight-saving materials

He is also a great advocate of new materials, such as the extensive use of carbon fibre in the Intrado’s structure to reduce its weight. This has the combined effect of increasing efficiency, but also offsets the weight of the hydrogen fuel cell it uses for propulsion.

Article source: http://www.am-online.com/news/2014/4/10/future-car-designs-sleeker-safer-and-more-efficient/34816/

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He’s bringing sexy back to car design


He’s bringing sexy back to car design




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Modern car design is a difficult balancing act that weighs style against substance; price versus performance; safety, fuel efficiency and other government regulations, in vehicles that too often fail to inspire.

But Ralph Gilles has tasked himself with bringing the sexy back to Chrysler. Responsible for two of the company’s most eye-catching modern vehicles – the brutishly elegant 300 sedan and slinky Viper super car – the 44-year-old senior vice president of design for the Detroit automaker is turning his eye …

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Article source: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/car-608140-design-chrysler.html

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Meet the king of Italian car design


Lorenzo Ramaciotti doesn’t look like a car designer. At least, not a car designer as we’ve come to recognise car designers in recent years. No black polo neck, no set-square glasses, no postured references to a car’s lines evoking, say, “the powerful calmness of a lion” (© Volvo styling boss Thomas Ingenlath, 2013). Ramaciotti, with his loose suit and Harry Potter spectacles, looks more geography teacher than Steve Jobs, and speaks with self-deprecating clarity unbefitting of the greatest car designer still putting pen to paper.

But without Lorenzo, our carscape would look far, far duller. Ramaciotti started his career at Pininfarina in 1973 and stayed with the design house for over 30 years, as its design director for the latter two decades. In that time, he was responsible for the sign-off of some of the most beautiful cars of recent years, including the Ferrari 456, 550 and Enzo, along with the Maserati Birdcage concept and – a TG favourite – the Peugeot 406 Coupe. After hanging up his pencil at Pininfarina in 2005, Ramaciotti was coaxed out of retirement to head global design for Fiat-Chrysler, where he’s overseen (among others) the Maserati GT and Alfa 4C.

Almost pathologically self-effacing, Ramaciotti doesn’t like to dwell on his glittering CV, or revel in career highlights (“I have been responsible for 30 production cars and 25 concept. Most of them, I think, were not bad,” he shrugs with annoying modesty). He’s far happier on his specialist subject: the history of Italian car design and, specifically, a small handful of designers in the Fifties and Sixties who created so many of history’s most beautiful cars.

“I think Italians are more open to new experiences. We are always trying to… push the boundaries,” he says, with the faintest hint of a raised eyebrow. “In the Fifties, when all the rest of Europe was doing cars that looked like the Thirties, Italian designers had already moved to a more modern shape. It was the first place where there was really a turnaround in designing cars.”

History concurs. After World War II, while Britain’s designers were still churning out cars with running boards, the Italian design houses were busy ushering in the modern design era with the Ferrari 166 S, Alfa’s Disco Volante and dozens of others that, even today, look cutting-edge and utterly fist-biting. But, TopGear asks, is it possible to even talk about ‘Italian design’? Ferraris have always looked different from Lamborghinis, which have always looked very different from Alfas. Isn’t ‘Italian design’ as nebulous a concept as ‘American music’? Lorenzo doesn’t believe so.

“Italian design has always been about balance and simplicity,” he says. “There is a care in finding the right balance. Of course, there are different interpretations of the same school. It’s like painting. Not every painter from the same school does the same paintings, as there is always a personal interpretation. You can be square and aggressive, or you can be softer and rounder.

“It was always like this. Different interpreters of the same school. Even in the Fifties and Sixties, Pininfarina had a more classical approach, whereas Bertone was more outrageous.

The design of Bertone in the Countach and Miura gave birth to the outrageous design of Lamborghini today, and the design of Pininfarina to Ferrari: more classic, less flamboyant. But both are about balance of proportion. Even now, Italian design has the same approach to proportions, simplicity, balance.”

Hang on. Even if it existed in the past, in this interconnected, global modern world, isn’t the idea of an ‘Italian design language’ a bit… outdated? “It’s true that in the Fifties, the cultural identities of cars were very much related to nations,” concurs Lorenzo. “Today, in the design centre in Fiat, we have 14 nationalities represented. Still, I believe a lot in… imprinting.

The philosophy of a company is woven into its environment. Today, Italian design, more than a passport, is a state of mind.” An evocative notion: that the timeless elegance of, say, the Maserati GranCabrio reflects not the nationality of its designers, but rather the architecture, the landscape, even the food of Italy. Its designers may hail from Seoul to São Paulo, but where else but Italy could have cooked up the Alfa 8C or the Lambo Veneno?

Given his evangelism for Italian design, when TopGear asks Ramaciotti which current marque’s design he most admires, the answer is a trifle surprising. Not the extravagant creations of Pagani, not even the screw-you angularity of Lamborghini. “I admire the brands that have established a clear identity,” says Lorenzo. “Like Land Rover. And Audi.” Audi? Master of the photocopy-scale-button school of design? Lorenzo nods. “They are speaking a language of continuity, with a lot of quality.”

Welcome to the modern world of design, where brand and ‘family face’ is all. For better or worse, there’s no denying that when you’re being tailgated at a distance of six inches by an Audi, you know it’s an Audi. Even so, will petrolheads in 50 years really get misty-eyed over the A7 in the way we do today about the Ferrari 250 California or Jaguar E-type? Isn’t it odd that, despite the billionfold increase in computing power and production techniques, designers today struggle to create cars as beautiful as those simple, elegant post-war classics?

Ramaciotti raises an eyebrow. “Recently, we have been through a time of… over-design and visual noise,” he says. “There are so many cars around, and all the manufacturers are competing in the same segment. You have to scream to be noticed. I hope for a reverse in the trend, towards something more simple and more clean. That’s what I’d like to do.

Article source: http://www.topgear.com/uk/photos/meet-the-king-of-italian-car-design-2014-04-02

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BART unveils new car design


BART has unveiled its concept for its next generation of train cars, coming soon-ish to a station near you. (Photo courtesy of BART)

If you ever wondered what the future of BART will look like, you’ll get a chance to get a sneak peek in a couple weeks.

BART will be debuting its next generation of cars at a series of public viewings starting April 16 in Justin Herman Plaza.

The new cars, made by Bombardier Transportation Corporation, are set to roll out with a host of new features, including digital information screens, noise-reducing doors and new padded seats, which BART promises are easier to clean than that dingy upholstery currently collecting germs on BART cars.

The new design is based on the feedback of more than 17,000 BART riders who apparently decided that the color scheme of the Seattle Seahawks was the best we could do for the new seat cushions.

The interior of the new BART cars, with cleaner seats, more handholds and Seahawks themed seats. (Photo courtesy of BART)

Other changes to the new cars:

  • Fewer seats with more room for standing and bicycles
  • Lower handholds for short folks
  • Taller ceilings for tall folks
  • Racks for storing up to three bikes per car
  • Upgraded cooling systems to avoid those steamy sauna cars

 

The cars won’t actually start rolling on tracks until sometime in 2015, and even then, they’ll only be in use outside of normal operating hours for testing and evaluation.

Assuming that testing goes well, 140 of the new cars are scheduled to go into service in 2017, with more added each year until the fleet is fully replaced by 2021.

If you just can’t wait to get your peek, BART has whipped up this teaser video to give you a glimpse of how the new cars will look.

 

Article source: http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2014/04/03/bart-unveils-new-car-design/

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For GM, unsafe car design now means having to say you’re sorry


It’s been nearly 50 years since a General Motors executive made a public apology before Congress, acknowledging that the giant car maker had hired private detectives to harass a young, crusading lawyer for auto safety by the name of Ralph Nader.

The March 1966 hearing was as riveting in its time as GM chief Mary Barra’s apology for faulty ignition switches was Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Barra, who just took over the helm of the GM in January, went before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s panel on Oversight and Investigations to acknowledge GM’s failure to recall the switches, which have been linked to 13 deaths.

“Today’s GM will do the right thing,” she said. “That begins with my sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected by this recall _ especially to the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured. I am deeply sorry.”

To Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Nader-founded Center for Auto Safety, Barra’s contrition was a defining moment.

“This is the first public apology by a top GM executive since 1966,” he said. “That’s the significance.”

Ditlow said that while the car industry has been responsible for other safety flaws since then, “GM does not apologize easily.”

In 1966, GM president James Roche apologized at a televised Senate subcommittee hearing for the “kind of harassment to which Mr. Nader has apparently been subjected.”

The year before, Nader had published his groundbreaking investigation, “Unsafe at Any Speed,” a book that exposed the American auto industry as prioritizing design and comfort over safety. Chief among his examples were design flaws in GM’s popular Corvair.

GM’s investigation of Nader included reportedly tapping his phones and hiring prostitutes to lure him into a compromising position. The car maker wanted to discredit him, or as a young Sen. Robert Kennedy, D-N.Y., who served on the Senate committee, said at the time, “possibly blackmail” him.

Nader sued GM and settled for $425,000, a record at the time. He used the money to fund his consumer activist organizations, staffed by what came to be known as “Nader’s Raiders.”


Email: mrecio@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @maria_e_recio.

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Article source: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/01/6286944/for-gm-unsafe-car-design-now-means.html

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Ford Australia Is Building An Ultra HD Virtual Car Design Lab


Ford Australia has a problem. The company’s design lab is too small for its virtual cars. A brand new upgrade to its virtual reality lab in Broadmeadows will help Ford engineers work on the design of its Australian and international vehicles, with an Ultra HD ‘immersion’ environment that lets designers interact with cars in near-reality quality without needing a full-size physical model.

The new Ford Australia Immersion Lab is running Autodesk VRED software and an Ultra HD display, enabling engineers to see internal and external vehicle elements in extremely high resolution, with VRED adding realistic, real-time lighting and shadow to more accurately reflect what the final product will look like when it rolls off the production line. Across the room, two car seats and a pair of Full HD head-mounted displays let designers sit inside virtual-reality models of Ford’s vehicles, giving them a better idea of the design of a car’s interior as they put it together.

The Australian Immersion Lab follows Ford’s pioneering Michigan virtual design centre, which was unveiled in Dearborn in 2007. Virtual reality design lets the Ford teams create and prototype new exterior and interior design features without producing expensive one-off physical models, which are then discarded after a revised model is created.

In Broadmeadows, motion tracking lets designers move around inside and outside vehicles, mapping those movements to the head-mounted displays — giving the design and engineering teams the ability to look in and around Ford’s current and future cars, with their real-world motions represented 1:1 in the virtual studio. The problem with the previous system was that larger cars, like the latest Ford Ranger, were simply too big to have their interior and exterior models recreated at full virtual size — basically, engineers were bumping into the walls wearing virtual-reality headsets trying to look around.

Ford has been working on the Immersion Lab locally since 2012, but construction is finally nearing its completion. The lab itself will be complete in Australia in the third quarter of this year — we’ll try to bring you an in-depth tour when that happens.

Article source: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/03/ford-australia-is-building-an-ultra-hd-virtual-car-design-lab/

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Tesla Model X Was Tougher To Design Than Model S, Musk Says


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Tesla Model X – Official Debut, Los Angeles, February 2012

Enlarge Photo

If the Roadster was Tesla’s early gigging days and the Model S the debut release from a hot new band, the Model X crossover could be considered Tesla’s ‘difficult second album’.

Elon Musk has even hinted so himself, suggesting the car presents “a harder design problem than the Model S”.

According to Bloomberg (via Charged EVs), Musk blames himself for some of the delays the Model X is undergoing ahead of its production and sales in 2015–a date pushed back from original estimates.

“I’m somewhat of a perfectionist” he says, vocalizing the struggle to make something that’s normally a bit brash and lumbering–an SUV–both attractive and functional.

As a result, Tesla isn’t rushing into Model X production, nor revealing its final form until the company is truly happy with it. That’s possibly why there was no Model X–not even a prototype–on Tesla’s stand at Geneva.

Musk also noted that Model X delays have been partly down to ensuring the Model S was delivered with excellent service “in all geographies”. Rolling the car out into Europe and into Eastern markets has occupied quite a lot of the company’s time/

The good news for those who enthused about the prototype Model X is that the production car should be even better.

I really am quite insistent that the production version be superior to anything we’ve demonstrated before,” Musk told Bloomberg.

Tesla certainly needs to get the Model X right, with Musk suggesting demand for the car may even be above that of the Model S. Recent figures suggest the Model X may already have as many as 13,000 reservations across the world, with over 10,000 in the U.S. alone.

Autonomous vehicles are also taking up Tesla’s time right now, and are potentially only a few years away, according to Musk.

He says Tesla has possibly “the strongest autonomous driving team of any auto company”, and expects to be one of the first companies to offer significant autonomous driving functions in its vehicles.

Delays in the Model X shouldn’t affect the timetable for the smaller, more affordable Model E though. In part, Musk says cars like the Model X will help generate extra cash flow before the Model E, which he considers the company’s third-generation model.

That’s if the Model E isn’t also pushed back by Musk’s perfectionism, of course…

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Article source: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1091131_tesla-model-x-was-tougher-to-design-than-model-s-musk-says

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Designing Maserati’s Alfieri Concept Car: Video


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Maserati’s Alfieri Concept was one of the stars of the recent 2014 Geneva Motor Show, revealed out of the blue to celebrate the brand’s centenary this year. Recognizably a Maserati, it still features a very different design ethos to that of the company’s existing vehicles.

To explain the process that produced the Alfieri’s striking design, the company has launched a new video. The company is keen to stress a production Alfieri isn’t a certainty, but elements of the car’s design may well find their way onto future Maserati production cars. That it heralds a new design direction in the company’s hundredth year is significant–while also reassuring car fans the company still intends to produce stunning sports cars in its future.

In the video, Fiat Chrysler’s global design head Lorenzo Ramaciotti explains the ethos behind the Alfieri, a way of referring to the brand’s history and traditions, projected into the future. To that end it has a traditional 2+2 layout and drive to the rear wheels, but sleek, modern styling. Ramaciotti says much of the car’s inspiration came from one of the company’s most respected models, the Pininfarina-penned A6GCS/54 coupe. While direct influence is hard to spot, the car’s “mood” was much more instrumental in the Alfieri’s lines and details.

While computers were involved in the Alfieri’s design, much of the work was still completed via more traditional means–sketches took precedence over computer-generated images, and fine-tuning of the car’s shape was carried out on clay models so designers could get a real feel for the car’s subtle curves and proportions. Importantly, the car’s design needed to be stylish, a car of both present and future, without falling out of fashion. And the name? That’s timeless too–just like Ferrari’s Enzo, the Alfieri is named after one of the company’s founders.

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Article source: http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1091071_designing-maseratis-alfieri-concept-car-video

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