Automotive Design

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Automotive design
Automotive design is a complicated discipline. Although primarily concerned with the appearance of a vehicle, it is governed by various factors including security, safety and engineering - all of which have their own set of specialists. This means that as well as designing to very high standards, automotive designers must have excellent teamworking and communication skills, say Chris Clements and Dr Samantha Porter. Automotive design encompasses almost every aspect of a vehicle’s design that is readily visible to the customer - from the seats and steering wheel through to the door trims and the dashboard. There are many different makes of vehicle and design is used to bring a degree of distinctiveness to the aesthetics of a model, to make it stand out from the competition and meet consumer expectations. What influences automotive design?

Various considerations influence the design of a car. These include: •Branding - this takes into account a consumer’s taste and lifestyle aspirations and ensures the product is distinct enough to be desirable •Usability - a car must be comfortable and easy to use

Security - this includes theft prevention and pedestrian safety •Sustainability - this concerns issues like durability, recyclability and emissions •Engineering - everything from engineering packaging, materials, methods of manufacture to constraints of production methods and surface refinement Team working

The automotive design and production process is a multidisciplinary one. The entire team can consist of more than 500 people making effective communication crucial. The process must be highly disciplined with regular gateways (check-points) and targets set to measure how efficiently the different disciplines are working together. An efficient set-up can substantially reduce development time and costs. Communication tools used by the teams throughout the process include CAD, verbal skills, negotiation skills, telecommunications, video-conferencing and travel. The visualization skills possessed by the designers in various media are unique within the overall team and are powerful and compelling communication tools. The automotive design process

Typical stages of the automotive design process include: •Establishment of vehicle specification
The multi-disciplinary team establish parameters and decision points, ensuring the project runs to schedule •Discussion of first concept sketches
Designs are presented on theme boards and mood boards
Informal selection of concept sketches
The design team pick out their favorite sketches
Management review of concept sketches
CAD models are produced for marketing research purposes
2D market research
Concepts are shown to members of the public for their comments •Presentation of reworked concepts
Reworked concepts are presented again, taking into account market research feedback •Approval for detailed engineering
Full-size clay models are produced. These are often made using CAD data and hand-finished •3D market research
Full-size exterior and interior concept models are shown to members of the public. One concept is selected, informed by public opinion •Final approval of 3D model
The management team gives final approval to one model which is then fully resolved as a three-dimensional clay model •Final feasibility development of chosen concept
The full-size clay model is scanned and a new 3D digital model produced. Other engineering disciplines are then responsible for the feasibility of the final design in terms of operation and manufacture •Final approval of the design

A particular characteristic of the way that automotive design operates is the complete integration of the design team in the business process. The design team is involved from the inception of the product right through to its launch and is an essential part of the automotive manufacturing business The design team will have specific influence on the...
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