From electric, encased motorcycles to self-driving vehicles, there are plenty of reasons for automotive enthusiasts to get excited about the future. But one recent concept developed at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City delivers on many of these fronts, unveiling a design that combines hybrid propulsion with automated driving systems in a compact, 3-wheel vehicle.
The innovative combination won the team of automotive design students recognition as Autodesks' November Inventor of the Month. The student team — comprised of Julio Valenzuela, Monserrat González, Pablo Ramírez and Carlos Vásquez — used Autodesk from the sketching stage (via SketchBook Pro) to their virtual modeling of the vehicle (via Maya) and even 3D motion animations with Autodesk Inventor.
The students were directed by their professor, Juan José Ramos to design a green car for a densely-populated megacity, where compact design and minimal pollution would be key. The team responded by proposing that the Aurora (their design) feature a magnetic propulsion system for power, complemented by a suspension that charges the battery as it absorbs shock.
As for self-driving elements, the Aurora includes virtual interactive controllers connected to smart traffic clearinghouses, automated driving systems, and computers stored within the driver's home and office. These features would not only give the 'driver' increased freedom when behind the wheel, but by linking to personal computers the user may be able to access key files before they even reach the office that morning. In the coming years, perhaps 'taking your work home with you' will become a more literal problem than it has been in the past, as meetings and transactions begin to take place within the vehicle.
But that's just one possible scenario from one concept car. The Aurora concept was picked up by General Motors Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE) in 2012 to participate in the “Innovative Mobility Solutions (IMS)” global contest, winning the Monterrey team “Best Creative Research” and “Best Concept Development” prizes.
As for now, despite or perhaps because of Aurora's ambition, the concept remains just that. Whether the future really does hold cars of its design, only time will tell.
Full story at In the Fold