Clemson University, Toyota and Art Center College of Design yesterday revealed the latest generation of the ongoing Deep Orange series at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit. The Deep Orange student programme allows the next generation of engineers and designers to create the next generation of cars.
Deep Orange Six, called the Toyota uBox, is a flexible, electrically-powered monospace created for Generation Z buyers in the year 2020. “The typical customer for uBox is a young entrepreneur who wants a vehicle that can provide utility and recreation on the weekend but that can also offer office space or other career-centric or lifestyle uses during the week,” says Toyota.
This is the result of a two-year programme that involves students in every aspect of bringing a car to reality which started with understanding the needs and desires of the next generation of users. The findings suggested a highly-reconfigurable vehicle with excellent utility that appeals to those who are very brand conscious but not brand loyal.
Its exterior by Art Center’s Garett DeBry is a distinctive monovolume with particularly interesting skeletal, external A-pillars.
Meanwhile its interior, designed by Cedric Liu, features five seats that allow for multiple configurations as they slide along tracks to nest together, or be removed altogether. The centre console features retractable tables to allow for laptop workspaces, while a tablet serves as the main information source.
Certain interior elements such as air vents can be 3D printed from a community website from other members’ designs. Multiple electronic connections and power outlets are distributed throughout the car, most interestingly on the outside in order to power external equipment.
From an engineering standpoint, Clemson students experimented with an innovative pultrusion process that binds carbon fibre to aluminium for a lightweight but strong frame for the roof glazing.
Although this is the conclusion of the latest round of student work, the programme continues, with next year’s project – the Deep Orange 7 – being sponsored by Mini.