This is what mobility will look like in 2040: a bubble powered by hydrogen


Richard Newman wins the challenge from Lexus and the Royal College of Art in London to envision the vehicle of the future

Richard Newman faced the challenge of Lexus and the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London to imagine what the vehicle we would move into in 2040 would look like, from two starting locations. He first considered what mobility is like today and then imagined what it would look like 18 years from now. Newman figured that cars are currently banned in city centers and that the alternative is public transportation, mass transit, far from what a “premium” experience a brand like Lexus is looking for.

The other option to escape the overcrowding is to travel by bicycle or scooter, solutions depending on the weather, something very ecological that cannot be considered ‘premium’ either. This prompted Newman to envision a vertical take-off and landing craft as a future mobility solution. A ship with a
non-polluting fuel such as hydrogen

The winner of the Lexus challenge imagines that by 2040, people will be wearing technology implanted in their bodies and hyperconnected, allowing us to move efficiently. According to Newman, the solution is to live in the clouds. From there it was born, ALTO. A bubble resembling a hot air balloon, it was selected from six finalists in the Lexus 2040: the Soul of Future Premium program. The project challenged postgraduate students from the university’s Intelligent Mobility Design Center (IMDC) to explore new vehicle architectures to respond to the changes in European urban life and society and to explore the role Lexus could play as a luxury reimagining a mobility brand.

ALTO is a VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) vehicle powered by hydrogen, its hanging shape is inspired by hot air balloons and plant terrariums. Newman describes the vehicle as “a jewel in the sky, like a pendant on a cloud,” with a customizable exterior. The functionality of the design also allows for seamless attachment to the side of buildings when traveling home, to work or to entertainment venues.

“I wanted to create something that was quite challenging, which would raise eyebrows, but also make people laugh,” explains Newman from Coventry, UK. “It turned out to be quite an organic design process and the changes I needed became very apparent during the program, with input from the Lexus designers.”

The six-month program included mentoring and evaluation sessions with:
Ian Cartabiano Yes
Lance Scottrespectively President and Senior Manager of Lexus European Design Studio, ED 2, together with Professor
Dale HarrowPresident of IMDC, and Dr.
Chris Thorpe, director of RCA. Head of the Intelligent Mobility Programme. Author and design commentator Nargess Banks and senior representatives from Lexus Europe joined the jury to select the winner. In addition to the winner, two finalists were commended: Zhenyu Kong (China) for “Lexus #Units” and Ben Miller (Canada) for “Crucible”.

Lance Scott notes that all the designers have impressed them “with their thinking, their ideas and the breadth of their imaginations.”

Source: La Verdad


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