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CCS - AISI project 2007

Wed, 26 Sep 2007

The college for Creative Studies (CCS) has been teaming up with the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) since 1989, bringing together imaginative automotive design and steel, the material of choice in the industry. As did last year's program, this summer also saw three engineering students from the University of Michigan (UM) join three CCS transportation design students to develop a concept car.

Revolving around an 'Inside Out' theme, students conceptualized, rendered and created a concept vehicle based on a steel exoskeleton design. Envisioning an exposed steel safety exoskeleton, the car designers and engineers were encouraged to stretch their imaginations, designing concept cars that were entirely unique whilst incorporating advanced high-strength steel and safety technologies.

Dodge Dendro - by Nicolas Ren Stone (CCS) and Alok Pradhan (UM)

This 'powerfully venomous sports car' was inspired by nature. By taking the automobile and applying evolutionary design principles and new technologies in steel, the goal was to explore the possibilities for the next generation of cars. Utilizing an exoskeleton frame to enclose the occupants the unique triangle shape allowed for the absence of a typical B-pillar and employed the front grille as an intrinsic part of the structure rather than mere decoration. The bumpers - connected through a long vertical structure traveling the length of the car (through the interior) - anchor the structure while providing stiffness to the rear 'tail bone', which also doubles as the trunk. The frame design, built from steel technology currently being developed for airplane wings, combines the strength of exoskeletons with the flexibility of a snake. The concept's body panels actually flex with the vehicle - becoming an active part of the suspension - and they appear as skin, tightly stretched over the ridged exoskeleton. This vehicle is as much creature as it is machine.

Jeep Roanoke - by Tyler Mars (CCS) and Zoheb Kahn (UM)

An 'aggressively styled off-road vehicle', the Roanoke is designed and engineered for 20-35 year olds that have a passion for the outdoors and are mindful of the economy and environment. This concept has a very aggressive theme with force and direction in every line, but it was created not only for performance and drivability, but also for clean air and economy. The mid-engined layout is ideal for handling and weight distribution while the 'Tweel' wheel and suspension design eliminates the risk of a blowout, adding to the overall intimidating character of the vehicle. The exposed framework around the cabin is comprised of hydroformed high-strength steel to emphasize the exoskeleton theme. To improve safety, advanced high-strength steel is used strategically throughout the chassis in key areas, such as the side-impact beams and exposed bumpers. Along with the high-strength frame, advancements in technology also include a clean V6 turbo-diesel engine, which is environmentally friendly and provides excellent low-end torque and fuel economy, making the Roanoke an ideal vehicle for off- and on-road excursions.

Pontiac Hematon - by Timothy O'Donnell (CCS) and Jennifer Hoskins (UM)

A motorcycle is considered the ultimate thrill to be had on the street, and this is where the Hematon draws its inspiration. But the concept is also 'a sports car inspired by life, for the power elite who never follow'. Incorporating efficiency, fun and safety, the project was designed to appeal to 20-30 year olds looking for a second car for fun or for a primary mode of transportation that is both efficient and affordable. Intended as a competitor to high-end sport bikes and sports cars under $30,000, the concept mimics the exposed frame and integrated body parts of sport motorcycles. By pushing the frame out to the surface of the body it becomes a visible reassuring reminder to the driver that there is a structurally sound, high-strength steel exoskeleton protecting them at all times. Knife-edge intersections with elegant flowing horizontal lines combine in the structure, capturing a viewer's attention and guiding the eye 360 degrees around the car. The nose is an aggressive design that implies forward motion (inspired by the Pontiac Grand American Rolex race cars) while the rear houses a series hybrid drivetrain and features vents to cool vital engine parts; comparable to the look of a motorcycle's air-cooled engine. From a safety perspective, the chassis incorporates high-strength hydroformed side and rear rails and a rollover bar - that connects to a central rail - to protect the driver, rendering the A-pillars obsolete. A steel beam provides a solid structure running the width of the car, bracing the seats and enabling the energy from a side impact to be transferred away from the occupants. Lightweight hydroformed and stamped body panels provide package space and permit the knife-edge styling to flow seamlessly from exposed frame to painted body surface.


Related Stories:
CCS - American Iron and Steel Institute project 2006
CCS - American Iron and Steel Institute Challenge 2005