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Gesture-controlled Audi wins VDA Design Award

Wed, 25 Sep 2013

The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) has announced the winner of its 2013 Design Awards, which asked students from across the world to submit their final graduating projects completed between October 2011 and July 2013.

Eric Leong from Sweden's Umeå Institute of Design, came in first place with his 'Audi Elite' project, earning himself €4,000.

Leong's single-person vehicle can be controlled using the entire body through gestures and movements, and adapts to the needs of the driver, giving them more control. The judges called it "an extraordinary concept that integrates the driver more strongly again in operating the vehicle".

Second place – along with €3,000 – goes to Gaurang Rajan Nagre from the National Institute of Design, India, for his ‘Future cars for General Motors – 2030' degree thesis project, which explored urban transportation solutions.

A tall, economical vehicle with a small footprint, its modular design allows it to be used as a single-person vehicle or for several passengers. It's designed to be easy to park, have ample storage space and easier egress and ingress, while upper seats on a second level face each other for a more personal, sociable environment.

Australia's Monash University student Kirk Dyer took home €2,000 and third place with his ‘Mukana – An Open Source Vehicle for Africa' Bachelor thesis. This flexible truck concept, designed for developing countries, uses local production facilities and an open-source system that allows owners to customize it to their own needs whilst taking advantage of local materials and skills to to boost the local economy. It was recognized for its field of use and its practical design.

A Special Mention and €1,000 went to Markus Kurkowski from the University of Darmstadt for his ‘Beyond' caravan concept that features an aerodynamic exterior reminiscent of a tent. Inside, it can be adapted for individual users, with emphasis on the elderly and disabled.

The jury said, "It is an extremely interesting concept that gives the caravan cliché a positive spin and raises the image of campers. Alongside the precise, effective interior design the link between inside and outside is particularly eye-catching."

Organized by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and the German Design Council, the competition carried the theme of ‘The Future of Transportation Design' and saw 101 students from over 20 different countries submitting work.

The projects were judged by a panel of automotive experts – including Wolfgang Egger, head of design, Audi, and Adrian von Hooydonk, senior vice president BMW Group Design – for criteria such as conceptual and visionary quality, degree of innovation, design and presentation quality, and the technical realization of the project.

Check out the gallery for all the exhibited projects.

By Rufus Thompson