London Motor Week: Presentation of Intelligent Mobility in the Future

On Monday 30 October, the Club’s annual London Motor Week kicked off with a fascinating display of innovative design, as post-graduate Art and Design students of the Royal College of Art’s Intelligent Mobility Faculty presented their ideas on how they visualise autonomous motoring in 2030 meeting mobility needs for people who are currently excluded or poorly served by disability or other constraints. Working in conjunction with the Club and the College, the choice of topic for the project was defined by the RAC Foundation who cite this as a real issue in our developing society.

Steve Gooding, Director of the Foundation, said: ‘We hear a good deal about how driverless car technology will grant freedom and independence for disabled people, so we wanted to invite the designers of the future to show us how they would go about making this a reality. The results are genuinely creative and thought-provoking.’

The RAC Foundation set out a brief to the students, to empathise with those who have specific mobility needs and create new solutions to make travel more enjoyable, healthy, safe and affordable. The eight proposed solutions presented at the Royal Automobile Club were designed while imagining London mobility in 2030, making use of advances in technology and materials, including autonomy and artificial intelligence.

The students worked directly with members of the public who are challenged by existing transport options, creating and recording the entire design process through to their design solution. This way, the students had the ability to monitor and understand each individual’s currently unmet needs and use this knowledge to create urban interventions and alternatives which could enhance and enable their mobility.

Guest speaker, Keith Richards, the Chairman of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, congratulated the students for their work, noting that the best design starts with a thorough understanding of user needs; with a rapidly aging population designing with mobility constraints in mind is becoming more important than ever.

‘A total of 13 million people in the UK are disabled, accounting for 20 per cent of the population. But it isn’t the people that are disabled, it’s the society we create that disables people. Mobility is what keeps people active and these designs the students have created enable people rather than disable them. Technologically, we’ve come a long way in 30 years but as we look to the future, we need to improve the technology that’s already in place, rather than always strive to find something new. Familiarity promotes confidence and, combining design intelligence with innovation is the key to accessibility and freedom. For those suffering with mental and physical disabilities, often leaving the front door is the most difficult part of travel and designs such as the ones the students have created help promote freedom and the ability for everyone to be self-reliant.’

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To see the events taking place during London Motor Week, please click here.

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