Honda manager says effective auto design stretches well beyond the vehicle

Honda manager says effective auto design stretches well beyond the vehicle

The car is just one piece of the mobility pie that auto designers consider when pursuing new ideas.

Just take a look at autonomous cars.

While some consumers are reluctant to give up control of their cars to computers, there are many other scenarios outside of the vehicle itself that designers have to consider.

Before Honda’s Advanced Design Studio forges ahead on a new idea, for instance, it must come up with a detailed scenario to serve as a template. Once the Honda studio has a scenario in place, designers can then fill this hypothetical world with futuristic creations.

Jason Wilbur, manager of Honda’s Advanced Design Studio, shared such a scenario centered on Los Angeles during an Automotive Press Association Event today in Detroit.

If self-driving cars become the norm, will six-lane freeways be necessary?

Wilbur forecasted that only two lanes could be needed one day, with one lane designated for commercial purposes. The additional space, he said, could be used for farming and other purposes.

When looking beyond the vehicle during the design process, Wilbur said, one starts to realize that it’s part of a much bigger system. Then designers can step in and fit their ideas into it.

When developing future products, Honda’s Advanced Design Studio team members must separate themselves from what they already know, Wilbur said. The studio looks for designers who aren’t happy with the status quo.

“The idea is to honestly look at people’s situations and look at what their situation is now and then try to think about what possible scenarios are there going to be in the future,” Wilbur said.

“You paint those pictures and you use those scenarios in order to then use it almost as the foundation, or template, or map that you then populate with products and services. Then you try to figure out how much value those could possibly have.”

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