2019-05-30

DESIGN STORY

" WITH:US, Level 5 Autonomous Shuttle (2019) "

WITH:US is a level 5 fully self-driving shuttle that runs at low speeds in the city, providing passengers with personalized comfort and convenience.

About WITH:US

 

WITH:US is a mobility solution to pursue more efficient and smart commute using existing transportation infrastructure. Self-driving technology and public transportation services are combined to provide all people with a better mobility experience. It is different from conventional transportation services in that users can use it according to demand at desired time and place.

Until now, the concept of shuttle has been a solution that moves as many people as possible cheaply.

WITH:US broke this convention and improved the quality of travel by combining fully self-driving technology while providing the best comfort and personalized convenience. During periods of high demand, it runs along a designated route, and during normal times it can be called by the app to travel to a given destination on time. In particular, it will enhance the quality of mobility experience in areas where transportation infrastructure is weak.

The beginning of an idea

With only some of foreign companies in the self-driving shuttle sector in the prototype and commercialization stage, the design started from a complete white ground at a time when there was no market and customers had to be pioneered due to the lack of regulations in Korea yet. KLIO design team shared the vision of creating a new smart mobility segment between traditional cars and public transportation, and started to think about what to create.

 

"Under the slogan of the 4th industrial revolution,

what is smart public transportation with self-driving technology that still looks like a distant future?"

We thought about how these cold, distant technologies and the concept of unmanned shuttles will come closer to our real lives and allow many people to enjoy the benefits. And at the heart of this innovation, we wanted to show that even small companies could find a market and make a difference.

Design direction

"What are the shapes you've been familiar with since childhood, the uncomplicated tools you can use every day, the faces of babies that instinctively soften people's minds, and the essential beauty that has become a product that you can't get tired of over time? 

A city already complex, full of cars with fierce eyes, angry faces, and busy modern people living breathlessly around. Let's make it look simple. Breaking away from the traditional idea of public transportation which is full of people in a small space, it should provide comfortable, comfortable living quarters and personalized conveniences.

Effective customization is possible based on appropriate standards. Let's eliminate unnecessary elements and pursue proper design that is faithful to the basics. Three design principles have been established as follows.

   " Simplicity"                        "Habitability"                   "Expandability"

​Idea in early stage

The process of sketching simple and geometric body design concepts

Symmetrical Mono Volume Body Design Concept

As cars become electronic and self-driving, the most noticeable changing part will be interior space. Various concept designs have recently been tried to fundamentally shake the layout, as everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, resting and working will take place within a moving space. 

WITH:US self-driving shuttle basically started with the concept of interior space in public transport, which provides equal comfort within a safe range for all passengers.  While maintaining the idea of building a house where six passengers live comfortably on a self-driving platform equipped with four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering chassis components, radar, GPS, IMU, camera, and electronic and air-conditioning components, it has to draw the most compact dimension in terms of space efficiency.

Self-driving moves on its own. Passengers are left fully dependent on the vehicle and do not intervene in peripheral perception, judgment or control, so standing in the vehicle may not allow them to lock themselves up on stop or start. For this reason, the height of the loop was set in a position where adults could not stand. In addition, in order to maintain low-rise conditions for children and the elderly to easily board, battery packs were placed in front and rear of the vehicle, unlike the trend of electric vehicles on which batteries are laid on the floor. With the disappearance of the driver's seat, dashboard and center console, the air conditioning system naturally found a different location. To keep the indoor space at its fastest temperature, it moves to the roof and looks like a ceiling-type air conditioner installed at home or office.

Three basic types of exterior and interior were derived and the direction were reviewed according to the volume change of appearance, type of seat, etc. within the same dimension.

The design of self-driving shuttles, which will run at low speeds from close range, will be less important for aerodynamic, directional forms that traditional high-speed cars have. And the prospect of a gradual entry into the era of complete self-driving, which would also eliminate the driver who will no longer be able to look at the cool back of the car, has fundamentally rediscovered the approach to exterior design.

Full-flat glass was applied in consideration of the small quantity batch production methods with proper cost strategy. But at the same time, we tried to shed the unstable image given by the boxcar and pod car types, which are increasing the visual center of gravity. We also tried to find a sense of balance with design elements such as rich volume & round, two-tone treatment that connects to the body so that the glass doesn't look flat, intermediate surfaces for absorbing tolerances, optimized cross section treatment and wheel arch volume for overall stable stance.

Due to the current transitional law, which is a mix of non-self-driving vehicles and pedestrians, mass-production lamp modules were inevitably applied. At the same time, in order to escape the limitations of facial design, we tried to choose the optimal lamp module combination and light source location, and used these constraints in reverse to create the iconic look of WITH:US.

A door that used to be called a side door in a conventional car has been redefined as "a main gate" in a self-driving shuttle. The interior and exterior displays that can provide information in an appropriate location, sliding doors that are fully opened without threatening passengers in the minimum space, the location of the pillars that does not harm the comfort of existing occupants even when the door is fully open, and the opening line that flows over the loop to minimize the time required to bend the head upon boarding, are the result of design consideration for users.

As a designer, a design team and a design agency, it's a great pleasure to be able to create the concept of a new product from scratch.

The idea of drawing a proper base is very important. This is because it provides the basis for fundamentally rearranging the layout to meet the purpose of the product and creating an intuitive design language that will empathize with and communicate with users. During the design process, designers can become an imaginary user, try to use the product, suppress the shortcomings, and reinforce the good points so that the intended experience can be communicated well. If this is well communicated to actual users, the intended design can lead people's lives in a better direction.

Digital design process innovation

Traditionally, transportation device designs have a considerable number of constraints to consider, such as ergonomics, styling, and harmonization of functions. The company will also produce small scale models, seating-buck, real-size foam models and clay models before drawing the final design during the development process. 

The reason for this interim verification model is that no matter how visually or numerically aligned on a monitor, the overall balance is broken by unseen errors has increased by tens of times in real-world sizes, or reduction of details that seemed to be important. For the purpose of reducing these errors, temporary entities are constructed from loose materials and all stakeholders are gathered together to look and review. The reason why this process cannot be skipped is that the return cost will be astronomical if it moves on the next step without verification of the critical requirements.

Self-driving cars should serve as a mobile platform for sustainable products and services as an efficient solution throughout smart cities, not as a single independent vehicle. That is why it is more emphasized that the efficiency of product development should be pursued through standardized platforms, modularization and compatibility with established components rather than subtle styling and detail expressions. In particular, since synergies through collaboration with small and medium-sized companies and universities that are significantly understaffed in resources as well as automakers are very important, sustainable process research is essential to pursue low-cost, high-efficiency rates in the development process.

Autonomous mobility design concept with extreme modularity from parts to panels

(Source : KLIO DESIGN)

When you're working on a real project and you're faced with real problems like time and cost, regardless of size, the process of finding new ways to make it possible will be design process innovation itself. We attempted a design process that could replace intermediate verification models by 3D sketching software that is currently under development at 'SketchLab' of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

Even during the initial idea sketch stage, we verified the 'macro package check', which checks the layout of ergonomic convenience, spaciousness, posture, chassis parts and convenience components, 'balance and proportion check', which checks the main direction and stance of interior and exterior designs, and 'key line check' to confirm the design intent and propensity of major curves in real-time using VR.

" Magic of 3D Design: The process of deriving the best keylines for solving a complex puzzle. "

confirmed 3D sketch curve exported to IGES file

Choice and Concentration

Many design projects are not easy to take to one consistent direction, from a luscious modeling stage to the final outcome stage. The reason is that critical design requirements are not reflected in the beginning, or because of a variety of emotional design factors that cannot be determined until a model is created, the changing market trends always redirect and reverse. Of course, design has no answer, so you can explore new ideas indefinitely.

Time of reason and Insight

Time of act

The first half of the project requires time for reason and insights, and the second half for implementation, and they are traded off. However, for realistic projects with budget and deadline set, failure to fix direction quickly may result in poor quality time. So at some point you have to choose one idea.

At a time when design direction needs to be fixed, the surrounding relationships, e.g., engineering conditions, and manufacturing methods, are not completely defined. Because they are complementary to design and pass through the same identification phase, waiting passively for the detailed engineering conditions to be completely defined or until the manufacturing method is completely established may result in reduced time to improve final design quality. Therefore, designers should show leadership in providing engineering and production ideas, or even marketing-related ideas, while maintaining a pace that is slightly ahead of their collaborative colleagues around. It also requires experience and insight to identify priorities among many requirements.

The process of gradually improving balance, proportion and volume while working with surrounding requirements

Teamwork required throughout the project

A lot of teamwork with design, engineering and model team is also required during the prototyping process. The tasks that designers should be involved in, such as removing assembly tolerances for all parts, specifying accurate color coding, specifying fabric materials considering direction and degree of expansion, identifying design improvements and providing detailed design solutions are all the way through the process. In other words, designers act as orchestra conductors in the whole process of setting up a vision for a project and making it tangible, rather than simply a person who draws a picture.

The moment ideas and visions become real and open to the public

The fully self-driving shuttle WITH:US was unveiled on March 28, 2019, at the press day of the "2019 Seoul Motor Show" in KINTEX.

WITH:US literally means a shuttle with us all the time, and can be produced together by 15 domestic companies in Korea(Make with us), many people can ride together through public transportation (Ride with us), and all passengers aboard can enjoy artificial intelligence-based content(Play with us).

For 11 years since its establishment in 2008, the company has been specializing in self-driving solutions, including self-driving cars, self-driving tractors and sprayers, self-driving shuttles and self-driving logistics robots. The self-driving technology so far has been considered a researcher-centered future technology for researchers, but since WITH:US, it will be considered comfortable as a living technology that exists close to our real lives.

Developments in digital simulation tools that designers can leverage

Simulation tools have traditionally been the domain of engineering. 'Discovery Live' is a software that lowered the threshold for non-specialists to intuitively use digital simulations to check their ideas.

Prior to going to the detailed modeling phase, a rough conceptual model can be built to explore a better alternative, even at the early stage of ideation

Design elements directly related to user experience, such as temperature, ventilation, etc., need to be simulated early in the project in a car where layout changes rapidly change from indoor to living space. It is true that many designers have been obsessed with only providing imaginary visual solutions to these problems, but these digital simulation tools will enable them to propose more compelling designs by supporting evidence when proposing ideas, thereby minimizing design revisions when the results enter the actual engineering phase. Extracting space from data in approximate form, even if design refinement has already been done or not, and setting up air entrances, you can simulate the flow and explore better alternatives quickly.

Discovery Live's Design Leverage and the Importance of Innovation in the Design Process,

Introduced at the 2019 Ansys Innovation Day event

Present a variety of scenarios using a standard autonomous platform

Self-driving vehicles are no longer vehicles themselves, but organic systems that move logistics, resources and services and connect human lives. That is why synergies can only be achieved through open innovation and continued research among small and medium-sized businesses, universities and government agencies, as well as automakers that have been building cars so far.

 

WITH:US will be a business platform that will be able to actively access the diverse needs of future society, as it is based on a standardized platform, capable of mounting various services and enabling customization.

Various service mobility applications based on standard autonomous driving platforms (VR)

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