Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Global Design Director Andre Hudson Gives Us a Peek into the Next Generation of Vehicles (Part Two of Two)

The exterior concept of the Nucleus (photo credit: Icona Design)

The interior concept of the Nucleus (photo credit: Icona Design)

Here's part two of our conversation with global design director Andre Hudson, as he gives us a glimpse on what we should expect from the next-generation of  fully electric, self-driving vehicles. In case you missed part one of our interview with Hudson, click here

J. What makes the seating arrangement different from today’s vehicles? 

A. Because today's vehicles are designed around the necessity of the driver controlling the car, all vehicle layouts are fundamentally the same. As we begin to introduce autonomy into the vehicle design, it will free-up how we use the space and where we place the occupants. The Nucleus demonstrates this idea.
J. We know that the vehicle made its U.S. debut at the L. A. Auto Show this past year. What was the reaction from consumers? What about folks in the auto industry? 

A. The response was overwhelming. We truly believe we were successful in presenting an optimistic vehicle representing ‘after tomorrow’. The idea that an autonomous car doesn’t have to be a cold feeling piece, like its public transportation, but rather a warm, sexy and inviting space, that you actually want to be in.

J. The bubble-shaped vehicle looks like its straight out of the cartoon from The Jetsons. Are their cameras inside that serves as a substitute for windows? 

A. The Nucleus actually has windows all around, but we creatively hid the lower half behind a see-through graphic treatment. This allowed us to present some idea of privacy, while allowing the occupants to not feel like they were sitting in a cocoon. And yes, we did utilize cameras to not only give the occupants vision all around, but also for the autonomous drive system to do its job efficiently.
J. Where is the traditional engine and trunk housed? 

A. As mentioned before, the electric motors are housed in each of the four wheels. There is a ‘trunk’ at the rear as expected though we did not make that area functional on the concept. 
J. Based upon your extensive global travel, which countries seem to be closer to having a Nucleus-type designed vehicle to land on the streets? 

A. The potential is everywhere. But people must understand that for full autonomy to truly work well, a fantastic infrastructure must be put in place. When we say infrastructure for these cars, we mean sensors in the roads, sensors at intersections and a way for the cars to communicate with each other and with the pedestrians and other moving vehicles operating around them. 

As America begins to update our cities, and other nations continue to build new ones, the systems will slowly be put in place. I would imagine that those countries developing new cities from the ground up will be able to get there a bit faster.
J. At any point, do you foresee an era of ‘flying cars’? 

A. They are on their way! I don’t know about you, but I’m only ready for that when these drones fly themselves. People can barely control themselves in a flat, 2D space; imagine what damage we would do in a 3D space?
J. In your two decades, as a professional car designer, what makes you the proudest about the Nucleus? 

A. I am truly proud that in many ways we presented a vehicle that has never been seen, using technologies and manufacturing techniques that have never been assembled in the way we have. 

Everything from the compound glass that enabled such a beautiful shape, to the graphic treatments blending body into glass to the large lightweight door openings to the extremely unique interior seating layout, that is like nothing else seen before in a car. Everything about the Nucleus says luxury and futuristic! It makes little kids dream and big kids imagine how amazing our automotive future will be.

J.Thank you Andre for your time and giving us a peek into 'tomorrow.'

Since our interview, Andre Hudson has accepted a new role as design director of the California-based Independence Electric. Hudson will lead his team in designing an array of fresh electric vehicles.


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