Student’s autonomous taxi concept wins Ford design award

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A transport design graduate from Staffordshire University has won a challenge by Ford  to develop mobility concepts, ideas and solutions that address new scenarios presented by Covid-19.

Marius Lochner won the Ford New Norm Mobility Award for the “muvone” concept, a self-driving taxi for one that prioritises secure individual mobility while enabling people to travel freely in comfort.

The “muvone” concept features a minimalist interior with flat surfaces and easy-to-clean materials so the vehicle can be disinfected between journeys. According to Lochner, ease of accessibility makes “muvone” suitable for senior citizens and people with restricted mobility.

“The COVID-19 crisis has greatly influenced our lives, changing the way people and goods move, and creating a ‘new normal’ for everyone,” said Chris Hamilton, chief designer, Ford of Europe. “This requires new ideas for apps, features, designs and mobility, at a time when the vehicle is a preferred private space and personal health is more important than ever.”


Ford said the “muvone” concept’s suitability for use with current urban infrastructure helped elevate it above the other entries

The award is part of the New Designers Awards – the largest design graduate show in the UK – open to students graduating in design. For his winning concept, Lochner received £1,000, plus a semester of mentoring from Ford of Europe chief designers Ernst Reim and Sonja Vandenberk, who were part of the judging panel along with Hamilton and Amko Leenarts, Ford’s European director of design.

Runner-up in the award was HALO Project, an idea for an app that helps users make travel choices and choose routes based on personal safety, rather than the fastest or shortest journey.

Other entries included micromobility concepts such as e-scooters and ride-on devices, and also for larger vehicles, such as an electric truck, a driverless chauffeur vehicle, and a vehicle that could be transformed from a sports car to a truck.

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