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A collaborative design competition between Renault and Central Saint Martins, UAL has unveiled a vision of the car of the future. Shown for the first time at designjunction 2017, which runs 21st-24th September, the competition was part of a challenge by Renault to encourage the students of MA Industrial Design to think about the future of autonomous, modular car design, and how infrastructure and services might support it.


Renault is looking towards the future of the car industry with an emphasis on electric power, autonomous driving and connected technologies. As Europe’s best selling electric vehicle manufacturer, Renault is aiming for affordable, autonomous, connected, electric vehicles to be on the roads from the early 2020s. Based on these ingenious innovations, Renault tasked the MA Industrial Design students to focus on a transport landscape that is changing quickly and dramatically.

The competition was judged by two of Renault’s senior design team – Anthony Lo, Vice-President of Exterior Design and François Leboine, Chief Exterior Designer – as well as Nick Rhodes, Central Saint Martins Programme Director, Product Ceramic & Industrial Design and Nick Clinton, Creative Director of Fusion 2K Ltd. The competition was whittled down from 15 students to three semi-finalists over the summer – Stephanie Chang Liu for her ‘Flo’ design, which included three different sized vehicles for three different uses, Tuna Yenici for his emotive vehicle named ‘Vue’ and Yuchen Cai for her vision of vehicles moving around using Maglev technology, called ‘The Float’.

Yuchen Cai was announced as the winning student by Anthony Lo during designjunction 2017’s opening evening. Cai created ‘The Float’, a vision of a car that will provide a new way of connecting with people, a new form of mobility and portrays an idea of how drivers can be more open and social to the outside world as autonomy becomes ever popular. A model of this vision will be on display at designjunction between 21st and 24th September in Granary Square, in Kings Cross, London.

As the winner, Cai spent two weeks at Renault’s design studios in Paris over the summer, working with senior designers to hone her idea. Whilst there, she experienced cutting-edge technology such as a full-size virtual reality suite, which puts the designer right inside the car.

Talking about the competition Anthony Lo said: “This is the second time we have run a design competition with Central Saint Martins and once again our eyes have been opened to the extraordinary talent and imagination of the students and to the ways in which humans could travel in the future. Renault is focussed on creating autonomous, connected electric vehicles and it’s great to see that Central Saint Martins’ Industrial Design students really took this on board when creating their vision of the future. Yuchen’s winning design was particularly interesting thanks to its use of Maglev technology and its tessellated design. It was a pleasure to have her at the Renault design studios and see her vision come to life.”

Nick Rhodes, Central Saint Martins Programme Director, Product Ceramic & Industrial Design, said: “It’s a very great pleasure to work an important design-led partner such as Renault. For the second year, Renault has presented MA Industrial Design students with a major challenge to address. From a technological viewpoint, the prospect of vehicle autonomy is fascinating, but it's also critical to hold in mind that such opportunities also present significant challenges to how people interact and their experience of future cities. Recognition of the success of the projects here lies in their ability to describe broader conceptions of what driverless vehicles might become and how we may come to live with them."