Design concept for self-driving taxi wins Ford award

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The ‘muvone’, a self-driving taxi concept developed by Marius Lochner, a transport design graduate from Staffordshire University in the UK, has won the Ford ‘New Norm Mobility Award’. The competition challenged design graduates to develop mobility concepts, ideas and solutions that address the new scenarios presented by Covid-19.

“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 at 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.”

The concept features a minimalist interior with flat surfaces and easy-to-clean materials so the vehicle can be disinfected between journeys. According to Lochner, the vehicle is designed to enable greater social inclusion at a time when disabled people need it most, the ease of accessibility making it particularly suitable for senior citizens and people with restricted mobility.

The award is part of the ‘New Designers Awards’ – the largest design graduate show in the UK – open to students graduating in design. This year, the show was held virtually. For his winning concept, Lochner receives £1,000 (US$1,285), 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.

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