“How to Design a Car When You’re Not a Car Designer”, by Kirsten Korosec. I read Kirsten Korosec’s article, where she interviewed YooJung Ahn, a product designer. Ahn, along with her team, successfully designed a self-driven car. There were 4,698 submissions for this contest, and her and her team won the contest and won the Red Dot Design award. The most amazing part about this story is that before the creation of their self-driven car, Ahn and her team had no prior experience with designing cars. Before this successful breakthrough, YooJung Ahn, had designed consumer goods.
When asked about her approach, Ahn told Korosec that she started with the basics. Ahn said, “What is the minimum we needed in order to get people from A to B?”
Right at this moment, I thought to myself about all the basic things a car needs in order to transport a person from point A to point B. So I thought about parts. A car needs wheels in order to physically move. It needs seats for people to be able to sit in. The car needs an engine and all the mechanical parts to make it start and function, and many other basic things. The point I make is that Ahn thought of the most basic needs for a car; she used a designer’s approach, rather than a car designer’s approach.
The most interesting aspect about this car is that it literally drives on its own. So, when YooJung Ahn and her team were brainstorming ideas they realized that their target audience would not be a driver, but rather passengers and pedestrians. The car had to be simple, safe, and welcoming. The necessity for simplicity was for the passengers, so that they would be able to understand how to use the car, and the safeness and welcoming feeling was for the pedestrians.
Because this type of car is new it means that not many people would know about it, or use it, and this means that at the beginning most people will experience the car from the outside. So Ahn and her team made sure that the outside of the car was designed to look and feel safe. So the car “can see 360 degrees and up to two football fields in every direction”. The team also made the front bumper to be made out of soft foam and designed the windshield to be flexible. Ahn and her team went even further by researching colors that gave off a friendly and welcoming vibe to put pedestrian more at ease.
After the whole process, the end result was a two-door compact gray and white car. Ahn and her team had never had experience in designing for a car, and still they were able to do it. Being a product designer did not hinder Ahn from creating the self-driven car, it actually helped her, because Ahn was not bogged down by the process that a car designer would normally go through. Not having that experience is what gave her the legroom to free up her mind.
Thank you for reading. If you would like to read the Korosec’s article, the link is posted down below.