MSc Thesis. The Vehicle Design Summit 2007 was an MIT Student led project aimed at developing and prototyping vehicles and product service systems concepts for future mobility. The aim of the project from a System and Service Design perspective, was to investigate new stakeholders interactions as a way to lead to product and market innovations for more sustainable urban mobility solutions. The basic stance behind this project was that to achieve sustainability, the production of alternative vehicles is not sufficient but service approaches are necessary. Similarly shared mobility services can't rely on mass produced and scale and manufactured vehicles. 

The resulting concept is that of a car sharing program for the city of Delhi were we tried to envision a future where energy suppliers and IT companies will become mobility providers. By providing mobility and energy at the same time the interest of the company would automatically become that of optimize vehicle use, reduce consumption and foster renewable energy use.

The system would rely on a very efficient light weight vehicle —the prototype in the picture is 1:1 functional one — produce for life cycle optimization within this service regime e.g. extended life span, design maintenance, disassembly etc. The vehicle would be locally produced in small units, through flexible and distributed manufacturing techniques by micro factories also responsible for their maintenance. While part of its hardware and components would be scalable and replicable in different cities, its final design and final assembly would be made locally and adjusted to local needs. The car integration to energy grid would also support the development of smart grid systems. 

Finally, the project also took in consideration a series of elements necessary to solve large spatial and social problem related to mobility in Indian urban areas. For example, the integration of different modes and a unified payment system across different mobility services; a business model that is focused on resource optimization and increase of functional units; the use of ICT to facilitate access and more flexible use of the car sharing service, fostering collaboration and sociality around the vehicles use.


More info on the project:

Mobi. Start-up company, VDS Spin-off. Mobi provides an open API platform, support and UIs for development sustainbale mobility services and software solutions. 

Product Service Systems in the automotive industry. C. Vezzoli and F. Ceschin, Brunel University, 2008.

The People We Have Been Waiting For. Thomas L. Friedman. New York Times. Dec. 2, 2007. 

VDS 0.1 (video)

Vehicle's styling © TU Delft