Lightweight, Modular Vehicle Study by Swinburne Uni

Development of a Lightweight, Modular Vehicle Platform

“The vehicle platform is designed to be lightweight and low cost and
must meet all the statutory requirements for safety, durability and
crashworthiness. It must also be modular to enable multiple vehicle
variants on the same platform.

Researchers at Swinburne are involved in the design of the
vehicle focussing on the use of lightweight materials and on
manufacturability, in particular in the joining methodologies.”

Modularity projects have been done to death, but they’ve been done to death in very technical manners.  The quintessential reference in this case is Holden’s “Hywire” skateboard chassis design of the early 2000’s, which by now seems dated and rather mundane in concept.  But to me, the concept of modularity isn’t.  Here’s why:

-computers have been increasing in the amount of things they can do for years

-phones are now computers in themselves, a modular device we can’t do without on a daily basis

-car culture has been focused on a partially open-source, modular way of thinking for years (think body mods and aftermarket products)

With our current manufacturing paradigm as it is, the concept of being able to drop another body onto a “car” (in the current sense of the word) is a little clunky.  But the concept of being able to alter a given vehicle’s properties to suit the situation isn’t.

Modularity isn’t dead.  It just needs to be done differently.


About Sten Nigol

Aspiring industrial designer, archer, hobbyist musician and car enthusiast.
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