Engineers and designers are usually at odds when it comes to making cars. What makes a car beautiful and unique, will also make it tougher to manufacture. The Michelin Challenge Design tries to bridge this gap by establishing a closer relationship with the design community—combining technical innovation with transportation design to create vehicles that consumers want to buy and will enjoy driving.
One of the more innovative concepts presented at this year Michelin Challenge Design is the single passenger Drop. The Drop comes from the mind of Rubem De Floriani, a 26-year-old product design graduate of Catholic University at Rio de Janeiro.
Drop was developed following a new vehicle modality where people instead of being isolated by their vehicles; they become part of a mobile community. Each person is able to personalize his/her car to the individual personality. The innovation of the Drop comes from its ability to change angles and use less road space depending upon needs or its location.
The Drop can be access by a frontal hatchway that is also the windshield. In this case, the vehicle must assume the vertical position that helps the access and saves useful space in urban centers.
The wheels are four magnetized rubber spheres that serve as a displacement and orientation electromagnetic field for the maglev system. This levitation is given between the car body and the spheres in an electrodynamics suspension system that also serves as a small damping system. This spherical system would make short maneuvers like turning around its own axle a lot easier. The contact of the rubberized wheels would be given in lightly magnetized floors, thus increasing the tack and the security of the vehicle.