Self-Driving Taxi Earns Ford New Norm Mobility Award
“New norm” is one of those buzzwords that’s been thrown around quite a bit since March. It’s now also the name of an award — the Ford New Norm Mobility Award — which was handed out at the New Designers Awards in the United Kingdom earlier this month.
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The winner of the Ford New Norm Mobility Award is Marius Lochner, designer of the muvone self-driving taxi concept. Ford Motor Company challenged Lochner and other creators to design mobility concepts geared toward addressing issues created by COVID-19. The accessible, easy-to-clean, single-seat muvone succeeds as being a particularly useful concept for seniors with mobility issues and a higher risk.
“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, 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.”
Self-driving muvone taxi caters to seniors
Lochner, who recently earned an MA in Transport Design from Staffordshire University, earned 1,000 pounds to use toward the development of the muvone. He will also receive mentorship from Ford of Europe chief designers Ernst Reim and Sonja Vandenberk. Reim and Vandenberk also helped judge the submissions.
Judges hailed Lochner’s concept for “[sitting] closely with Ford’s human-centric approach to design, at a time when the vehicle is a preferred private space and personal health is more important than ever.”
Top Gear Magazine Editorial Director Charlie Turner was also part of the panel. Turner said that picking a winner was a difficult task. The runner-up was the HALO Project, an app that optimizes travel routes and schedules based on personal safety. Other concepts included a driverless chauffer vehicle and a vehicle that can transform from a sports car to a truck.
The annual New Designers Awards is the largest design graduate show in the United Kingdom. All U.K. students graduating with degrees in design are eligible for the top awards. This year’s ceremony was held virtually, because new norm.
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