This is a curious one. The ED Design TORQ concept from Geneva 2015. A product of a growing Italian design consultancy, this concept is a look at future automated race-cars.
The most curious parts of the car are two:
-- a total lack of glass. The view out is via surround-view cameras projected on an inner wrap-around screen projection.
-- the seating for two and steering wheel
These two traits do not really match each other. A lack of glass makes sense when only sensors are controlling the driving action. But with passenger and a driver, monitors seem like a ridiculously complicated solution to just looking outward.
For a piloted-driving racecar that touts the benefits of automated driving, the seating for two is especially odd. Why bother, you might ask? The seating makes the passenger pod in white about twice as tall as it might be without them.
So while an ultimate-aero look at the future of racing is nice, the conflicting purposes and design briefs leave the TORQ looking like the best of no world.
Throughout automotive history, innovation in production cars has always been tried and tested in the extreme world of racing. For this reason, ED has conceived the advanced concept car TORQ, 100% developed internally.
Torq is not just an exercise in advanced design assisted by a highly experienced engineering team, but a preview concept of an upcoming union between two cultures: automotive and information technology.
"This prototype is only the beginning of an ambitious development project that we are creating with our technicians from all over the world: the only way you can offer a truly 'global' service is by combining different cultures," CEO and Design Director, Michael Robinson.
."Our goal is to deliver fully functional, entirely Open source, autonomous “mobile laboratories” with our friends at OEMs, Tier One suppliers, IT companies, research institutes, and Universities, allowing them to experiment with all kinds of new APPS to improve all aspects of the quality of life related to the future of assisted mobility," says ED President, David Pizzorno. The market is truly global only when the "philosophy of sharing” in implemented. This reality is increasingly imposed by the computer industry which has been a pioneer in this process of knowledge diffusion.
The automobile market has also taken important steps in this direction: sharing platforms between car makers is now an industry standard, offering cross-functional component coordination, quickly implementing high tech contents which brings increasingly innovative objects to the market in less time, constant increasing the "pleasure of driving." Today, the definition of driving pleasure is constantly evolving, with the end users looking increasingly for comfortable transportation, and not a race in downtown traffic.
The world is changing and the rules of the game are defined by the real user needs, and people are turning their attention towards other aspects. 24/7 connectivity is now essential for our society. But in this context, users are increasingly distracted, and the number of car casualties is constantly increasing, even if carmakers offer active and passive safety, which can only limit "the damage".
These are the concepts that fuel the ED challenge!
"We are really proud to be among the leaders of th biggest change in the automotive industry since its inception, able to offer our active contribution to the change.
It would be inappropriate for Italy's largest independent engineering and design company to bring a traditional automobile to an important international car show. TORQ for us is the beginning of an extremely important, ground-breaking development project called MAAL (Mobile Automotive Autonomous Laboratory) which will offer absolute innovation in the field of Autonomous Automobiles," according to Robinson.
At first glance, the car is decidedly low and wide and sporty, but the total lack of external glass places it into the future, inviting observers to ask how the driver/passenger can see out from inside. The answer is a set of obstruction free, 360°wraparound monitors that eliminate all blind spots created by traditional automobiles with pillars blocking the drivers view.
The Torq is full electric, with 4 powerful engines that give the car its name, thanks to 320Wh of overall power, plus 1800 Nm of “torque” (modern Formula One cars have only 1000 Nm)... So the question is: How can I win a race with a real racecar without a steering wheel? This is the future! This is where game-changing innovation will transform not only the architecture of the car, but above all, the relationship between man and machine.
Our goal is to offer a Self-Driving-Race-Car (SDRC), within the next 24 months, in a Mobile Laboratory configuration, able to satisfy the experimental needs of each Car-Maker, research institute, etc. giving them the opportunity to customize the ready-to-use content which is so simple yet so innovative
The ED press conference at the Geneva Auto Show will begin at 1:30 PM on Tuesday, March 3rd.