Automotive company Toyota has unveiled their uBox concept carm designed to appeal to generation Z at the Automotive Engineers World Congress and Exposition in Detroit. Among other innovative features, the car’s interior can be personalised through 3D printing technology.
uBox is the result of a two year collaboration, called Deep Orange, between Toyota Motor North America designers and engineers and a team of students at the Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), who were involved in every aspect of the development. They designed, engineered and hand-built uBox, a car that provides utility and recreation for weekend trips but also offers office space.
“Deep Orange gives students’ hands-on experience with the entire vehicle development process, from identifying the market opportunity through the vehicle build,” said Johnell Brooks, associate professor in Clemson’s graduate engineering program. “It’s like automotive boot camp for the real world, and it wouldn’t happen without industry partners like Toyota.”
While a distinctive exterior aligns with the personality of generation Z, the interior can be rearranged for various activities by reconfiguring and removing seats. Vents, dashboard display bezels and door trims can be personalised and 3D printed. Through an online community owners can share their design ideas. uBox is equipped with an all-electric powertrain, that allows for powering electronics through 110 volt sockets located throughout the interior as well as the exterior.
The unique pultrusion technique developed by the students allows composite carbon fibre rails bonded with aluminium to support a curved glass roof. Craig Payne, Toyota Executive Program Manager said: “The roof pultrusion was something unexpected and very interesting when they first started talking about the concept,” said Payne. “The fact that they were able to achieve an industry-first manufacturing technique as students speaks volumes for this program.”