Assembly Lines: Ford Debuts Translucent Concept Vehicle
DEARBORN, MI—"You can have any color as long as it’s black," said Henry Ford, 100 years ago. Now, Ford is taking color to a more intense level, all in the name of safety and user preferences. As part of "National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now," an exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, Ford’s Brand Imaging Group will display the GloCar. Ford’s new concept car uses LED lights to change body panel colors, intensity and frequency. The frame is lightweight aluminum, with aluminum extrusions and castings. It is powered by fuel cells. The GloCar idea came about following extensive research. The research determined five scenarios of the future: the unfolding universe, the mosaic society, the experiential society, the sustainable society and the caring society. Based on the scenarios, designers explored possible trends. Among the most important were safety and sustainability. The GloCar allows drivers to be seen from all angles. "The soft glowing panels serve as a safety feature to make you very visible at night," says Laurens van den Acker, chief designer at Ford’s Brand Imaging Group. "The rear panel doubles as a brake light, and the side panels as blinkers. When somebody comes too close, the panels increase in intensity, signaling the driver to keep a distance." In addition, it can potentially eliminate the need for vehicle paint, thus eliminating waste, as well as reducing complexity at the manufacturer by making only one version of the vehicle. "The GloCar projects an image of concern, safety, intelligence and lightness and takes the car from an aggressor to a protector," says van den Acker. "Imagine hundreds of GloCars, brightening up a city. It shows a future where cars become more intelligent and optimistic."