The College for Creative Studies (CCS), the leading art and design college in Detroit, recently joined with corporate partner Meritor for a second year in a row for the “Create Fuel-Efficient Truck of Tomorrow” program.
The semester-long program involved 15 senior-level students who focused on impending government regulations to slash fuel consumption and emissions by 10% to 20%.
The multi-phase design program included extensive research and on-site visits with suppliers.
Students developed digital models and physical scale exterior models of their concepts with input from Meritor, along with engineering designers at Navistar International Corp.
The scale models displayed at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY, in March, were created by students Stephen Rapaski, Devon Palmer and Austin Fodell.
“The new government regulations will change the way companies make trucks,” said Mark West, professor and assistant chair of MFA Transportation Design at CCS.
“As professionals in the field, we know that it is important that students stay abreast of any new laws. Designers must look at the entire picture when designing a vehicle, not just the aesthetics,” West said.
West said that the school was confident that the CCS students were well-prepared in recent trucking emission regulations.
“The students closely considered the vehicle’s life expectancy, hybrid powertrains, integrated solar panels, highway safety, driver comfort and safety and serviceability in their design,” West said, adding that the students’ designs addressed fuel-efficiency, sustainability/recycling and aerodynamic issues.
Rapaski, who is in his fourth year at the College for Creative Studies and plans to graduate this Spring, said his design ideas grew from driver experiences.
“After spending two weeks collecting field information from current drivers, I created a series of design solutions which would improve the driving conditions semi truck drivers endure,” Rapaski said.
One trend Rapaski noted is that husband and wife driving teams are becoming more popular each year.
“With this new market emerging, new design solutions and features need to be created to allow these teams to stay on the road comfortably and safely. By focusing on improving efficiency, comfort and flexibility, drivers will be able to utilize the interior space of their tractor as efficiently as possible, while also saving fuel utilizing Meritor’s hybrid drivetrain system,” he said.
In last year’s contest, eight, senior-level students in Transportation Design at CCS participated in the
semester-long project developing “Commercial Trucks for the Future” concepts with consistent business and engineering support.
Specifically, Meritor provided assistance in identifying challenges in the areas of transit sustainability, aerodynamics, safety, trucker lifestyles and overall vehicle appearance, while incorporating goals of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 21st Century Truck program.
Meritor also provided students with scholarships. This year’s first-place scholarship winner was Kelly Stieler, followed by second-place winner Stephen Rapaski and third-place winner Robert Liddell.
“Community service is ingrained in Meritor’s culture,” said Jerry Rush, senior director, Government and Community Relations, Meritor. “The scholarships provided are examples of our on-going commitment to building partnerships that advance education.”
The collaboration between CCS and Meritor (formerly ArvinMeritor) was established in 1998 with the "Visions of the Future" automotive design competition. The company continues to support educational institutions and programs worldwide with more than 50% of its contributions budget.
About the College for Creative Studies
Today, CCS is a recognized as a world leader in art and design education, preparing students to enter the new, global economy where creativity shapes better communities and societies. The College enrolls more than 1,400 students seeking Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in 11 majors and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Design and Transportation Design. CCS also offers non-credit courses in the visual arts through its Continuing Education programs and annually provides more than 4,000 high-risk Detroit youth with art and design education through Community Arts Partnerships programs.
Each month, Tomorrow’s Technician takes a look at some of the automotive-related student competitions taking place in this country, as well as the world. Throughout the year in “Finish Line,” we will highlight not only the programs and information on how schools can enter, but will also profile some of the top competitors in those programs.
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