October 10, 2011

Dassault Systemes TAXI Prague design challenge

A Taxi is no ordinary car; it is a vehicle with the sole purpose of transporting complete strangers from A to B, in exchange for a fee.

Though this definition may seem too simple, it gains in depth the moment we contextualize it: in Prague (as well as in lots of other popular cities), taxi users are not just strangers, they are either tourists or residents.
And suddenly it is not just about the destination; the journey also becomes an important part of the experience, not only for the tourist, eager to absorb everything the city has to offer, but also for the resident, is his daily routine, often disconnected from the highlights of his own environment.

It is usually through the windows of a Taxi car that tourists have their first impressions of the city they are visiting; it provides the tourist a chance for connection and the resident the opportunity to reconnect. This adds a greater responsibility to the Taxi in the city experience.

Because of its specific use, the new Taxi Prague is an asymmetrical car. Its shape is inspired by the classic Horse-drawn Carriages as a link to Prague’s flourishing ages. The large window on the right side and its low door define this link.
Though connected to classical roots, the general look of the car is intended to be trendy, yet friendly and professional. The shape of the lights gives the Taxi an air of friendliness while the asymmetry adds dynamism to the whole.
Even though the design has a two-tone asymmetrical body, the overall shape is symmetrical and so it does not compromise the aerodynamic behaviour.

With a capacity of 4 passenger seats, passenger ingress is made only through the right side – which is the natural side of approach – while driver ingress is made through the left side. The driver is completely separated from the passengers via a glass window.
The luggage compartment, which is located in the rear, can be accessed opening the door that is divided into two sections: one opens upwards and the other downwards, so that a large opening is achieved without using a large, and bulky and cumbersome, door. The compartment can be divided vertically into small spaces with shelves that can be pulled from the wall.

On the right side, the large window provides a good view of the sidewalk; on the left side, the view is enhanced by the large window and glazed roof. This way, passengers can have a full experience of the city.
Inside, passengers can use a touchscreen display to either see publicity or info about the city; they can search for Hotels, Restaurants, Museums, Cultural Guide and so on. Also available would be relevant resident-oriented information such as Pharmacy Directory, Authority contacts, online newspapers for checking the news on the go.

In the end of the journey, payment can be made by cash or card following the instructions on the display and using the card and bills inlet located beside the screen to make the payment.

The materials used are recycled plastics, on the body as well as in the interior. This Taxi uses an electric engine with batteries that can be recharged during vehicle movement and braking, or in the Taxi stations through an inlet located in the front (the small yellow taxi object near the bumper).

All these functionalities, together with the dynamic and distinctive aesthetics and the comfort of an electric car contribute to a unique experience of Prague.

I am very happy to know that my project was among the 25 finalists, as it appears in the jury meeting photos and video!


Manuel Coutinho said...

O layout interior parece fortemente inspirado neste projecto http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/16/view/10419/new-york-city-unicab.html

marcelo aguiar said...

Olá Manuel,
Obrigado pelo link!! Não conhecia este concept, apesar de ter já mais de um ano...
Realmente a ideia é muito semelhante. Até no pormenor do ecran de entretenimento e informação, meio de pagamento, etc. Eu ainda arranjei ali um espacinho por baixo para bagagem pequena... :)
Um abraço