Interior Design Process for UM-D's Low Mass Vehicle 2004-01-1709
This paper describes a unique interior design and multidisciplinary process implemented by the faculty and students to develop the interior for a Low Mass Vehicle (LMV). The 103 inch LMV was designed with the goal of about 30% reduction in weight than a typical class C segment vehicle and would require low investment in manufacturing. In the early stages of the program, the UM-Dearborn team developed detailed requirements of the vehicle interior based on the vehicle's exterior developed using a similar process. The requirements were given to a senior class of automotive design students from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit to create different interior design themes. Approximately twenty-five interior design themes were judged by a panel of automotive industry experts, and a winning design was selected. The winning design used a unique combination aluminum tubes that served multiple functions (e.g. air ducts, instrument mounts, knee bolster, wiring harness mounting) and provided a feeling of open space. The interior design created in ALIAS was incorporated into the exterior design and body structure created by using the IDEAS software. The design was further refined by conducting various analyses and design /feasibility review meetings with experts from different leading automotive suppliers. The analyses and their outputs developed in the process are presented in the paper. These include: a) Occupant Packaging -- accommodation and seating positions of all occupants and locations of all primary driver controls, b) Determination of space available to locate the controls and displays-- by determining maximum and minimum hand reach envelopes, instrument panel space visible through the steering wheel, and the 35 degree down vision cone, c) Applications of ergonomics principles to develop controls and displays, d) Packaging airbags and knee bolsters, e) Field of view analyses to assure adequate direct and indirect visibility from the vehicle, f) Allocation of space required to fit a number of mechanical and electrical components, and g) Other unique design details to achieve low vehicle mass (e.g. seat design).