If you have ever watched your grandmother knitting, and thought “What if she were a robot, and what if, instead of a sweater, she were knitting strong, high performance sustainable vehicles?” then you are a visionary and have already imagined what Emiel Burki and team from WWT and Mercedes Benz Advanced Design Studios in Germany debuted at last November’s Los Angeles International Auto Show’s Design Challenge.
Manufactured by incredibly high-tech robots, the Tridion-frame (chassis) is knit by “Smart Granny Robots” (otherwise know as SGRs) out of carbon fiber. The knitting can create complex shapes and forms, enabling the geometry to be optimized in strength and weight.
The design team envisions use of unique materials for each individual part to give every piece of the car its own specific properties and look. Each part is manufactured with the exact material necessary for an optimal balance between weight and function. Windows, fenders and bumpers are all made of recyclable plastics with ingrained colors. The roof is a thin, but highly durable recycled textile that comes with different prints and weavings.
Construction of the WWT carbon fiber wheels with integrated suspension are very lightweight and make it also impossible to run a flat tire. The unique SGR technology allows for truly unique looking rims and the best lightweight technology in a rim.
The modular “clip-on” construction principal allows easy and endless customizing: a typical WWT of Sindelfingen and smart signature. The doors, roof, engine and drive-train are also very easy to remove or exchange, allowing for perfect functionality, looks, fun and the best tuning for any occasion.
This design for the California Design Challenge was backed as a vehicle for Daimler-Chrysler. While I would not expect to see the Smart 454 on the street anytime soon, we will most certainly be seeing elements of the advanced design technology and light woven sustainable fiber construction in near future Daimler-Chrysler models. Phoenix Arizona residents can view and test drive any vehicles from the current year production model line-up at any of the Phoenix Valley area Daimler-Chrysler dealers.