Is this the dawn of sonic car design?

3D printed interiors, sonic design and shape-shifting cars are among the more revolutionary ideas to have been unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Peugeot Fractal 

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Sound design

A well-documented danger of electric cars is that they are silent. Meanwhile, the refinement of things like door mechanisms and indicator control in newer cars means that their sonic personality is being snuffed out.

Peugeot has seen this as an opportunity and called upon the services of electronic music producer and composer Amon Tobin who has designed sounds for accelerating, the opening of a door and an indicating action among others.

The door sound is triggered by smart watch proximity and together with the other sounds completes what the manufacturer calls a “sensory exploration”.

Other senses engaged within the iCockpit interiors include sight, through the head-up display, and touch – through a compact steering wheel and touch-screen interfaces within the car.

3D printed interiors

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The sound design even extends to the physical world. Peugeot has adopted “parametric modelling”, which has led to the rather spikey-looking interior door-cards which baffle sound.

They are part of the 3D printed interior, which has been designed with acoustic harmony in mind. To this end, speakers with “tactile bass systems” have been built into the back of the seats.

Peugeot says that 3D-printed parts represent more than 80% of the interior trim that you can see in the images.

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Mercedes Benz – IAA (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile)

Mercedes-Benz “Concept IAA” (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile)

When it reaches speeds of 80km/h the car morphs from “design mode to aerodynamic mode” by growing a tail, changing the shape of its grill and the fins on the side of the car, and even by flattening off the profile of its wheels.

The practical implications of this – other than looking rather exciting – are lower emissions.

Mercedes-Benz “Concept IAA” (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile). Per Knopfdruck, oder ab einer Geschwindigkeit von 80 km/h, verändert sich automatisch die Gestalt vom Design-Modus in den Aerodynamik-Modus. The study switches automatically from design mode to aerodynamic mode when the vehicle reaches a speed of 80 km/h, whereby numerous aerodynamics measures alter the shape of the vehicle.

The car also “provides an idea of what the interior of a business saloon might look like in the near future,” according to the manufacturer.

There are touch-based functions inside the car, designed, Mercedes says, to aid its “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” philosophy.

Mercedes-Benz “Concept IAA” (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile). Interieur mit touchbasierter Bedienung. The interior: touch-based operating philosophy

Porsche Mission E

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This Porsche concept is being touted by commentators as the manufacturer’s rival to Tesla’s anticipated Model S, in that it is a potentially viable high performance electric car.

The zero emission Porsche powered by two electric motors would offer 600bhp and a range of around 330 miles. Meanwhile recharging the battery would take “just slightly longer than it takes to fill a car’s fuel tank today”, Porsche claims. Although it turns out they mean 15 minutes, which is impressive all the same.

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Eye Tracking

It’s the first all-electric Porsche ever designed and has presented new interior design opportunities.

Porsche says: “The lack of a transmission tunnel for instance, opens up space and gives a lighter and more airy atmosphere to the entire interior.”

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An eye-tracking system on the dashboard can detect which instrument the driver wants to view. These are categorised under themes such as Connected Car, Performance and Drive.

After the driver has focused on one of these categories it can be activated and navigated with a button on the steering wheel.

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