The aim of the Vehicle Design Summit is to serve as a launch-pad for a global consortium drawing from academia, industry and the public/private sector to solve some of the most pressing challenges of our time. We work to build up an international meta-team capable of informing the design of an open-source virtual and physical environment that will enable this group to collaboratively develop core technologies that can serve as a seed-point for further leapfrog development. In these pages, you will be able to learn about the current structure of our global working-group, preview our open-source collaboration environment, leave your feedback, invite your own network of designers, builders and dreamers to join us, and learn about the areas on which we are focusing to have the greatest positive impact.
Short Term Objectives
VDS 2.0 aims to design, build, and test a high performance 4-passenger automobile for which the energy and materials used in manufacture, operation, and eventual recycling are minimized for a factor 20 improvement over standard life-cycle costs for an average on-market sedan; that provides 200 mpg energy equivalency or better; that exceeds performance requirements necessary for diffusion into near-term markets here defined as 0-60 in less than 10 seconds, 200 mile range, and top speed of 100 mph; to complete this design in time for rigorous drive testing by January 2008 and crash testing during the months of July and August 2008, to inform improvements incorporated into a final design ready for a sponsoring automotive firm (or consortium thereof) to produce between 5,000+ units within 3 yrs. VDS 2.0 is fundamentally not a commercial enterprise, thus the production run is designed to demonstrate the quality, viability, and relevance of the vehicle in the “real world”.
Beyond the short term, this expertise will enable the consortium to undertake engineering product development with the goal of radical increase in energy efficiency. After the vehicle project itself, the consortium will be poised to take on problems of all types ranging from other aspects of transportation (e.g., freight services) to issues in construction, agriculture, and materials flows for industry. VDS looks to create a non-profit foundation to manage and direct such endeavors while guiding the overall vision.
Long Term Objectives
For the organizers of VDS, the ultimate goal of the project is to help catalyze an 'energy space race' in which the same international outpouring of passion, technical problem-solving, and collaboration is applied to energy concerns as was witnessed during events like WWII and the race to the Moon. To make this a reality efficiency, sustainability, use of recyclable materials selection, low-temperature non-toxic manufacturing processes, and consideration of long-term hidden costs (such as carbon emissions over time) must become part of engineering establishment (and, indeed, criteria for successful projects). We hope to do this by levering collegiate design experience and enthusiasm to craft viable and relevant solutions to global challenges via international collaboration, releasing our developments into public domain, and work to ensure eventual industry diffusion.
To me, the [Vehicle Design Summit] captures in a nutshell key aspects
of the MIT ethic: aim high, call on the best minds you can, make an all-out
commitment to follow through on your ideas, and always keep in mind
the critical importance of solving real-world problems.
- Susan Hockfield, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology