How to design the future

The requirements of future generations are a central to the work that is being done at the Group’s design department. Chief designer Aina Nilsson Ström, and Glen Barlow, head of advanced design, have put together a number of scenarios to predict future trends and study the development of society.

According to Glen Barlow, this is a new way of thinking when it comes to design.

“We usually look ten years ahead in a project. In this case, we are looking to find a method that will enable us to see further and understand the approach we need to adopt to developments,” he says and points to a large screen filled with photographs and time lines.

“We are following a number of fictitious people who have grown up in different parts of the world and we are trying to see how their lives will change,” he explains, adding that a common denominator for all of them is increasingly rigorous demands when it comes to technology and society. 

“Modern people are not going to be impressed by new and advanced technology, no matter where they grow up. They simply take technology for granted and expect it to be there. The generation of the future will want quality of life, swift communication and comfort,” he says.

Both Glen Barlow and Aina Nilsson Ström are convinced that design is going to play an increasingly important role in the future and that it will focus more heavily on people’s needs rather than those of technology.

“Take the driver’s position, for example. In the interests of working environment and visibility, it would be much better if the driver sat in the centre of the cab. As yet, we have to take the location of the engine and driveline into account, but we are well on the way. More and more solutions for both trucks and buses in which the driver sits in the centre of the cab are being presented. I can envisage many exciting challenges in the future,” says Aina Nilsson Ström and she then takes design as another example.

“Right now, we are working exclusively on the cab, just a small part of the truck. Imagine that we were able to design the entire vehicle with its trailer as a single unit. A rounder shape would improve the aerodynamics by 50 per cent,” she says.

Want to see how children who entered a contest at the Volvo museum imagine the future? See the pictures at Global News.


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