The Volvo design team was under extreme pressure to refine its ideas and produce a working model with full interior in a matter of months, after the success of Volvo’s Concept Universe vehicle launch at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2011.
A fully-functional concept, Concept You was created in time for the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011 and was unveiled to great critical acclaim.
Rickard Franklin, manager Digital Concept Modelling for Volvo Car Corporation, explains how Concept You was developed.
“Concept car design today is more complex. In the past, concept cars were built by coach builders, but these days we need to act a lot faster and the software we use now is crucial to make tighter deadlines,” says Franklin.
“Today there is more content required in a concept car. They are usually drivable and have fully working electrical systems, so there’s a lot more technical content that needs to be taken into consideration.”
From an initial design brief, sketch development for a concept vehicle takes about a month; after that, initial key sketches are refined. “The sketches are then translated from 2D into 3D – we use Autodesk Alias to finalise the data and engineering ‘loops’ and then the concept model build begins,” explains Franklin.
“The actual build process normally takes about three to four months, so a minimum of half a year is allowed for the entire process from initial sketch to a finished concept car, like Concept You,” he says. “We got such positive feedback from Concept Universe that we decided to develop it into Concept You.”
The design phase for Concept You started in April, the build ended in August and You was presented in September.
“These projects are always tight for time and we need to make things happen very quickly,” says Franklin. “For Concept You, we had five designers, working on the pure design of the car – from sketch level, and then two concept modellers for the exterior and five for the interior.”
View video footage of Concept You
A long-term user of Autodesk software, Volvo has recently become a Platinum Support customer, which gives it direct access to Autodesk experts, promoting a two-way dialogue to help influence future development of Alias and other products.
As part of their design workflow, Volvo also used Autodesk Showcase software for advanced visualisation of its ideas. This enabled Concept You to be quickly communicated to the design management team and board so that they could easily understand what was being created.