In our consumerist society, desire is a tool commonly harnessed within design to drive consumer behaviour. How consumer desire manifests itself can often manipulate one's perception of a product - a truth that holds particularly well within the automotive industry. This study focuses on the developing transportation trends including shared mobility systems and personal mobility products, and the behavioral relationship between the consumer and the automotive market.
We have an established problem with the ways in which our road-based and public transport systems interact in a symbiotic way - where problems that arise in one mode transfers to problems in the other. The Bee, a share-motorbike system, seeks to disrupt existing modes of transportation through a novel approach of multi-modal mobility that is agile enough to adapt to increasingly unreliable systems of service provision. The design incorporates sustainable energy and intelligent commuting systems to provide users with a globally accessible and hyper connected service. With this approach, the design attempts to alter people's perceptions of the automotive marketplace, and explore the use of how desire can be used as a tool within design, to persuade consumers to adjust their social behaviors to better our environmental concerns.
Currently the gap within our transport system is the fact that certain communities are separated by their location and in turn are disadvantaged in not having the same access to services and opportunities that individuals residing nearer to a cities center are privileged with. Additionally, the issues regarding population growth will only exacerbate our current situation with the amount of emissions being produced by vehicles, congestion and density rates, and equity issues which engulf the entire infrastructure of our roads, (PT services and product offerings such as cars and bikes). Currently single track vehicles are a preferred alternative as they produce less/zero emissions; they reduce congestion rates, parking availability and lessen a cities vehicle density. Unfortunately, riding a vehicle under this category, (motorbike), can sometimes be seen as a negative by consumers as they are aware of some of the safety concerns attached to riding the vehicle, especially when travelling at high speeds and long distances. Recently, there has been a gradual shift in attitude towards electric vehicles. Research shows that due to the expense and mileage issues that are entailed with current EV's, it is difficult to encourage consumers to adopt these new services. According to my research it may be suitable to design a product that combines the relationship of a shared mobility system with the utilization of a single track vehicle, as this provides a cheaper alternative to owning a vehicle but offers the similar reliability.
The aim for such a system is to develop an accessible and flexible, subscription based, electric motorcycle shared mobility system. Looking into how to develop an electric vehicle that explores the limits of what is technically feasible in terms of design, service infrastructure, networking and electric mobility whilst making it affordable and reliable to a wide range of the consumer market.
The system allows for both city residents and communities in regional and rural areas to have access to the system. Ideally, this product would be stationed at train stations so that users have quick and immediate access to the bike once off their means of transport. This means that rural residents are able to commute the majority of their journey via a high-speed service (train), and use the Bee service around city areas or on their journey for the last kilometre.
1.1A – Product Description
An affordable, desirable, electric powered shared mobility system. The proposed design when implemented into a market scheme is aimed to be the equivalent of share car systems such as GoGet or Flexicar, but offers the consumer much more reign in terms of customisation and personalisation. The intention is to develop an affordable alternative of mobility, accompanied with a helmet upon purchase, mobile application for greater connectivity and a charging service and infrastructure.
1.1B – Target Users
A large demographic, ranging from 16 years to 50 years old, both female and male individuals who commute regularly and desire an alternative mode of transport for quick convenient mobility. The aim is to give consumers an incentive so that they could possible switch from combustion driven engines and also to a single track vehicle that could help make mobility easily accessible to a wider range of the community, reduce carbon emissions, city congestion rates and fill a gap within the current market of electric vehicles. Individuals who commute on a regular basis must be able to take this vehicle with them onto their choice of PT – this means that the size and weight of the product must be taken into consideration so that its specifications do not obstruct PT legislation's within the area.
1.1C – System and Service Infrastructure
The Tesla example has demonstrated the need for an integrated solution, similarly the Apple product experience gravitates consumers to the brand and the product culture. Essentially I am developing a brand, and a product. The brand has to be presented in such a way that it attracts not only the automotive market, but everyone. Every detail of the project has to be taken into consideration, ranging from the product's form and ergonomic factors, brand language, advertisement, iconography, typography etc. My aim is to influence the current automotive market, and alter people's perception of future possibilities within shared mobility. For my design to be implemented successfully I have developed 3 key aspects to the system that are an integral part of the bikes design and the service that the bike will offer.
1.1D - Hives
One of the most important features of the design is the charging infrastructure and accessibility. Users are able to charge/drop off the Bee share-bike at charging stations called Hives. Providing users with accessible Hive outlets, that are scattered around the world means that this bike can be implemented on a global scale. This also means that once a user has purchased an account they can use the Bee system abroad. Hives aren't only used for charging they are also storage units for Drones, (helmets). Hives are capable of storing up to 8 helmets underground, keeping the helmet safe and secure for when the user requires it once again.
Similarly a recent company have developed a product that uses a battery swapping infrastructure. Recently at CES 2015, former HTC executives Horace Luke and Matthew Taylor brought out an electric scooter by the name of Gogoro. The sleek two-wheeled vehicle, plus an entirely new battery-swapping infrastructure simply called the Gogoro Energy Network - just two of the key features of this product line. Think of the latter as an interconnected citywide system of battery vending machines, called GoStations, where you can drop in your spent batteries and exchange them for freshly charged ones. What Gogoro does differently than other companies is the way they have decided to market their product. Similarly to that of Google and Apple, Gogoro have tried to satisfy the market by branding and styling their products like modern consumer electronics. Whether this style of marketing pays off for the company or not, the product currently stands out from any of the competition.
When a customer signs up to the Bee service they pay a membership fee, which in turn covers the cost for their helmet - enter, the Drone. The Drone is a helmet provided by the Bee service that serves as extra key for activating the bike as well as a heads-up holographic display for the Bee share bike. Upon purchase, the customer is given the ability to customize their helmet to suit their ergonomic preference and riding style.
1.1F- Smartphone Application
Thirdly, I have developed the foundation for a smartphone application which essentially serves as the middle man, connecting all the aspects of the system. When the consumer signs up for the service they are given a registered account, which is used to activate and customize all items within the products system. The application is used to activate the bike as a secondary key to the Drone, and the Bee share-bike can only be unlocked with the owner's account which is tethered to the application. The bike will automatically detect the riders account settings and ergonomic factors and tailor the bikes settings to each individual. For example, if a customer did not have a licence and had purchased the beginners account then the bike cannot go above 30km/h, and thus can ridden on bike paths safely.
The application allows the rider to monitor the bikes vital information and functionality, access to an inbuilt GPS, which in turn can locate battery stations, charging docks, stores and nearest outlets that stock the bikes hardware. Additionally the bike is able to be tracked for security purposes and for rider location. This entails the safety concerns that one may have for the rider of the bike, so that they can locate them on their journey to make sure they are safe. This also allows for loved ones to check the status of the bike and the rider at any time.
Currently if you buy a motorbike or a car it's a very different and alienating experience as opposed to buying a phone or a computer. I wanted to package the user-experience in a way that retailers and consumers who aren't familiar with the automotive industry would immediately be familiar with this product experience as it relates back to a consumer model. When the individual purchases the bike, they sign up with the company and are given the product package; similar to if you were to buy an Apple product. The packaging is designed in such a way that people who aren't familiar with automotive sales, automatically relate; thus there is heightened sense of familiarity and desire for the product and service. This product is designed to be customized, so I am offering a number of options for various consumers. I would like this product to be somewhat affordable for the majority of the market, but would like to give consumers an alternative, more advanced model as well.
Overall the future of designers shouldn't be confined or defined by the current market offerings. It is a designer's responsibility to look past the trends and confinement of the consumer market, and to push on new trends and new systems that will change the market.
At present, there is a growing need to address a gap within mobility that occurs with the current trends in increased population, transport disadvantage caused by inadequate services and social exclusion. Additionally there are significant potential improvements in commuter safety and product efficiency that are being identified through the research.
Something that PT does incredibly well is too efficiently move a large amount of people. It's a service we need and it wouldn't make sense or even be practical to replace these services with personally owned vehicles. With my design I have attempted to address the middle ground of transport where we need those short trips in between our transits of PT, and those last kilometre journeys home. To provide a cheaper service to a wide range of people makes these EV options more accessible and no longer a dream or fantasy. This is a great incentive for consumers, especially early adopters and younger consumers who don't have the money to spend on lavish vehicles, but need to travel on a regular basis. Regardless of where you live, my design addresses a mobility issue which is applicable everywhere and to everyone.
Nice whole system approach, very articulate process of explaining purpose. Good sense for aesthetics/graphics.