Culinary Coach is a concept for a food truck adapted to an autonomous world, and a day when large companies start encroaching on the mobile food market.
The truck is fully autonomous in both driving and operation, and only requires a "barista" to expedite the customer experience.
A vending machine within the serving table prepares the food, reducing the space necessary for a kitchen and eliminating human to food preparation contact for sanitation purposes. Its form and layout are carefully designed to maximize efficiency of the customer flow, as well as the refilling and cleaning of the various surfaces and spaces within the vehicle. In addition, the entire vehicle is green; with an electric motor and photovoltaic glass that are all incorporated within the scope of the vehicle design.
When we approached the task of redefining the experience of mobile food, we immediately realized that designing a food truck requires extensive knowledge of all aspects related to the industry and users. We researched laws and regulations regarding autonomous vehicles, mobile food, culinary standards, etc, as well as ways that these laws might change in the conceptual timeline of our vehicle. We talked with users, sent out surveys, researched interviews with people in the field,investigated emerging technologies, and caught up on the latest in the automotive world. This phase took 5 weeks to complete.
During our research we came across two emerging technologies, that when combined, could create a unique and novel experience for the customer. There is a brand of vending machine in Italy and other countries that creates a whole fresh pizza from scratch. Seconds after placing your order, the machine mixes the dough, rolls out the pizza, spreads on the sauce, and cooks the entire meal in only 3 minutes. This technology, applied to a food truck and a limited menu, would be groundbreaking. This, combined with the emerging omnipresence of self-driving technology, could create a completely autonomous vehicle that serves a limited menu without the size of a conventional kitchen.
We chose a fiberglass exterior to reduce weight and limit the tooling that the vehicle panels would need. In addition, we incorporated many remanufactured parts such as the base chassis, engine, drivetrain, and wheels. Strength and durability were also key in the material choice for the interior and exterior, as these vehicles would be designed to last for the entire lifetime of the business model that included them.
To best design and customize the customer experience, we spared no time in creating a full scale cardboard mockup of the interior of the truck. The feedback was incredibly positive, as the majority of users appreciated the approach that we took towards the interior. We incorporated some advice from user feedback, such as the addition of a "barista" and improvements to the overall design and heights of the tables. After considering human factors and finalizing the design and layout, we were left with our final design. We sketched the final versions, and conceived the entire vehicle in solidworks to finally realize the design. We CAD designed the entirety of the vehicle, including chassis, motor, drivetrain, and exterior paneling. We completed the CAD design and 3d printed the entire model.
The walk through of the final design is as follows: The customer walks up to the vehicle and enters via the ramp into the vehicle. The large side windows allow them to see how full the vehicle is and gauge their approach appropriately. Sunlight is allowed to flow through the large overhead glass panels, charging the vehicle batteries and illuminating the interior. The customer approaches the ordering table and is greeted by the barista. They place the order and pay for their food using the touchscreen table. The table is based off of PizzaHuts conceptual UI, where they swipe ingredients right onto the pizza with gestures.
Once the order is placed the table begins to cook the food, and the customer walks over to pour their drink from the drink machine. They place their cup inside and the machine fills it with the customers preferred drink, then raises it slowly from the center of the machine. This low center of gravity assists the vehicle during turns. Throughout this time the "barista" is assisting the user through their experience, as well as monitoring all aspects of the vehicle through the touch screen control panel in the cockpit. The food is prepared and comes out on the conveyor belt. The customer grabs the food and proceeds to the condiment station, where they are presented with an array of choices. For a trash can they are offered a standard receptacle or a recycling station bin.