Core77 Design Awards
- Other Years
CARe – an autonomous service for a fractal family
Child seat in a car today is a retrofit that compromises togetherness, care and separation at the same time. ‘CARe’ is an autonomous electric vehicleservice-based-solution that is designed around children from 0-5yrs. The concept is an attempt to improve parent-child travel experience. Extensive research and ideation with families makes this design solution a unique one. Child seat transforms into Segway-based autonomous pram, making ‘traveling-with-baby’ extremely convenient.
When I observed young families travel in their cars, I realized that the way we live in our homes is not the way we travel in our cars. A child seat is retrofit on the rear of a car when the family is travelling and this for me upsets the equation of togetherness during the travel. The age of a child from 0-5yr is critical in the growth due to the attention and learning the child needs and goes through.
Today people own a car that is parked more than the amount of time it is used. Running costs of owning a car are high and this is apart from the monthly payments that need to be done towards loan repayments. So it seems thatthe product is underutilized most of the times.
For a Child seat, consumers tend to purchase the best quality-no compromise top rated products for their children. However once the child outgrows the seat, these products need to be disposed mostly. Pram/Pushchair: Need to be bought separately since most of them do not adapt to the car seat. This leads to peoplebuying larger cars once they have children to accommodate the child seat and the pram/pushchair in the boot. The concept of station wagon is a direct solution to such need.
Four case studies with families having one child from age 3months to 7years were done. There have been very interesting insights that have come forwards from this close interactions and observations after spending at least 2-3 days with each family. What makes the solution unique is that it is a proposal that is not imagined but created in partnership during the interaction with the families. The ideation to arrive at a solution was done with the families and they had been invited to the final RCA show to see a 1:4 scale model of the car and the autonomous unit. Process of research;
- Questionnaire to both parents and child
- Spend weekends with families and make observations and draw insights
- Ideate with mannequins - ideal seating layout
The extensive study spanned almost a month. For example, 3 months old Eva's father would sit behind in the car whereas mother would drive the car. So there was a disconnect in sharing and the togetherness observed which resonated with all the case studies. So during ideation the primary purpose of keeping the child in between the adult seats came as the best solution.
The business model here is non-ownership one. Both car and the pram chair are autonomous level 5. This is a service that will be used as and when necessary mostly for an urban scenario.
There are two modes of seating. In both modes, the child seat is in the middle of adult seats. This is to be able to experience the journey together as a family. The baby/child seat changes modes from back facing to front facing as the child grows up.
Care Mode: Is applicable from 0-3years where the child seat or rather position is parent facing and in the middle where the parents can touch the child. This is done to not only to assure the child being safe but also an emotional connect while travelling. A baby’s spine is under development until the age of 3 and the weight of the head is relatively more. Therefore it is essential to make the baby face backwards while travelling.
Share mode: From 3-5years is a sitting position at an eye level with the parent, facing in the same direction and sharing the experience of the journey. The seat changes position to become upright and facing forwards to be able to sit a child from 3-5years ages. It also pushes the seat position higher to match the eye level of adults. The idea is to be able to share the experience of travel as a family. Spine of a child develops enough that it can now face forwards.
Pram Chair is the biggest innovation of this project. The Pram chair itself is the child seat inside the car, that moves on two wheels both inside and outside the car. The Pram Chair has only two wheels since it is based on Segway technology. This Pram Chair is also autonomous that is a part of the service package but can also be ordered independently. It can optionally come with or without the car. This eliminated the problem of owning multiple child seats. The Pram Chair need not be pushed with hand, but moves with the parent since it is laden with proximity sensors connected to smart devices in pocket or on wrist.
Family cars are usually considered boring and not emotional. The attempt here is to make the family car look dynamic, agile and appealing to the customer. The key customer or decision makers here are the young parents. The car is designed around the child is functionally, however emotionally it has been designed around adults. The exterior design has a very strong character of a frame in champagne colour that signifies a protective envelope around the occupants. Ingress & Egress is done from the front of the car, since both adults and the Pram Chair need to move in and out of the car easily. Being electric there is not engine, however the flat batteries in the floor drive two hub motors on the rear wheels. The stance of the car is forward leaning since being a car with not engine in the front lets it have a forward leaning stance. This is a new trend in electric vehicles. Wheel covers do not rotate, however the tires do. A strong shut-line along the side of the car runs from the centre of the front wheel to the roof where the entire glass canopy hinges to form a door that opens up giving a grand feeling of arrival.