Cars today are all about tech and it starts right from the conceptualisation stage and plays the biggest role in design. Tata Motors’ products, which have seen a huge transformation in recent times, owe a lot to the way the company approached the design part.
By using artificial intelligence and virtual reality, the company was able to greatly reduce the time gap between its different product launches with the design team able to work in different geographies at the same time.
The company has now come out with a new concept, Avinya, which will be used to design its next generation of electric vehicles, a segment where Tata Motors is the market leader. Derived from Sanskrit language, Avinya stands for innovation and EVs produced under it will be based on Gen 3 architecture.
The vehicles powered by this concept will see their launches 2025 onwards. Martin Uhlarik, global design head of Tata Motors, told FE that the virtual avatar of cars powered by this concept at the design stage can move at ease across the company’s three studios in India, Italy and UK.
The result: while it takes on an average three years to design a car, the time can be brought down to two years through such a concept and maybe more later.“Everybody was sketching on tablets, young designers are data literate and created 3D data. The Avinya project was completed in record time.
We never made a model of the interior. From the first conversation to the car rolling out as a driving prototype was over in less than six months,” he said.The traditional way of making models would have taken a year. Here, just one model was made and then prototypes created.
For interiors, a physical model was never made and the entire stuff was done through virtual reality.“All the three studios are linked through virtual reality and we will soon have a fourth one, which will be a meta studio,” Uhlarik said. Uhlarik is based in London and his team is spread across three Tata Motors design centres in different geographies.
The 200-member team comprises designers from 18 nationalities.”The Nexon is one of the best-selling products for Tata Motors. It was the perfect platform for being the pioneer EV. The design was a big part of the success of the Nexon,” says Uhlarik.
He said that customer feedback on why they are purchasing the vehicles showed that design was one of the main attraction.“Customers expect a higher level of design and will not accept a second-grade one. Every surface, every detail is considered before we sign off the final data,” says Uhlarik.According to Uhlarik, the new generation cars are now a combination of the premium hatch, SUV, MPV and sedans and the distinction between them is blurring, so design is key to them making a mark and becoming the preferred buy of customers.