Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDyson School of Design Engineering

Head of the School of Design Engineering



+44 (0)20 7594 7049p.childs Website CV




Studio 1, 10 Princes Gardens10-12 Prince's GardensSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Stobart, RK and Childs, PRN},
publisher = {Professional Engineering Publishing Limited},
title = {Total Vehicle Technology: How do we get the innovation back into vehicle design},
year = {2002}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Early developments of passenger cars were fresh and radical and the popular imagination was firmly captured. The novelty of the early Ford Model T cars gave way to a low priced commodity version that, while cost effective, quickly lost popularity. It was the innovation promoted by Alfred Sloan of General Motors that forced Henry Ford to develop the Model A. Since then car manufacturers have frequently rung the changes to keep the buying public interested.Nearly a century after cars were first sold, their design has settled into a predictable form. Through this period the engineering progress has been staggering: passenger safety, exhaust emissions, passenger comfort, and driveability have all improved beyond recognition. Radical changes however are all too rare. The emergence of the MPV concept has made a big difference to family driving, and the arrival of the Fiat Multipla illustrates how far the concept can go in terms of spacious transport. The Smart car is a convenient town car of high utility and with its boosted downsized mid positioned engine represents a radical departure. We have seen radical progress with electronics and safety technologies.So where else have we been able to see innovation? There are big heavy vehicles, the retro look and “crossover” designs that give the impression of a desperate attempt to retain a fading market. Beneath the surface of the car innovation can be seen, but is by no means radical. Why does the truly radical so rarely emerge when we know it is possible? What is the key to releasing innovation at a faster rate?Much can be explained by history and the industry structure that has developed as a consequence. Where technology advance comes primarily through the convergence of several technologies an industry structure that keeps technologies separate is starting from a disadvantaged position. However there are hopeful signs where major (Tier 1) suppliers are looking to do more of their own innovation. In partnership
AU - Stobart,RK
AU - Childs,PRN
PB - Professional Engineering Publishing Limited
PY - 2002///
SN - 9781860583773
TI - Total Vehicle Technology: How do we get the innovation back into vehicle design
ER -