Dearborn, Mich. — For the first time in a decade of Deep Orange projects, Ford Motor Company is the original equipment manufacturer.
This is a two-year, unspecified dollar amount commitment to automotive engineering students according to James Forbes, technical leader UX Implementation for Ford Motor Company. The Deep Orange vehicle will be the 10th prototype designed and conceived by automotive engineering students in the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, but it’s not the first time Ford and Clemson have crossed paths.
“[I] have a couple of the Clemson grads working in the autonomous vehicle group [at Ford],” Forbes, said. In fact, about 20 students from previous years now work at Ford. Automobile aficionados may see a concept car that stretches their imagination from current cars on the road.
“The next two years will tell,” Forbes said. “We are looking at a lot of the unique, the feature content that comes to use with an autonomous vehicle. Now that one less person is devoted to the driving … what will they do with their time? We are looking at bigger displays,” Forbes said.
The hands-on project-based learning focuses on systems integration and fresh ideas, according to this week’s press release. The program, which runs two academic years parallel with Clemson’s master’s program in automotive engineering, showcases advanced technology and provides students an opportunity to work directly with automotive industry partners to develop ideas and concepts.
Pierluigi Pisu, associate professor at CU-ICAR who leads the Deep Orange 10 project, stated in the press release, this represents a unique and exciting challenge for students and faculty.
“Deep Orange 10 will give students an opportunity to experience the complexity of modern vehicle development and overcome the challenges of human-centered innovation for the autonomous vehicles of the future,” he said.
For the tenth iteration of Deep Orange, students will develop a clean slate, purpose-built, electric autonomous mobility concept for 2030 Smart City life. Automotive engineering students will gain real-world experience by developing an ingenious vehicle design, open autonomous vehicle architecture and disruptive solutions. As part of the educational experience, students will explore new approaches in user experience, such as ride comfort, voice and gesture control, and integration of passenger biometric and pose information with vehicle functions.
“We look forward to the fresh insights and the energy that the Clemson students will bring to the vehicle development process,” Forbes said. “This collaboration will provide us a new perspective on the opportunities presented by cutting-edge technologies now available to us.”