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News Graduate wins prestigious mentoring prize for smart taxi design

A Staffordshire University graduate will be mentored by Ford of Europe after winning a prestigious award for his COVID-secure smart taxi design

Self driving taxi 'muvone' has been praised by industry experts
Image: Self driving taxi 'muvone' has been praised by industry experts

This award is the cherry on top of my studies at Staffs Uni and I am looking forward to my future in the design industry

Marius Lochner, MA graduate

Marius Lochner, who has been studying for an MA by Negotiated Study - Arts and Creative Technologies, won the ‘Ford New Norm Mobility Award’ at New Designers 2020, which challenged design graduates to develop mobility concepts, ideas and solutions that address the new scenarios presented by COVID-19.

His self-driving taxi for one, the “muvone”, prioritises secure transport, enabling people to travel where and when they want in comfort.

Marius, 25 from Erlangen in Germany, explained: “I created an autonomous vehicle for one passenger with the aim of making public transport more private. Important for me as well, is that the vehicle is capable of transporting a wide range of passengers and is inclusive for people that need support if their movement is limited in any way, for example, in the case of the elderly or an impaired passenger.

“Another important factor for my design was the current COVID-19 situation and the need for social distancing, which can be maintained by my concept only having one seat, lacking the need of a driver due to autonomous driving and having an easy to clean interior.”

The name muvone comes from the Latin word "novum", which means "new". Writing it backwards reads muvone, which when read out loud creates "move on".By adding an "e", the name of the concept further explains itself.

In order to address mobility issues, the seat is adjustable and assists people in standing up and sitting down as well as being ergonomically designed to make travelling short distances comfortable.

The award, run in partnership with Top Gear Magazine, was part of New Designers, the UK’s largest graduate design show, which was held virtually this year.

The judges commented: “As a smart vehicle for a smart world “muvone” sits closely with Ford’s human-centric approach to design, at a time when the vehicle is a preferred private space and personal health is more important than ever.”

For his winning concept, Marius will receive a £1,000 prize, plus a semester of mentoring from Ford of Europe chief designers Ernst Reim and Sonja Vandenberk, who were part of the judging panel along with Hamilton and Amko Leenarts, Ford’s European director of Design.

Marius added: “I am very happy and to win this award, as it feels like all the hard work and the time that I have invested in this project paid off. This award is the cherry on top of my studies at Staffs Uni and I am looking forward to my future in the design industry.”

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