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First look: Ford lights up with GloCar

Lights, camera, action: The GloCar was developed after Ford studied possible future societal scenarios.

Ford comes up with a concept to help avoid night-time accidents

12 May 2003

YEP it's your first look and probably your last at another wacky Ford concept called the GloCar, which as its name suggests actually lights up to be more visible at night.

Following in the tradition of chief designer J Mays' partly-bamboo MA concept shown in LA earlier this year, the GloCar has been created for an exhibition - in this case called "National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now", an exhibit now on display at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York.

Ford figures show 60 per cent of accidents occur at intersections at night, so GloCar is illuminated by translucent panels and LED lights.

And there are also sustainability benefits. Because the manufacturing process is simplified the paint application is reduced and air pollution minimised.

The GloCar is clad in injection-moulded translucent plastic panels and uses LED lights to change the body panel colour, intensity and frequency in response to safety conditions and user preferences. The driver can either stand out or blend in.

The customisable GloCar was designed to be safe, fun and evoke emotion, said Laurens van den Acker, chief designer at Ford's Brand Imaging Group.

"The soft glowing panels serve as a safety feature to make you very visible at night," he explained. "The rear panel doubles as a brake light, and the side panels as blinkers. When somebody comes too close, the panels increase in intensity, signalling the driver to keep a distance."The only car on display at the exhibit, the GloCar is built around a lightweight aluminium space frame with aluminium extrusions and castings. It is powered by fuel cell technology.

Ford says GloCar came about after extensive socio-cultural and technological trend research.

The research determined five scenarios of the future: the unfolding universe, the mosaic society, the experiential society, the sustainable society and the caring society.

"These scenarios were used to anticipate future consumer needs and provide solutions for new challenges the automotive industry might face," said van den Acker. "The intended user is always the end user - the customer."The ecological and bottom line benefits might be obvious said Mr van den Acker, but the positive social impact of the GloCar is also important.

"The GloCar projects an image of concern, safety, intelligence and lightness and takes the car from an aggressor to a protector," he explained. "Imagine hundreds of GloCars, brightening up a city. It shows a future where cars become more intelligent and optimistic."

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