The Perfect Storm

The automotive industry is at its most significant crossroads in the last 100 years, as several key factors combine to create the perfect storm of change: global warming, inner city pollution, congestion, parking shortages, government regulation, commonisation of platforms and the
strengthening of the start up economy.

These changes are creating new opportunities and challenges for the transport industries, the companies, governments and associations with the vision to harness these opportunities by
satisfying the needs and desires of the customers will be the new leaders in the next chapter of the automotive industry.

One solution we foresee is AETHER - a First Class Autonomous Pod.

Peace of mind

AETHER is a first class autonomous vehicle offering a seamless door to door service, connected and intelligent, calming and uplifting.

The user experience is one of a trusted driver: informative, interesting and inquisitive. Giving you information when needed, but leaving you alone when you want to rest and switch off.

Adaptable in its design to allow the service provider to express their brand identity. Flexible in its architecture to be a first class service for an individual, a business class service for 2, and an economy service for 4.


Digital CAD mock ups were created in VR to check assembly conditions and to evaluate the design concept at full scale.

Final project sign off was conducted using our in-house VR equipment, along with photo-realistic rendering software Autodesk VRED.


The package of the vehicle has been designed to allow a versatile passenger space.

The batteries, inverters and battery management systems have been split symmetrically and placed between the wheel hub motors at both ends of the vehicle. This allows for a modular build, allowing for different wheel bases off the same platform, a safe passenger space with protective bulkheads and ample crumple zones.


The user interface is reassuring and informative, with the ability of the user to increase the interactivity with the vehicle to get more information, or decrease it to relax and switch off, with the simple dialling up or down of the vehicle controller - or any paired personal device.

The focus of the information is on the voyage, giving constant ETA updates, selected routes, travel and weather conditions.

To instil trust, the vehicle will display its “thought” processes, showing what it sees and why it is making the decisions it is making. It can offer interesting information en-route, can keep you up to date on local and global affairs, and keep you connected with family, work or friends.


Intuitive - the vehicle will update to use a familiar interface for each user, whilst remaining elegant and unobtrusive.

Multi channel - the interaction can be from any mobile device, your phone, tablet or watch, or from the physical controller in the vehicle, displayed on the large wrap around screen.


Careful application of colour and materials are key to creating a quality product.

Curation of touch and feel material boards were used in the design process to create the AETHER interior look and feel.


Parametric modelling was used on AETHER to create a number of number of unique design details and surface forms. Each of which were generated using a process of design driven by algorithms and the expression of flexible rules and parameters.

These design details were featured both on the exterior and interior of the AETHER design.


Concept design though to the final Class-A surfaces were created using Autodesk Alias.

This ensured that the conceptual themes and sketches were translated into 3D surfaces with both design sensitivity and engineering feasibility.