Valuing the Future of Storytelling, Autonomous Transportation Company Looks to CCS Students to Predict the Story of the Future

August 10, 2022
graphic of an augmented reality vehicle with zoox branding

Bay Area creator of a league of autonomous vehicles looks to CCS students for unique design and conceptual perspectives to help define what the future of mobility should look like.

Zoox Automotive, a subsidiary of Amazon developing autonomous vehicles aiming to make personal transportation safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable, recently traveled to Detroit’s College for Creative Studies (CCS) to host a sponsored studio course. 

This course challenged undergraduate Transportation Design and graduate Color Materials Design students to think of car design as a story, and not just a sketch or a drawing. This led to students being inspired by a wide array of things, and while some students took inspiration from childhood memories, others were inspired by unlikely sources, like the anatomy of a puffer fish.

“Students were designing vehicles based on a story that we’re [Zoox] developing,  representing relationships found in nature,” says Lead Industrial Designer, Nahuel Battaglia. “It was incredible to see what students came up with, and it was amazing to see vehicles that were developed for children, especially after not seeing much of that in the industry.”

Students worked with representatives from Zoox all semester long—including a graduate of CCS–Andrew Rudd (‘17, Transportation Design), who’s been an Industrial Designer at Zoox since 2019. 

Rudd and his colleagues were impressed, inspired, and challenged by the final concepts students worked all semester to produce.\

“You expect to come back and see students that really struggled with their understanding of the brief, or didn’t have enough time to reach the result they wanted,” Rudd said. “But this was one of the first times, even in my time in school, where I saw a project that everyone had something stellar. I didn’t have to fake it and pretend that something was good. They impressed and inspired me, which is why we [Zoox] came here.”