The way we move around the city is changing. To reach their destination, more and more people are choosing to travel on foot, by bicycle or by scooter. The need for urban furnishings that allow residents and tourists to rest and relax is also increasing. Design students Corentin Janel and Guillaume Innocenti came up with an interesting idea: a motorized bench they called “TOD”, which stands for “talk or drive”, or “chat or travel”. This concept won the award Ford Fund Smart Mobility Challenge and the authors of the project will receive 12,500 pounds (14,600 euros) to make it a reality. The students who participated in the competition, organized in the United Kingdom by Ford Fund (the philanthropic foundation of the Blue Oval) in collaboration with the Royal College of Art, proposed solutions for sustainable urban mobility that could also represent an advantage for the community .
“The motorized bench is an excellent example of how design can help change the fabric of the city: it’s fun, comfortable and multifunctional,” said Amko Leenarts, Director of Design, Ford Europe. “It is a smart idea to integrate mobility into the urban context, which encourages people to interact with each other and allows them to experience the city in a whole new way.” “TOD” is an adaptable system that provides a static mode and a mobile mode. In static mode it is a three-seater extendable bench. You can also easily add accessories such as chairs and corner seating, using a series of quick-connect kits, as well as connect two benches with a square top to create a picnic table. In mobile mode, the hybrid between scooter and bench it can accommodate two people, allowing them to move at a maximum speed of 20 km / h. A closed compartment in the center of the bench can be used to store any luggage, while the elastic bands on the sides allow you to carry long or short items. Users can locate and book the bench-scooter using a special app.
“We wanted to create a public service capable of adapting to the needs of users living in urban contexts. After winning the competition, we have even more confidence in our project and we will be able to build a prototype to turn our idea into reality. Working on a 1: 1 scale prototype we will be able to fully understand the characteristics of the project and at the same time reflect on the materials, the manufacturing process and the user experience “ stated the designers Janel and Innocenti. Ford Fund also awarded a £ 5,000 (€ 5,840) prize to “Cardiac Patrol”, a potential solution to equip private vehicles with an external emergency defibrillator, and to “Communi-T”, an interactive vehicle that could help homeless and other destitute people.