SHIWA (4,700mm long, 2,000mm wide, 1,500 high and with a 3,660mm wheelbase) is a noiseless zero emissions self-driving vehicle with four seats and four electric motors integrated in the drivetrain. Shiwa – a Japanese word meaning “fold” – indicates the form/action able to transform a surface without resistance into a self-supporting object, as in origami: the fold gives form and function to a surface which otherwise would lack them. This is the basic concept starting from which the Korean student Youngjin SHIM drafted her project, which was then developed by a team composed by her and eleven other Master students, including the Italian Luca MENICACCI and the Indian Jaykishan Vithalbhai LAKHANI. The external structure of the concept is inspired by the fold/origami idea.
The concept car highlights a new idea of an object strong through its form, redefining the idea of chassis and of external structure, which in this case encloses the cabin shaped like a suspended “diamond”. The exterior origami protecting the diamond-cabin is made of metal composite material with an aluminium finish and is connected to a frame. The Shiwa cabin interior surfaces are designed to project multimedia contents towards the passengers, outdoors or to create an augmented reality. The cabin is designed to bring people together, thanks to the seats configuration disrupting the traditional passenger-driver hierarchy and delineating different spaces and uses and reinterpreting the concept of conversation and interaction inside the vehicle. Shiwa envelops the passengers both physically, in their sensory dimension and in all the relational aspects among themselves and with the outside world.
The drive system is AWD (All-Wheel-Drive) and uses 4 brushless motors mounted directly on the wheels, a totally electric power unit allowing the car to move with no emissions whatsoever. Shiwa is an IICV – Individual Identity Companion Vehicle: it learns the identity, interests and habits of its occupants, it recognizes their features and adapts its behaviour to circumstances and to passengers. Among its features there is a fingerprint keyless entry system: this way keys are no longer needed because the car recognizes its owner. Shiwa also features full-LED headlights and a front OLED display indicating the charging level of the car and allowing the opening and the insertion of the charging plug-in.