For several decades, car design as been tested with clay. Large scale models of both the vehicle’s exterior and interior design would be made from clay and shaped by hand tools. It’s a way to sort of see the car before having to manufacture it. It’s a design practice still used today. However, the future of design will remove those clay models entirely and it’s already being done in the Audi Design Studio in Malibu, California.
The Audi Design Studio in Malibu is headed by Gael Buzyn, whom we’ve previously interviewed about the Audi PB18 Concept which was designed at his studio. Buzyn recently spoke with Laura Burstein from Robb Report to talk about the PB18 and the future of design.
“We created the PB18 without any clay; we just sent the data and had it milled in Germany,” Buzyn told Burstein. “I’m confident we can now achieve the development of a car almost all digitally.”
Rather than clay models, Buzyn and his team used virtual reality to “see” the car in the flesh. The final VR design was then sent to Audi Germany and we then got the stunning PB18. Fascinating stuff.
It’s not just designing and testing where VR will be used, though. According to Buzyn, VR can be used to help customers become better acquainted with the car they’re about to order and really understand the differences in color, spec and interior options.
“We want to create bonds with exclusive customers and understand what kind of products would resonate well in this market,” Buzyn told Burstein. “We really want to understand what they expect and how to go beyond those expectations.”
Why design the cars in Malibu and manufacture them in Germany, though? Why have that 6,000 mile difference between the two. Buzyn actually feels that Malibu is the perfect place for the Audi Design Studio. “It’s the only place that has all the right aspects of the brand; it’s the perfect embodiment of California lifestyle. Every weekend is like a mix of the Nu?rburgring and a mini Monterey Car Week.” he said.
After seeing the Audi PB18 e-tron in the flesh and having spoken with Buzyn on a few occasions, we know his passion for the brand and his work. With him at the help of the Malibu studio and this level of tech at his fingertips, we can expect a lot of great new designs just like the aforementioned all-electric supercar concept and we’re very excited about them.