A few students from the College for Creative Studies and the University of Michigan ran with the theme "Inside Out" and created three concepts for the American Iron and Steel Institute's summer automotive design internship program.

All three designs try to take parts of a vehicle that would normally be obscured by sheet metal and plastic, and instead integrate them into the vehicle's exterior design. Two of the students, Alok Pradhan and Nicolas Stone, created the Dodge Dendro, which also goes by the moniker Black Mamba. Inspired by the natural design of the snake that shares the same name, the vehicle sports body panels that act as part of the suspension, theoretically soaking up depressions and pot-holes that surround the school's home turf.

The two other vehicles, dubbed the Pontiac Hematon and Jeep Roanoke, take the theme even further, with the latter inspired by H.R. Giger – which may be a fitting inspiration for the Jeep-branded concept.

More details about all three concepts can be read in the press release after the jump.


American Iron and Steel Institute Unveils the College for Creative Studies and University of Michigan Summer Internship Concept Cars

Detroit, MI, September 19, 2007 – Three dynamic automotive forms. Inspired by exoskeletons. Designed "Inside Out." When cars look this good, you can'tlook away.

What you see on the outside of these cars hints at what's going on the inside. A cocoon of steel provides safety, optimum handling, functional styling and superior automotive design.

Design and engineering students from the College for Creative Studies (CCS) and University of Michigan (UM) unveiled their heart-pounding car designs yesterday at the 19th annual American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) summer automotive design internship event.

"Inspiration comes in many forms, and each of these models prove that great things can happen with car design by incorporating advanced steel and safety technologies," said Ron Krupitzer, vice president of automotive applications for AISI. "Together the CCS and UM students collaborated on real world automotive challenges, developing three aggressively styled models, each on a distinct engineering platform."

The concept models that Debuted at this year's AISI "Inside Out" summer internship event are:

Dodge Dendro– a powerfully venomous sports car – designed by Nicolas Ren Stone, CCS, and engineered by Alok Pradhan, UM.

"Nature is by far the best designer of all. Many species evolved out of necessity to ensure their survival. Exoskeletons were one of these designs, protecting an animal's body from harm.

According to Stone, "Today's vehicles are built much like humans, with a structure under a layer of cosmetically pleasing skin. All of the strength of the vehicle is hidden. While the structure may be strong, the external parts outside the structure are easily susceptible to damage. My goal was to take the automobile and apply evolutionary design principles and the new technologies in steel to explore (and push) the possibilities for the next generation of cars.

"I designed an exoskeleton frame to enclose the occupants in a triangle shape. This unique shape allowed for the absence of a typical B-pillar, allowing the front grill to serve as an intrinsic part of the structure, rather than as decoration.

"The bumpers are connected through a long vertical structure that travels the length of the car through the interior. This anchors the structure, while providing stiffness to the rear "tail bone," which also serves as the trunk.

"Together with my engineering partner Alok, we proved that this proposed design not only met automotive safety requirements, but exceeded them.

"For the frame design, I combined the strength of exoskeletons with the flexibility of a creature that appears to have no skeleton, the snake. Able to flex its body into almost any position was a perfect compliment to steel technology currently being developed for airplane wings.

"The body panels actually flex with the vehicle, becoming an active part of the suspension. They appear as skin tightly stretched over the ridged exoskeleton. This vehicle is as much creature as it is machine.

"With this much innovation, strength and character, the car was unmistakably Dodge from the start. Dodge creates the impression of strength on the road, with a style and attitude that is unmistakable. And with their history of venomous serpentine sports cars and concepts, I wanted to offer the next step in the blood line.

"Inspired by the black mamba, also known as "Dendroaspis polylepis," the fastest and most venomous snake in the world, I introduce a truly extreme car that lives up to its name, the Dodge Dendro."

Jeep® Roanoke– an aggressively styled off-road vehicle mindful of the economy and environment – designed by Tyler Mars, CCS, and engineered by Zoheb Kahn, UM.

According to Mars, "The Roanoke is designed and engineered for 20-35 year olds that have a passion for the outdoors and need precise performance in a vehicle that is fun and environmentally friendly.

"This Jeep is inspired by the very dark, intimidating theme of artwork by H.R. Giger, and by the very unique, raw look of Jeep itself.

"I have designed this vehicle with a very aggressive theme with force and direction in every line. The Roanoake was created not only for performance and drivability, but also for clean air and economy. The mid-engine layout is ideal for handling and weight distribution.

"The 'Tweel' wheel and suspension design eliminates the risk of a blowout and adds to the overall intimidating character of the vehicle, while increasing interest and performance.

"The exposed framework around the cabin is comprised of hydroformed high-strength steel to emphasize the theme of exoskeleton. To improve safety and provide peace of mind, advanced high-strength steels are used strategically throughout the chassis in key areas, such as side-impact beams and exposed bumpers.

"Along with the hydroformed high-strength steel exoskeleton frame, advancements in technology include a clean V6 turbo diesel engine. The engine is environmentally friendly and provides excellent low-end torque and fuel economy, which makes the Roanoake an ideal vehicle for off- and on-road situations."

Pontiac Hematon– a sports car inspired by life, for the power elite who never follow – designed by Timothy O'Donnell, CCS and engineered by Jennifer Hoskins, UM.

According to O'Donnell, "A motorcycle is considered the ultimate thrill you can have on the street. This is where the Hematon draws inspiration. The Hematon incorporates efficiency, fun and also adds safety.

"Hematon is designed to appeal to the 20-30 year olds looking for a second car for fun or for a primary mode of transportation that is efficient and affordable. The Hematon is intended to be a competitor with high-end sport bikes and sports cars under $30,000.

"The Hematon is inspired by the exposed frame and integrated body parts seen on sport bikes. By pushing the frame out to the surface of the body, it becomes a visible reassuring reminder to the driver that there is a structurally sound, high-strength steel exoskeleton protecting them at all times.

"By combining knife-edge intersections with elegant flowing horizontal lines, the Hematon can capture a viewer's attention and guide the eye 360 degrees around the car. The nose is an aggressive design that implies forward motion inspired by the Pontiac Grand American Rolex race cars. The rear is where the Hematon houses it series hybrid drive train and cools its vital engine parts. The rear view is comparable to the look of a motorcycle's air-cooled engine.

"The chassis of the Hematon incorporates high-strength hydroformed side and rear rails. A rollover bar that connects to a central rail protects the driver from above and allows for the removal of the A-pillars. A steel beam also runs from side-to-side directly behind the occupants' seats. This allows for the energy in a side impact to be transferred away from the occupants and for a solid structure bracing the seats.

"Lightweight hydroformed and stamped body panels provide package space and help enable the knife-edge styling to flow seamlessly from exposed frame to painted body surface."

Since 1989, the AISI summer internship program has challenged the students to design concept cars with visual appeal directed at a specific theme. But whether creating concept cars from movie themes or from today's lifestyle challenges, the students work toward one basic goal: using advanced steel technologies to design safe, affordable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible vehicles.

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 32 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 125 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI's member companies represent more than 75 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.

The Automotive Applications Committee (AAC) is a subcommittee of the Market Development Committee of AISI and focuses on advancing the use of steel in the highly competitive automotive market. With offices and staff located in Detroit, cooperation between the automobile and steel industries has been key to its success. This industry cooperation resulted in the formation of the Auto/Steel Partnership, a consortium of DaimlerChrysler Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation and the member companies of the AAC. For more news or information, view the American Iron and Steel Institute /Automotive Applications Committee's website at www.autosteel.org.

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