Unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel, no pun intended, both electric and self-driving vehicles are in the pipeline. This next phase of passenger transportation, one of the most significant changes the industry has experienced since the shift from horses and buggies to gasoline engine vehicles, remains right around the corner.
Since the ’60s and the airing of the cartoon “The Jetsons,” we’ve been hearing about fully autonomous, flying vehicles and today we’re closer than we have ever been. While infrastructure will have to be put in place to accommodate how we commute, car designers around the globe are working vigorously behind the scene to reimagine the experience of traveling in a vehicle, since the traditional means of sitting behind the steering wheel will no longer be in play.
In order to give us a peek into the future, we caught up with one of the foremost forward-thinkers and creative spirits in the field of design. Global car designer Andre Hudson, who spent the first half of his career working for both General Motors and Hyundai, recently led a team of designers and sculptors, while working at the Italy-based Icona Design, reimagining the next wave of vehicles.
Hudson is a diamond in the rough in the field of auto design. In today’s world, one has a better chance of meeting a NBA or NFL player, as opposed to a car designer, and more specifically, a Black car designer. Globally, there are only 30 Black car designers. Hudson, who is known for adding curves and sex appeal to the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, played a key role with the stylish, hot-selling four-door sedan, generating so much cash for the Korean automaker, it gave them enough confidence to develop the Genesis luxury brand. The Korean brand’s luxury flagship sedan, the G90, was also heavily influenced by the design genius. While serving as the design director of Icona’s only U.S. studio, Hudson worked in collaboration with their studios in Germany, China and Italy, creating a fully autonomous vehicle that would finally give the world a realistic glimpse on the auto show circuit of what’s to come. The all-new, bubble-shaped Nucleus, which kind of reminds one of a flying saucer, made its international global debut, during the spring of 2018, at the Geneva International Auto Show, and its only U.S. appearance, at last November’s L.A. Auto Show.
“While the Nucleus was a global project for Icona Design, the U. S. studio led the project with all of the concept sketch development, which consisted of concept ideation and clay model development for the exterior,” Hudson said. “Inspiration came from many places but most directly the idea that we wanted to make a larger mono-volume vehicle (essentially a van) into the most beautiful and sensual shape that we could.”
“The interior of the Nucleus was meant to surprise you as you stepped inside and took a seat. It was to be the most non-automotive feeling space one could imagine. We really wanted it to feel as though you were truly in a modern lounge or a hotel suite. Pictures really do not do the space justice. You have to sit in it and take in all the lines, the light and the ambiance.”
“Finally, the Nucleus was really designed around three occupants as space is luxury.”
Hudson is the host of SiriusXM’s only multicultural automotive radio show which features one-on-one conversations with influencers like him and can be heard weekly on Channel 141, Fridays at 12 p.m. EST. For more information, go to JeffCars.com.