The theme of the conference is Resolving Functional Conflicts in Vehicle Design. Cars, trucks, trains, airplanes and boats provide a transport solution for people and goods. In doing so, they generate many economic and societal benefits. However, they also incur many environmental burdens, such as greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion and environmental noise. This conflict between transport provision and environmental impacts is at the heart of future sustainable vehicle design. Resolving it requires not only technological improvements of the vehicles themselves but also a rethink of the wider vehicles system and the behaviour of the vehicle user.


The Organising Committee invites contributions on topics including:

  1. Modelling for multifunctional design. Considering more than one design function at a time can require excessive resources or bias one function over another. This topic deals with how different types of engineering behaviour can be captured with a sufficient level of accuracy and requiring a feasible amount of resources. It builds on traditional vehicle engineering disciplines such as vehicle dynamics, structural mechanics, aerodynamics, etc. but with an emphasis on multifunctional, cross-disciplinary approaches. For example, in the case of crosswind gusts, what level of modelling accuracy must aerodynamic forces be included in vehicle dynamic simulations.
  2. Making trade-offs in design. When making design choices it is often not trivial to pick the best path forward, either because targets are poorly defined or because of complexity in discerning improvement. This topic deals with decision support tools and global optimisation methods, which could be used to assist engineers and designers, and how these can be used within industrial practice. For example, how to include tradeoffs between reductions in use-phase CO2 by material and propulsion changes, with burdens incurred in the production and end of life.
  3. Efficient use of materials and space. Vehicles consume many types of resources, such as the materials they are built with, the energy used to propel them and the space needed for transport and parking infrastructure. This topic deals with how these resources can used in the most efficient way in provision of transport for society’s benefit. For example, where and when can expensive lightweight materials be leveraged to best effect; or how does the introduction of autonomous vehicles enable a more efficient use of vehicles in the provision of a transport function.
  4. Integrating new solutions. New subsystems often have consequences beyond the function they were introduced to perform. This topic deals with how these knock-on effects can be considered in terms of the overall system and for different market segments. For example, the introduction of electric motors not only impacts on propulsion but also cabin heating, requirements for vibration damping, safety, etc. Also, on a higher level, increased electrification, automation and connectivity will have impacts on the transport system and society.
  5. Transforming the product system. Sustainable vehicles require a transformation of not only the vehicles themselves but also of the whole product-service system. This topic deals with how the product-service system and supply chain must be changed over its full life cycle, from suppliers, to OEMs, to service providers, as the transition to circular economy is made. For example, how to close the loop for end-of-life trucks; or how can novel business models, such as carsharing, contribute to sustainable transport.
  6. Transforming the vehicle-transport system. Vehicles form part of the wider transport and societal systems. This topic deals with the complex dynamics of transforming these systems looking at aspects such as avoiding rebound effects and overcoming structural barriers to change, along with methods to synthesise these dynamics such as gaming techniques and system dynamics modelling. For example, what are the driving forces and mechanisms behind the increased prevalence of SUVs and their associated negative impacts.
  7. Sustainable design. Improved vehicle and transport solutions must meet environmental, economic and social goals. This topic deals with how these differing aspects can be included together as part of the design and production processes, and includes areas such as eco-design, sustainable product development and design for behaviour change. For example, can the use of materials needed in electric vehicles be scaled up sustainably to the global vehicle fleet.
  8. Early-stage design. The greatest potential to make improvements occurs in early-stage design when the design solution is at its most flexible. However, this is also when the least knowledge to inform decisions is available meaning that changes tend to be incremental and based on previous design iterations rather than transformative. This topic looks at approaches to overcoming this paradoxical situation, exploring how to develop transformative solutions that meet user requirements and the relationship between analysis and synthesis in design. For example, how much does the current vehicle-transport system architecture constrain new solutions.