The design of an inclusive taxi vehicle with Karsan and Hexagon Studio.
This design project rethinks the London Black Cab for the 21st century, and engages with Londoners to seek their views and understand their needs.
Working with Studio Hexagon and vehicle company Karsan based in Turkey, the brief is to produce an original, purpose-built vehicle that satisfies the requirements for both low emissions and the regulations associated with the London taxi whilst meeting the aspirations of drivers and passengers of all ages and abilities. The starting point was Concept V1, a prototype taxi with a large, airy interior that is lightweight in construction able to use a variety of power plants including full electric.
The current London cab is one of the few purpose-built taxis in the world but the design is over two decades old. It needs modernisation, fresh thinking, a new approach to interiors utilising advances in materials, construction techniques and technology. An inclusive design approach will be used to underpin the approach and produce a well-researched and validated solution.
Five key areas are being looked at:
The driver area (making it more comfortable and functional)
Passenger environment (increasing flexibility and designing it for short journeys)
The driver interface (incorporating new technology)
Iconic look (important for drivers and tourists)
The door aperture (many travellers found access difficult).
Each of these areas will involve a series of iterative loops spanning literature review, people-centred research and idea generation to develop new ideas based working with taxi drivers and passengers. The taxi is the driver’s workspace where they spend long hours but the current driver environment does not provide the necessary comfort and amenities. In contrast, passengers only spend a short time in the cab and therefore have different physical, mental, visual and cognitive needs. Central to the study will be co-creation workshops and events with Londoners.
Karsan set its vision as ‘Limitless Transportation Solutions’ which aims to cover the commercial vehicle segment from LCV to HCV with multibrands as contractor, licencee and licensor. In order to enlarge the product portfolio, Karsan not only develops its own brand but also proactively proposes new derivatives for its contractors and licensors’’ products. Within the scope of this vision, Karsan is in the course of transforming from a ‘production company’ to an ‘OEM’. Accordingly, Karsan is managing the whole of its automotive value chain through three different, but strategically partnered companies.
Hexagon Studio has expertise at each step of the Product Development Value Chain and provides Design, Engineering, Project Management Support and Prototype Production services’ according to the customer needs. Hexagon Studio and Karsan Hexagon Studio is Turkey’s largest engineering & design centre. It gives services to the automotive, transport and defence industries covering the product development cycle. Its sister company Karsan, is the main vehicle manufacturer in Turkey and has produced cars for over 45 years, together with trucks and buses for third parties like Renault, Peugeot, Hyundai and Citroën.
Testimonial Tolga Kaan Doğancıoğlu | Managing Director at Hexagon Studio
“It was nice working with Niels on the New London Taxi. He is a skilful vehicle designer and has shown leadership and initiative as a Senior Research Associate at RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Centre. Niels is highly engaged, has a keen interest in research driven design and understands how to translate research theory into a desirable, distinguishable and stunningly beautiful design.“