At the recent Frankfurt International Motor Show, KIA Motors’ new concept car, the Proceed Concept, made its world debut.
“The Proceed Concept is our bold and engaging vision for a potential member of the next generation cee’d family,” said Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer Europe for KIA Motors. “Embodying the spirit and athleticism of the current pro_cee’d, the Proceed Concept is an extended hot hatch that encapsulates KIA’s performance spirit. It’s an ambassador of all our emotion, our passions and our dynamic values. It’s the pro_cee’d reborn, more beautiful than ever before.
“The pro_cee’d has always been KIA’s performance halo model in the cee’d family. Since its debut in 2008 it has embodied all our driving passion, and the model that succeeded it in 2012 extended this dynamic lineage. However, with many European drivers seeking alternatives to the traditional three-door hot hatch, we began thinking about a new halo model.
“The extended hot hatch you see here could be an alternative for us. It’s a third body type – one that retains the athleticism of the pro_cee’d, but reworked and reimagined to combine a striking new visual presence with a dash of real-world versatility. The Proceed Concept is our vision of how the vibrant spirit of the pro_cee’d could be reincarnated and revitalised for a new generation of drivers.”
KIA provided the following information:
Low, lean and lithe, the five-door Proceed concept marries its imposing proportions with a compact footprint that hints at its outright agility. The silhouette of the car is complemented by a series of distinctive design cues. The highlight line that frames the glasshouse extends to the rear tailgate, enhancing the car’s dynamic proportions. Together with the glass roof, the acutely angled ‘Sharkblade’, complete with GT logo, reinforces its lack of B-pillars. This in turn emphasises the dramatic roofline as its flows in to the rear shoulders. Lateral strakes further exaggerate the Proceed Concept’s slim waistline, and lend an air of muscularity to the rear of the car.
Daytime running lights have become a key element in a car’s identity, helping other drivers easily identify KIA models, by day and night. However, in low light conditions, cars viewed from the side often lack bold design cues. The Proceed Concept uses light to highlight its fastback shape. Guillaume comments: “This inspired us to take a step further and develop what we call the ‘Luminline’ – an illuminated outline of the Proceed concept’s glasshouse that greets drivers as they approach the car. This serves as a powerful nocturnal visual identifier when the car is on the move.”
Further tactile and visual highlights include atmospherically backlit headlamps in red, stacked rear air vents, and large six-spoke, 20-inch alloy wheels with central locking nut. The rippled surface of its rear light strip is inspired by molten ferromagnetic metal.
Its stance and proportions may be new, but the Proceed Concept features many of KIA’s now familiar design motifs. The iconic ‘tiger nose’ grille, the sculpted ‘island’ bonnet inspired by the Stinger, the castellated windscreen, the full-length roof glazing, and KIA’s inimitable mix of curvaceous sheetmetal and taut creases. Each element singles out the Proceed Concept as a truly modern KIA.
The Proceed Concept’s body, including the low-mounted ‘Wingcams’, is coated in unique Lava Red paintwork. The result of a highly complex, week-long paintshop process, Lava Red combines 19 hand-applied layers of black, chrome-effect silver and red tinted lacquer for a glossy and lustrous paint finish. Incredibly sensitive to changing light conditions, its depth and metallic sheen further enhances the Proceed Concept’s contours and curves.
Interior design: inspired by bespoke tailoring
“Colour and trim played a key role in the development of the car, and our discussions on the look and feel of the Proceed Concept’s cabin took place at the same time as our talks on exterior form. The two dovetailed together perfectly, which is not always the case,” explains Guillaume.
“Inspired by the world of bespoke tailoring and haute couture, we decided on a truly unique cabin environment enriched with materials used in innovative and unconventional ways – methods that might be familiar to fashion houses, but not in the automotive arena.”
The seats are wrapped in more than 100 metres of black elastane fabric, cut, trimmed and tailored by hand to create rippled and ruched upholstery, producing a striking contrast with the sleek and shiny instrument panel.
The Lava Red bodywork creates a bold visual link between the Proceed Concept’s exterior design and its interior. Inspired by the visceral power and drama of an erupting volcano, the cabin’s striking colour palette combines fiery reds higher up with charcoal greys and velvet blacks further below. Finished in the same Lava Red as the bodywork, both the dashboard and steering column create the impression of the bonnet flowing into the cabin. The door linings are covered in glossy hand-painted fabric, graduating from solid black near the window line through to reflective red in the footwells.
The instrument and horizontal infotainment panels illustrate three intuitive, colour-coded driving modes – Lava Red for ‘GT’ mode, Forest Green for ‘Eco’ mode, and Ghost White for ‘Autonomous’ mode.
The four individual, interlinked seats feature a contoured welcoming wave – a hat-tip to the KIA Provo concept, unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The split backrests of the seats are held in place by metal exoskeletons to reinforce a sense of structural strength and material lightness.
The concept of combining lightness and strength is carried through to the minimalist and intelligently configured floating centre console. This clean and ergonomically-designed unit houses the Proceed Concept’s aluminium controls, which draw inspiration from the haptic, machined actions of top-end audio controls. The uncluttered console is itself supported by a visible carbon fibre spine that runs the full length of the car’s interior.
The Proceed Concept is a car that unashamedly appeals to the heart of the driver. While KIA embraces the future, it also knows how important it is to treasure the past. Performance cars are all about indulging the senses, and smell is the most powerful sense humans have for evoking memories. Guillaume and his team has recreated the ‘Memory Bank’ for the Proceed Concept – a flush-mounted shelf housed within the dashboard, containing a trio of evocative aromas.
“Each of these three engraved flacons contains a scent synonymous with power, passion and performance; aromas that any petrolhead will instantly recognise,” describes Guillaume. “There’s the warm musky smell of aged leather, the oily fragrance of a garage that’s home to a classic car, and the tang of high-octane motorsport fuel. This is about automotive passion and the love of car culture.”
“The idea behind the Proceed Concept is the same idea that’s behind all of our concept cars – it’s to challenge people’s perceptions of KIA and start conversations around what is and what could be,” says Guillaume. “Because that is what KIA’s power to surprise is all about.”
Meet Aston Martin F1’s incredible moving data centre
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team faces a great deal more IT challenges than your average enterprise as not many IT teams have to rebuild their data center 21 times each year and get it running it up in a matter of hours. Not many data centers are packed up and transported around the world by air and sea along with 45 tonnes of equipment. Not many IT technicians also have to perform a dual role as pit stop mechanic.
The trackside garage at an F1 race is a tight working environment and a team of only two IT technicians face pressure from both the factory and trackside staff to get the trackside IT up and running very fast. Yet, despite all these pressures, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing do not have a cloud-led strategy. Instead they have chosen to keep all IT in house.
The reason for this is performance. F1 is arguably the ultimate performance sport. A walk round the team’s factory in Milton Keynes, England, makes it abundantly clear that the whole organization is hell bent on maximizing performance. 700 staff at the factory are all essentially dedicated to the creation of just two cars. The level of detail that is demanded in reaching peak performance is truly mind blowing. For example, one machine with a robotic arm that checks the dimensions of the components built at the factory is able to measure accuracy to a scale 10 times thinner than a human hair.
This quest for maximum performance, however, is hampered at every turn by the stringent rules from the F1 governing body – the FIA. Teams face restrictions on testing and technology usage in order to prevent the sport becoming an arms race. So, for example, pre-season track testing is limited to only 8 days. Furthermore, wind tunnel testing is only allowed with 60% scale models and wind tunnel-usage is balanced with the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, essentially a virtual wind tunnel. Teams that overuse one, lose time with the other.
In order to maximize performance within uniquely difficult logistical and regulatory conditions, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team has had to deploy a very powerful and agile IT estate.
According to Neil Bailey, Head of IT Infrastructure, Enterprise Architecture and Innovation, their legacy trackside infrastructure was “creaking”. Before choosing hyperconverged infrastructure, their “traditional IT had reached its limits”, says Bailey. “When things reach their limits they break, just like a car,” adds Bailey.
The team’s biggest emphasis for switching to HPE’s hyperconverged infrastructure, SimpliVity, was performance. Now, with “the extra performance of SimpliVity, it means it doesn’t get to its limits,” says Bailey. HPE SimpliVity has helped reduce space, has optimized processing power and brought more agility.
One of the first and most important use cases they switched to hyperconverged infrastructure was post-processing trackside data. During a race weekend each car is typically fitted with over 100 sensors providing key data on things like tyre temperature and downforce multiple times per second. Processing this data and acting on the insights is key to driving performance improvements. With their legacy infrastructure, Bailey says they were “losing valuable track time during free practice waiting for data processing to take place.” Since switching to HPE SimpliVity, data processing has dropped from being more than 15 minutes to less than 5 minutes. Overall, the team has seen a 79% performance boost compared to the legacy architecture. This has allowed for real time race strategy analysis and has improved race strategy decision making.
Data insights helps the team stay one step ahead, as race strategy decisions are data driven. For example, real time tyre temperature data helps the team judge tyre wear and make pit stop decisions. Real time access to tyre data helped the team to victory at the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix as the Aston Martin Red Bull cars pitted ahead of the rest of the field and Daniel Ricciardo swept to a memorable victory.
Hyperconverged infrastructure is also well suited to the “hostile” trackside environment, according to Bailey. With hyperconverged infrastructure, only two racks are needed at each race of which SimpliVity only takes up about 20% of the space, thus freeing up key space in very restricted trackside garages. Furthermore, with the team limited to 60 staff at each race, only two of Bailey’s team can travel. The reduction in equipment and closer integration of HPE SimpliVity means engineers can get the trackside data center up and running quickly and allow trackside staff to start work as soon as they arrive.
Since seeing the notable performance gains from using hyperconverged infrastructure for trackside data processing, the team has also transitioned some of the factory’s IT estate over to HPE SimpliVity. This includes: Aerodynamic metrics, ERP system, SQL server, exchange server and the team’s software house, the Team Foundation Server.
As well as seeing huge performance benefits, HPE SimpliVity has significantly impacted the work patterns of Bailey’s team of just ten. According to Bailey, the biggest operational win from hyperconverged infrastructure is “freeing up engineers’ time from focusing on ‘business as usual’ to innovation.” Traditional IT took up too much of the engineers’ time monitoring systems and just keeping things running. Now with HPE SimpliVity, Bailey’s team can “give the business more and quicker” and “be more creative with how they use technology.”
Hyperconverged infrastructure has given Aston Martin Red Bull Racing the speed, scalability and agility they require without any need to turn to the cloud. It allows them to deliver more and more resources to trackside staff in an increasingly responsive manner. However, even with all these performance gains, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing has been able to reduce IT costs. So, the users are happy, the finance director is happy and the IT team are happy because their jobs are easier. Hyperconvergence is clearly the right choice for the unique challenges of Formula 1 racing.
Body-tracking tech moves to assembly line
Technology typically used by the world’s top sport stars to raise their game, or ensure their signature skills are accurately replicated in leading video games, is now being used on an auto assembly line.
Employees at Ford’s Valencia Engine Assembly Plant, in Spain, are using a special suit equipped with advanced body tracking technology. The pilot system, created by Ford and the Instituto Biomecánica de Valencia, has involved 70 employees in 21 work areas.
Player motion technology usually records how athletes sprint or turn, enabling sport coaches or game developers to unlock the potential of sport stars in the real world or on screen. Ford is using it to design less physically stressful workstations for enhanced manufacturing quality.
“It’s been proven on the sports field that with motion tracking technology, tiny adjustments to the way you move can have a huge benefit,” said Javier Gisbert, production area manager, Ford Valencia Engine Assembly Plant. “For our employees, changes made to work areas using similar technology can ultimately ensure that, even on a long day, they are able to work comfortably.”
Engineers took inspiration from a suit they saw at a trade fair that demonstrated how robots could replicate human movement and then applied it to their workplace, where production of the new Ford Transit Connect and 2.0-litre EcoBoost Duratec engines began this month.
The skin-tight suit consists of 15 tiny movement tracking light sensors connected to a wireless detection unit. The system tracks how the person moves at work, highlighting head, neck, shoulder and limb movements. Movement is recorded by four specialised motion-tracking cameras – similar to those usually paired with computer game consoles – placed near the worker and captured as a 3D skeletal character animation of the user.
Specially trained ergonomists then use the data to help employees align their posture correctly. Measurements captured by the system, such as an employee’s height or arm length, are used to design workstations, so they better fit employees.