Franz von Holzhausen visited colleagues and alumni at the ArtCenter Invitational on Saturday, October 27 at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. His vision for the future inspired students. Here is an edited transcript of some of the highlights of what he said.
I feel like we’re at a crossroads. I think technology has now caught up to points where we see AI and where autonomy now potentially upends the way that we transport ourselves around at least at a more personal level, and the capability that is going to transform the things that that AI is moving around.
You have the convergence of new technologies coming at the speed of light— a ChatGPT moment where AI and autonomy are going to
see the blade of the hockey stick. We’ll see that later, the hockey stick.
I think AI will allow us as designers to flex into a new way of moving people from A to B that’s more affordable, potentially, or whatever, as designers want that to be.
I’ll just say the regulations never stop, they get harder and harder. The responsibility of the designer is to make a product that people love independent of all the guardrails and regulations to the things that we strive to make visible, create a great product, and create something that people are interested in, they want to love, they know it’s going to be safe. And it’s going to get them from A to B due to things like functionality and “that need to do.”
Also, we put a smile on their face. So they need to enjoy and really love the product. But if you look at the kind of regulatory body and the regulations that designers face, in the automotive space—every car would be a block.
I think, ultimately, the machine will be safer than the human. And so I think we have to think about that as just a daily life thing. An autonomous environment will basically save lives. And certainly, we have to, we have to decide if that’s more important than the fun factor of being out on the roads and potentially being dangerous to somebody else or your own family.
So, I think there’s, there’s a future for ownership of transportation, that means of transportation, that’s kind of like fashion or, or, you know, there’s a personality of authenticity, it’s a reflection of your personality. We kind of wear cars, like clothes, and are in our houses. So I think that that tribe will always be there. Just because the powered vehicle went from horse and buggy to powered vehicle, it didn’t mean that horses became extinct. People still ride horses around and do it for leisure or fun.
Quiet time is like the most precious thing that we can’t get back. So how you use your time, is one of the things that’s going to continue to shape your transportation now transportation doesn’t mean that you know, we’re both in check rotation moving into a lot of really fun and unique ways. It’s a really emerging space and technology now is getting to a point where you know, from an engineering perspective, we will consider a dimension that we’re about to see potentially in outer space travel, more reachable within our generations. And so we think inside the game, getting back time and includes inadvertently to this kind of thing that you hang on to us maybe being really precious, is something that we should really think about.
Embrace technology, embrace all the things that are kind of flooding at you. I think will help you be better. but I think intuitively you need to have a good understanding of taste, balance, and proportion, to be able to communicate.
I think the industry is about to see this upheaval in the way that we can potentially transform ourselves. So I think graduating at this moment, you are you will have the ability to work on things that were never like that are just being invented now and be able to transform the way that we get from A to B in a safer way in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way. And in a way that nobody is envisioning. To me, it’s like the ultimate time in the industry.
I wish I was graduating during this time. I wish I had more time in the future to be a designer at this moment. Because I think it’s really energizing and exciting. And we have never experienced this–this kind of crossing all these products coming together. So embrace it, you know, if you love a certain direction, like eVTOLS or whatever, that’s the next direction. Go for the absolute best you can be in that direction. Yeah, and the best you have to love what you do. If you don’t love what you’re doing that will never be the right thing.
Last year at the ArtCenter Invitational von Holzhausen said “We wanted the cybertruck to actually be strong on the outside—-tough on the outside, instead of having the fragile paint and everything that you can scratch easily.”
Von Holzhausen told a fan that the Cybertruck does not require auto body repair because the steel is so thick it won’t bend or crumple.
Von Holzhausen was so busy with the students, there was no time to ask the question everybody wanted to know.”How big is the Cybertruck wiper blade?”
What is the size of the Cybertruck windshield wiper blade? How long is it?
There was the blade with no one watching. No tape measure—ahah—we got a spool of thread at the T-shirt station—took the thread—and cut at the endpoint.
Then measured the thread.
With the help of ArtCenter students, the thread measured the same length as the demo boards–50″—that is one “tough” wiper.
The blade may be hard to find because the largest wiper blade Napa makes is 40″ long. Trico’s largest truck wiper blade is 40″.
There is only one wiper for the entire windshield. The measurement is for the wiper blade only—not the metal which is longer.