In 2019 we partnered with Musashi, a precision automotive gear manufacturer partly owned by Honda Motors, to come up with the exterior design of two new self-driving vehicles. One of the models was to tackle outdoor environments, moving parts from building to building while the other would remain indoors on the factory floor. A long term partner of ours, Sixeye Interactive out of Israel implemented a customized AI system into Musashi’s factories along with a robotic inspection station that uses multiple ultra-high-resolution cameras to automate quality control tasks. The self-driving vehicles are now a crucial element of the QC process, transporting parts to and from inspection stations and other buildings in the factory campus. This newlyimplemented QC system has helped Musashi attain a new level of efficiency through automation.

Each of the design projects we’ve taken on over the past two decades has had its own set of unique design challenges. With this specific project, the biggest challenge was designing a process that worked for everyone. In addition to the involved parties speaking a number of different languages including Hebrew, English, Cantonese, and Japanese, working with people of so many different backgrounds brings cultural elements into the mix which can be challenging at times. Our perception of beauty is visceral and often informed more by learning and culture than shared biology. This adds an additional layer of complexity for projects in which there needs to be approval-by-committee.

Shortly after wrapping up the exterior design of both vehicles, we worked with our rapid prototyping partner to fabricate the vehicle shell in time for a tradeshow where Musashi introduced its new working prototype to the manufacturing world. Having a deep understanding of the technology, our team was also tasked with designing the launch experience.