Design Students Envision the Future of Cars

by Brandon Best, Public Relations Writer

Honda Research and Development Americas, based in Marysville, Ohio,  has turned to Cedarville University’s Industrial and Innovative Design program, delivered by the International Center for Creativity, to imagine and visualize how multiple future models of Hondas and Acuras might be designed and used as far away as the year 2030.

Staff designers, design engineers and model makers from various divisions of Honda’s North American operations came together to develop and design a “future model” exercise for the 21 seniors in the Industrial and Innovative Design program.  


This “real-world” design exercise included supplying students with a design brief, basic engineering requirements, demographic information and access to the manufacturer’s library of components and specifications.  

In turn, the students were tasked with developing inspiration and vision boards, creating multiple phases of design concepts and sketches, and ultimately testing their concepts on a full-sized, one-to-one scale styling buck, constructed at the ICC facilities in north Columbus.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to practice designing cars and understanding how the automotive industry functions,” said Jim Orr, lead instructor for industrial and innovative design and CEO of the ICC.

Orr served as a design director for General Motors for over 15 years including running the advanced vehicle development program.

“We’re always developing relationships that will give our students the tools to solve state-of-the-art problems, and this is as real world as it gets,” Orr added. 

“It’s been an extremely intense process for the students these past few months,” said Orr. “The work is hard, but the education they get and the ideas they generate are irreplaceable.”

While the project specifics were confidential and under a non-disclosure agreement, common to the industry, this gave the students a glimpse into the highly-competitive world of the automotive design and manufacturing business.

“We’re humbled to be able to work with such an extraordinary company as Honda.  Most of the staff here at the ICC has long-standing ties with the company professionally, and their tagline ‘The Power of Dreams’ is such a perfect match for what we are trying to teach these students day in and day out.  But to have working professionals from a global leader coming alongside our students, in our studios, is just incredible to see,” said Jim Stevenson, President of the ICC.  “Honda is so committed to education, and they just don’t say it, they do it!”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.