Failure of Expertise


I may have an aerospace engineering degree, but I also (obviously) have a degree in industrial design. So when I look at this automotive concept, the 330 mpg Aptera by Accelerated|Composites, being discussed over on (Link), the thing that really comes to my mind is arrogance.

It’s true that too many industrial designers don’t give due consideration to engineering issues (aka the never-ending “Design versus Style” debate). But it’s also true that too many engineers still do not seriously consider the humanistic issues involved in the products they develop. If not for someone empathetic to the driver’s useability issues, we might not today have power steering, power brakes, automatic transmissions, adjustable seats, aso. Those improvements don’t change the basic functions of those components; they enhance useability. And in turn, useability improves – among other things – customer satisfaction, product marketability and sales.

Developing successful products intended for the marketplace (which I assume is this company’s goal) is most often about compromise; a tricky blend of engineering for function and designing (and yes, even styling) for human beings. And when there is no compromise, it’s quite often due to dismissing the importance of something outside one’s field of expertise. And that most often results in failure.

I like what this tries to do, but from what I’m seeing as an industrial designer, I think this will join that long list of well-engineered market failures. As an aerospace engineer and concerned world citizen, I find that unfortunate.

{Image Copyright © Accelerated|Composites}