Lexus - Project Heliotrope

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Project heliotrope is a transportation system combining mobility and temporary living. The concept questions our present idea of vehicle ownership and how it may change in the future. The accelerating global urbanization is causing lack of space, especially in the megacities. Personal transportation must be optimized to save time and space. By harnessing vehicles to work in co-operation with infrastructure the efficiency of a car could be improved by extending the scope of use outside traffic. Project heliotrope aims to provide a more targeted ownership experience by utilizing the vehicle more efficiently.

Inspiration and Method

Before starting the thesis project and terminating the subject, I knew that I would choose a theme that is approaching automotive design from the traditional problem-solving point of view. The selected idea was based on my research about future megacities which was also the basis for a user scenario that suited Japan and Tokyo. The workflow followed the traditional formula from analog sketching to digital sketching and after that to 3D-modeling. In this project, moving to a digital work environment happened faster than usual because I wanted to speed up and develop my creative process. Almost until the examination, the plan was to make a 1:5 scale model. However, the extent of the project theme did undermine my decision, and I decided to make a virtual reality model which was a more powerful way to express my concept.


Project heliotrope is a vehicle concept that introduces the idea of a new kind of ownership, where the definition of vehicle ownership is altered and redirected. It represents a business model that combines private property and sharing. The two-piece vehicle aims to generalize the way in which the understanding of a privately owned car would be limited to the most personal and essential part for the user, the cabin. The technical part of the vehicle will remain available for distribution to other users while the cabin may be used in temporary housing. By allowing the partial sharing of a car and extending the vehicle's scope of use outside the traffic Heliotrope can achieve better efficiency and higher vehicle occupancy rate.