Project Overview

In this project, each student team will work together to design a vehicle capable of operating within a particular harsh environment.  For example, a team might design a submersible ship meant to travel through lava, or a helicopter that can fly through a hurricane.  Designs should be integrate aspects of a particular preexisting vehicle, but should be significantly transformed to become something new and novel.  To spur creative problem solving and integration of disparate influences, aspects of a famous person’s attributes, preferences, and aversions should also inform the vehicle’s design.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how to gather and generate various sources of inspiration.
  • Create a dynamic work of art by synthesizing disparate elements.
  • Learn how working iteratively can enhance the design process.
  • Use group discussion and teamwork to promote critical thinking, aid in the development of ideas, and lead to a better final product.
  • Apply the Rhino commands we’ve learned so far in a contextualized manner to achieve an advanced result.
  • Learn how to use Keyshot to create photorealistic renderings of a design.

Grading Criteria – The best group projects/highest performing individuals will:

  • Inventively synthesize various inspirational elements to produce a highly innovative final result.
  • Significantly develop the vehicle’s design through numerous iterations.
  • Give exemplary in-class presentations that are well organized and highly informative, supported by visuals, that stay within the specified time frame, and thoroughly address all prompts given by the professor.
  • Achieve an outstanding level of detail and complexity in the vehicle’s geometry.
  • Create high quality geometry for the environment in which the vehicle will be situated.
  • Produce excellent Keyshot renderings that depict the vehicle convincingly in its intended environment.
  • Be proactive in seeking advice from the professor and TA, and maintain a strong dialogue with them in and beyond the class.
  • Have outstanding work ethic, showing a high level of focus during class and consistently working on the project outside of class (even going beyond the university standard of 6 hours per week).
  • Achieve a quality of result that is commensurate with the student/group’s potential.  (In other words, students/groups with a higher aptitude will be held to a higher standard)


By the start of class on Thursday, 2/20, each student should do the following:

<1> Please review the grading criteria for this project if you have not yet done so.  See above.

<2> Create a SIMPLE Rhino model of your vehicle that includes all of the main components. This model will help you conceptualize how the vehicle will look as a whole, and better enable you to convey your design ideas during your presentation.  Students are encouraged, if possible, to create variations on the simple model as it would be an asset to the design process.

<3> Prepare a 3 to 5 minute presentation to tell about your vehicle’s design. This presentation will count toward your project grade. Presentations should be supported by visuals that are posted to the PUBLIC class website.  Click here for instructions on how to post images to the class website. 

In this presentation, please describe the vehicle you intend to design.  Please cover the following points:

  • Describe the harsh environment you’ve selected, and key aspects of this environment that you were concerned with as you created your various sketches.  Please support with visuals.
  • Tell about the famous individual you chose and how his/her attributes, preferences, or aversions factored into your design.  Please support with visuals.
  • Tell about the preexisting vehicle that has informed your design.  Please support with visuals.
  • Tell about changes to the design that have made through the various iterations you’ve created.  Support with visuals if possible.
  • Describe the unique features of your vehicle.  Support with visuals if possible.
  • Tell about any additional inspirational elements that will influence your design decisions during development.  Support with visuals if possible.