Bullfinch Truck Components Ltd.
BTC Ltd. which was recently in the news for their acquisition of Pon Lorries in the UK
has hired you to rethink the Truck. This diverse firm, with machine shops, parts warehouses, prototype development labs, customized bus emporiums, and service centers for across the United States and now also in Great Britain has decided to branch out into production.
For years they have produced millions of O.M.E. parts for companies like Ford, GM, BMW
etc. Frequently Bullfinch has worked closely with the R&D divisions of major car manufactures to fabricate ingenious new designs and even develop entirely new technologies. Many of their in-house workshops already contain 3D scanners, 360 degree lathes, and complex computer controlled extruders.
The General Manager Paul Wheal is enamored with the idea of creating a new line of 
trucks. He feels that the time has come to integrate all of the new inventions and materials
that have been developed over the last fifteen years and incorporate them into a new truck model in a  fresh and innovative company. The move is unprecedented. 
You have been asked to start from scratch, in other words: a radical redesign from the bottom up! Your staff has some requirements though. First, it is crucial that this motor vehicle be totally automated with no driver. This will allow huge cost savings for trucking and long haul firms and is the only way to leverage a respectable piece of market share. There is little chance that the big car companies will enter this field in the near future and therefore Bullfinch will be a march ahead.
Second, while it would be nice to develop new and radical technologies the GM presumes that
you will be able to use off the self applications. Finally, while imploring you to use relatively 
proven technology Paul Wheal demands that you produce a radical new design. After all, removing the driver should produce dramatic changes. You have to re-tool the vehicle!
There will be perhaps many different models but at the outset it would be better if your crew
concentrates on vehicles that are able to handle containers off shipping and rail transport since the majority of goods is shipped this way, worldwide.

To create this truck/drone you will have to consider many questions:
How will your team organize?
What kind of safety features can be  integrated into this model that can take advantage of
the super human reflexes of a modern computer chip?
How will new materials be included?
In what way will be affected:

Aerodynamics , Brakes , Fuel, Motor, Sensors

and so on
Why will the guidance system be important?

What types of logistics and communications will be implemented in this design?

For your initial presentation you must have some rough visual aids and quick draft of the parameters of your specimen.

You must have a lot to talk about. It is best that you get started.
 Alternative Projects:
Automatic Barges: consider the same thing with the barge/canal system in Europe.
Linked to the rail/road/& ocean transport  and controled logistically via satellite and
computer network, a antiquated system could become very profitable. Ponder well upon
the fact that the barges could act as de facto floating warehouses  as well.
Remember that ocean transport is so successful because it is modular and computerized. 

Robotic Taxi/Limo/Rent a Car Company: Mercedes and other car companies will introduce models
with auto pilot systems linked to gps or other global location devices. Create a company to take advantage of
these innovations.

Think about what kind of problems would  arise with these systems and solve them.

Ce texte © 2001 Christopher Yukna - tous droits réservés 

Christopher YUKNA
Advanced Learning Technologies Project Manager
Délégation aux Relations Internationales 
Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines 
158 cours Fauriel 
42023 SAINT-ETIENNECedex 2
tel : 33-(0)4-77-42-00-82
fax : 33-(0)4-77-42-00-00
Would you like to go to the Resource Site for Teachers?
Here is a similar exercise (in three parts):
The Friends of Europe'sPage             Allied Industries Page           The Judge's Page  
    and    the secret