SSC Tuatara interior concept challenge is over and the jury has picked the winners. I had the opportunity to talk to Jerod Shelby, man behind SSC Autos and ask him about the competition.
Jerod Shelby and SSC Tuatara
Lauri: What is your background in engineering?
Jerod: I am a mechanical engineer. I was a co-founder of a medical device company for 11 years where I also served as a design engineer and was responsible for solving engineering challenges for the process of using ultrasonic holography for the early detection of breast cancer. This was my engineering background just prior to forming SSC.
Lauri: Why did you choose to organise a Challenge through GrabCAD?
Jerod: I had followed a few other previous design challenges on GrabCAD, and as an experienced designer myself, I was quite impressed with the process due to the broad range of design solutions that were submitted due to the various imaginations from engineers all over the world that would participate. I feel that this broad availability of imaginations is why the GrabCAD design process is so successful!
Lauri: Why did you choose the Tuatara interior concept to have designed in the competition?
Jerod: I had been trying to find a design step or component in the development process of the Tuatara, to tryout the GrabCAD process out, and since it was time to start the interior concept development, I thought what a perfect design challenge to employ as many imaginations as possible.
Lauri: What do you think about this approach to design something?
Jerod: I think it's a great approach. It would definitely not fit for all the different critical design needs of a 275 mph super car, but I feel it is a great solution for a wide array of mechanical and aesthetic design needs.
Lauri: Are you satisfied with the results?
Jerod: We were extremely happy with the results. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to the final designs for our cars, and this process allowed me to communicate with several engineers about what I liked and disliked about their designs. There were specific areas that I liked from a few different designs. With this process I was able to communicate these to Sasank Gopinathan where he incorporated them into his brilliant design.
Lauri: What would have been the alternative if you would not have had the Challenge?
Jerod: We were planning on contracting with 3 engineers to receive a couple interior concepts from each of them. This challenge allowed us to involve over 20 times the engineering imaginations into the engineering solution.
Lauri: What will you do with the winning works of the competition now?
Jerod: We are quite impressed with the imagination and capabilities of Sasank, the winning designer in this challenge. We are going to work with him to take the Tuatara interior design to the next stage.
SSC Tuatara challenge winning work by Sasank Gopinathan
Lauri: Did you expect this direction in design of the entries or there were results which totally surprised you?
Jerod: There were some designs that completely surprised us. This speaks once again to all the different imaginations that a design process like this involves.
Lauri: What you as a supercar manufacturer are most missing in the engineering domain? Is it skilled people, resources, know-how, software capabilities, etc. ?
Jerod: Two key things: Open minds and imaginations.
Lauri: How many in-house engineers you have?
Jerod: We have 3 in-house, including myself. And several that we contract with externally.
Lauri: What CAD software you are using?
Jerod: Solidworks, Rhino, and AutoCad in-house.
Lauri: When can we expect finalised Tuatara on the market?
Jerod: All the pre-order customers that we have will be taking delivery of their Tuatara's, Q1 of 2013.
Lauri: Do you have any role models or great examples in engineering/design in the world?
Jerod: Gordon Murray, he was definitely an innovator in the super car industry.
SSC Tuatara interior
A big thank you to Jerod for sharing his thoughts about this amazing Challenge. You can see the specification and full details, including entries, on our Challenge page here.