SOMA by the SOMA Team, Japan

2013: Half! Lightweight with Passion.



Overview of the Laboratory:

We will pursue design research and development, particularly in the fields of transportation and dynamic equipment, in order to develop concrete problem solving proposals. We will view the product as a function of the lifestyle ecosystem of the user and environment and, grouping together automobiles, ships and aircraft and other vehicular equipment, as well as robotics, industrial instruments and other dynamic equipment, we will create concrete design concepts and final products based on this knowledge and research.

Yasuhiro Ohara – He is the Assistant Professor of Product Design Lab. He mainly specializes in Graphic Design, Advertising Theory, The History and Theory of Design and Information Architecture.

Following, they are seniors majoring in transportation design at Chiba University.

Takashi Nishimura – Project team leader. In charge of Exterior design, Mechanical design, 3DCG modeling.

Keita Kominami – In charge of Exterior design.

Ryosuke Kawai – In charge of Interior design.

Keisuke Watanabe – In charge of Exterior & Interior Design, Mechanical Design.


The price of gasoline is too expensive in Japan. Highest priority of our proposal is to achieve high fuel consumption. At the same time, it is possible to suppress the emission of carbon dioxide. The Japan family structure mostly consists of four people. The size of this car is intended for families of Japan.

There are needs for improvement of less fuel consumption to achieve high efficiency. SOMA, we proposed, addresses this issue by trimming the weight.

First, by placing an active air suspension system to the wheel, SOMA makes it possible to cut out the suspension system from the body.

The air suspension is made of light weight alloy and combines suspension and  wheel spokes. That entire weight of suspension system is less than half that weight of the traditional style.

Because the body structure is made of carbon fiber, the weight of body structure is less than half that contemporary one.

In the future, with the higher performance of the cars, the performance of tires will also be required to improve.

The recognition of the performance of the tire would be not only corresponding to high torque, acceleration and improvement in total exercise performance but less fuel consumption, resource saving, decrease environmental impact such as CO2,passive safety and adaption of the process from production to disposal to the recycling-based society.

The tire of this proposal has the feature of integrated tire and wheel, airless structure, and the tire diameter and treads dynamically changing depending on the driving condition, which is to realize the required performance.

The tire consists of variable dampers set inside, the compound around it, and the polymer gel that takes place of air.

By extending the damper, the diameter of the tire gets large and the width of tread becomes narrow at high speed. This reduces the frictional coefficient that leads to high mileage and also provides a straight-line stability.

When driving at low speed, the diameter of the tire gets small and the tread becomes wide which increases the tires sideway rigidity, holds the road better, and improves the handling response.