This is the story of the design and build of the Inno-VAN-tion concept van. It is meant to be a research platform for various technological advances in testing the safety and tow ability of a trailer. We will introduce and describe these concepts at a later stage, once the van is finished and the first prototypes of the new tools have been tested.
During the design stage of the van I have been asked to document the process and the results, however the design process went through many iterations and it would be far too laborious and also boring to describe every decision made and the reasons for it.
Above picture is a rendered image out of my CAD system of the final design (almost) of the interior at which I arrived after many iterations. At this stage I started to formally write down all decision criteria and specification details which arose during the design process.
The main motivation for the project was to build a van, which we could use to travel through Australia for many years to come and at the same time use it as a test platform for some ideas I have, which I would like to develop into a usable product.
Why build a van and not purchase one of many available. We looked at many different caravans, 5th wheelers and go0se neck trailers with the intent to find one to purchase and the more we looked into the subject the harder it became to find something which might suit. After looking at so many vans at various occasions we developed a better understanding of what we did not want. We first identified points, which we considered deal breakers, to narrow our choices down to a few in order to make a better decision. At the end of this phase we had a list of points, which we did not want in a van and it turned out that not a single one would be left to look at after we have applied all the criteria we had collected. This was a rather irritating situation and the question was why this had happened. We concluded that it was just us and our expectations of a van we would feel comfortable to travel with long term.
After compiling the list of points we did not like we started to put together a list of must haves and nice to have points to start somewhere. It was relatively easy to identify what we did not want, now it was time to move forward and decide what we really wanted and then look at the practicality of the ideas and wishes.
I will not describe each design criteria in detail and explain every reason for it, I just will list each point of interest and during the building process more information will be provided. At the same time this document will help me to keep track of all the requirements and various points. I have many more documents including electrical diagrams, cad drawings, lists of suppliers, purchase orders, invoices, manuals etc. which will not be part of this public document.