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News . Feature Stories . Student Profile: Peter Renner ’19

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February 14, 2019

Student Profile: Peter Renner ’19

Industrial Design major Peter Renner has his eye on a career in transportation design. He presented his fall 2018 auto design project for review to his CIA professors and to designers from GM.

Portrait of Peter Renner

Renner presents his reconfigurable truck to a team of GM designers. Photo by Robert Muller/CIA

What’s your dream position once you graduate?
I’d be happy in any part of the creative process that brings a vehicle into existence. I’m specifically interested in getting a position as a clay sculptor. It would be my job to render the designer’s work in clay, giving the team a better feel for what it will look like in 3D. I’ve been leaning toward this because I’m drawn to hands-on, three-dimensional work.

Describe the concept vehicle you worked on for your fall transportation-design class.
My idea was for a truck that would drive itself to you, then change its shape to accommodate whatever you need to move. The cab retracts to allow for more cargo space, while providing access to the bed through the opening on the side of the truck.

You had a small team of animation majors working on your project, too, right? Can you explain what their role was?
The Animation team contributed by showing the vehicle in action, doing what it’s supposed to do, thereby explaining its function in a way that still images can’t manage. It was a challenge to coordinate our workflows, since we each had different tasks to complete at different times. But overall, I was really impressed with their rendition of the truck in 3D and the character that they gave to its motion.

What draws you to automotive design?
I have always loved cars, and I have always loved creating things. So it just seemed like something I should try.

You worked with designers from General Motors, which sponsored the fall course. What was that like?
The experience of learning with the GM team is both intimidating and inspiring—the two are intrinsically linked. Knowing that you’re being held to a high standard is part of what creates the inspiration.


What will cars look like 20 years from now?
Cars will definitely be more automated 20 years from now. I think that there will still be human-driven vehicles, but we’ll be sharing the road with lots more cars that are driving themselves.

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