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Intelligent Mobility Design Centre

The Royal College of Art’s Intelligent Mobility Design Centre (IMDC) leads research at the intersection of people, mobility and technology within a complex and changing urban and global environment.   

Established as a world leader in the field of vehicle design and research, and with Professor Dale Harrow as Centre Director and inaugural Chair of the Hyundai Kia Laboratory, the IMDC is a multidisciplinary research centre with a design-led, human-centred approach at its core. The Centre focuses on new ways of designing, influencing new behaviours and developing new methodologies and mobility typologies that address societal issues.  

The IMDC operates at the intersection of design disciplines, at a time of radical change in modes of mobility – in technologies, but also in the commercial, social and cultural models with which they interact. Where previous university and corporate research has tended to focus on mechanics, engineering solutions to perceived problems and iterative developments leading to incremental market advantage, our track record in this area has demonstrated that the problem is much more subtle and complex, and requires human-centred approaches which are design-led. 

Previous research has tended to concentrate on the movement of objects, whereas the urgent need is to re-focus on the journey, the experience, the design of services and systems, and the complexity of the infrastructure and interactions that mobility in modern advanced societies entails. 

The Centre builds on Professor Dale Harrow’s successful research in autonomous vehicles, the design of the new emergency ambulance and a new taxi for London

Symposium: Designing Intelligence into our Cities

What does it mean to design intelligence into our cities? What do we mean by intelligence and how does this differ from the smartness that has often been used to describe future cities? What does intelligent design mean in a post-pandemic city? Which parts of our society are truly valued and valuable and how might we reimagine our places and mobility in the future? Do we want to get back to before or go forward to better?

Design researchers at the RCA will be hosting an online symposium to share visions of the future and to bring together an audience of designers, researchers and city-based organisations and communities. We will be running the symposium as three 2 hour sessions with talks, challenges and questions in the first session, smaller online collaborative workshops in the second session and an opportunity to present back proposals and gain feedback and potential partners in the third. 

The sessions will take place across 19 & 24 June 2020. Visit the event page for more details.

Applications for PhD Positions Now Open

The Intelligent Mobility Design Centre welcomes applications exploring mobility within our core research themes of Automotive Transitions, People and Places, and Humanising Technology. Research topics could include but are not limited to the design of experiences and behaviours for driverless and shared rides; alternative vehicle types and typologies; understanding car culture paradigm shifts; end-to-end journeys; Inclusive design; the interplay between mobility and urban design; exploration and creation of mobility experiences informed by human psychology, human factors principles, and human centred design. We would welcome applications from candidates across disciplines including design, engineering, science and the arts. The PhD positions will commence in September 2020. Further information is available here.


IMDC Research Spaces

IMDC Research Projects


  • Intelligent Mobility Design Centre
    Royal College of Art
    4 Hester Road,
    London SW11 4AN

  • +44 (0)20 7590 4186
    [email protected]