A multi-purpose vehicle capable of delivering emergency housing and supplies to disaster areas then rapidly returning to base ready for another mission – that is the concept behind the Aid Necessities Transporter (A.N.T.). The idea takes inspiration from it's namesake in the insect world – creating more than just a unique concept vehicle but an entirely new aid distribution system. The A.N.T has been designed to traverse rough terrain that would be impossible for conventional trucks to navigate, delivering supply pods and temporary shelter to disaster stricken communities. The vehicle then transforms itself into a low-profile form for a swift return to headquarters.

The concept was developed by Melbourne (Australia) designer Bryan Lee for his graduate design project while studying Industrial Design at Monash University in 2009. Lee told Gizmag his initial inspiration came from wanting to design a better vehicle for disaster relief.

“At the beginning of 2009 I took notice of the increasing numbers of natural disasters due to global warming,” he said. “From this, I decided that I would design a vehicle the address this problem however through a different direction. Instead of addressing the issue by preventing global warming, I thought that we will need some solutions to address problems when natural disasters hit. This is where my path began which led me to research on organizations such as the United Nations.”

While researching for his project the student designer came across a documentary that changed the direction of the concept.

“It was about ants and their colony,” Lee told Gizmag. “I was fascinated with their aesthetics, ability and system they run on which led me to believe that they are truly natures transporters. One of the biggest inspirations I took from ants were how they transported their food back to their nest. In groups. From this, instead of using the conventional way organizations deliver supplies all at once by land, I decided to create a new system where although it carries slightly less, the A.N.T's will travel back and forth from HQ's to the disaster zone delivering supplies faster and earlier.”

Just like their insect namesakes, the A.N.T in Transport mode would head towards the disaster stricken area traveling in groups. On arrival the vehicle would quickly deploy the supply unit, which doubles as a temporary housing module. The A.N.T would then rotate its cockpit section 90 degrees downwards transforming to Rapid mode allowing the swarm of A.N.T.s to quickly travel back to headquarters ready to load up another supply unit.

The A.N.T employs a number of intelligent design features that allow for swift aid distribution. These include six independent electric in-wheel motors, a large unique all-terrain suspension system that also allows for rapid loading and deployment of supply units, rotational hydraulics for transformation from Transport to Rapid modes, and a well thought out supply unit design that doubles as temporary housing.

Lee graduated from Monash University in Australia with Bachelor of Industrial Design with honours in 2009. He now works at Ford Australia in the Visualization department.