Willie bus concept plasters public transport with LCD billboards
By C.C. Weiss
December 17, 2013
Anyone that's been to Las Vegas and caught a glimpse of the "Hot Babes" billboard circling around the city knows that vehicle advertising can be effective ... at least at grabbing your attention. A new bus concept by designer Tad Orlowski puts a more modern spin on the idea, integrating large LCDs on the broad sides of the bus. The screens can display a variety of information, including paid advertising, bus information and TV coverage.
We had the opportunity to play around with the Fun-Vii at the North American International Auto Show this year and enjoyed the way you could essentially restyle the exterior with patterns, colors, words and more with a couple of pokes and swipes of a touchscreen.
While the passenger car and three-wheeler concepts are interesting, the technology has much more potential for a large vehicle like a bus. Not only does the bus have far more room for displays, its extra size gives designers more flexibility in integrating displays in such a way that increases their visibility and/or decreases the likelihood of them being smashed to pieces.
Orlowski's Willie design focuses more on the former, using the vast majority of the bus's body as display space. The transparent LCDs replace traditional body panels and are mounted to an organic skeletal structure underneath. Because the displays are transparent, passengers can still enjoy views outside.
Orlowski envisions bus schedule and route information, advertising, movie trailers, weather updates, tourism information and more being displayed on the screens at any given moment. The displays can continually be updated to serve different information and advertising as needed. Orlowski even mentions the possibility of incorporating touchscreen functions.
Most of the video and renderings show the Willie functioning as one large, coordinated display, but the sketch below shows it operating multiple displays. One section of the bus shows stop information while the other has advertising.
Orlowski received interest from a couple of European cities early on in the design process, but due to the large regulatory and technological obstacles facing the design, all parties decided not to pursue it. For the moment, the Willie remains a conversation starter about the future of transportation and communications.
It may not look exactly like the Willie, but we can easily imagine that full-motion display advertising could one day replace the static advertising that buses wear now.