Through their training, firefighters gain high levels of expertise on various tasks other than firefighting, such as urban search and rescue, airport rescue, wilderness fire suppression, vehicle extrications, emergency medical response, and dangerous goods investigations. The arrangement of the vehicle-top is highly subjected to standards and regulations, which define performance requirements and safety issues regarding the firefighters, vehicles, equipment and supply that they contain.
This project was carried out with 30 students distributed into seven teams. The project duration was eight weeks. In order to develop a design proposal appropriate to the specialized task of firefighting, teams had to determine a problem area, to which they could contribute in terms of vehicle-top arrangement with a user-centered approach. This arrangement required understanding the duties of firefighters well, and responding to the performance requirements of the vehicles. The design proposals were also expected to reflect upon the overall appearance of the vehicle and contribute to both the brand identity of Karba, and the vehicle identity as a firefighting apparatus. Teams were assigned research topics following the distribution of the design brief, in order to familiarize with the problem area in terms of firefighting tasks, intervention procedures, types of firefighting apparatus, vehicle types used, and standards and regulations involved, as well as to gain information on the collaborating company, its competitors, and the automotive design and manufacture processes. A visit was conducted to the Kurtuluş Fire Station where teams explored the apparatus and interviewed firefighters. In a visit to Karba, teams were introduced to the technical aspects of vehicle type selection and determination of equipment layout. Teams then carried out field research, during which they met different firefighting squads and observed them in their stations and on duty. Based on the findings from researches and insights from observations, teams then developed problem identification maps, and generated various scenarios in which they explored intervention contexts. For the Initial Ideas Jury, teams were expected to determine three vehicle concepts, incorporating at least 18 design solutions responding to the identified problems. The three concepts were then reduced to a final vehicle concept for the Preliminary Jury, regarding the purpose of the vehicle, the tasks involved, the related equipment and the overall layout of the vehicle-top equipment that would serve the purpose. A major decision for the teams was to make an appropriate vehicle selection for their design proposals. Karba was thoroughly involved in this process and provided technical support for the teams. Teams used intense 2D sketching and 3D exploration with models in the process of design detailing and finalization. The Final Jury took place on 22 January 2016 Friday, with the participation of the course tutors, other tutors from the Department and the Karba firm representative.