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ONELIFE #33 – English

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OBJECT 02: OFFICE CHAIRS The All-New Discovery’s cabin didn’t start with a blank sheet of paper, but with an empty area of office floor, onto which engineer Rory Manning pushed seven office chairs. “The outgoing Discovery had an incredibly versatile cabin,” explains Rory’s colleague Dave Hird. “But if you want to end up with the best possible solution, you can’t start with what you’ve got. You have to ignore all the existing solutions and just say, ‘what if?’ That’s hard to do purely in your head. Some props are useful. So Rory used the chairs.” The cabin that Rory and his team came up with is a minor miracle of packaging, fitting seven full-sized adult seats into a car less than five metres long, along with the clever stowage and USB connections in every row, which a modern, always-connected family will demand. This practicality and versatility has always been central to the Discovery’s appeal. But Rory didn’t stop thinking about new possibilities. What if, he asked, you could just walk up to your car and get the seating configuration you need with a swipe of an app on your phone, or the push of a button, or a tap on the touch screen? What if you didn’t need to climb inside to fold the seats yourself? His what-if would become the new Discovery’s revolutionary Intelligent Seat Fold system. The office chairs helped Rory, Dave and the rest of the team imagine how customers might expect it to work, and what the system would need to do to deliver the seating plan the customer asks for with the minimum of input. “That’s my job,” says Dave. “I help get that first idea into the finished car.” Dave asks more what-ifs. What if the seat you want to fold has something or someone in it? What if the configuration you need means moving all the seats at once? How do you choreograph the mechanical ballet required when all three rows need to move simultaneously? “This is what makes the system intelligent,” Dave says. “But before you can design it, you have to decide what you want, free of all existing onstraints.” That free-thinking has produced a very clever cabin. It also deprived a few engineers of their office chairs for a while. When they sit in a new Discovery, they’ll know it was worth the inconvenience. 43