Our Vision

Deep Orange educates future innovators and engineering leaders who develop sustainable mobility solutions balancing environmental, social and economic aspects.

Our Vision

Our Philosophy

Deep Orange is a framework that immerses Clemson University graduate automotive engineering students into the world of future automakers and suppliers as part of their education. Working collaboratively, students, multi-disciplinary faculty, and participating industry partners focus on designing and producing a future vehicle concept incorporating breakthrough technology innovations with new development, manufacturing and assembly processes.

Our Mission

Deep Orange realizes its core beliefs through a hands-on, real-world, collaborative educational environment that stimulates transversal working and holistic thinking from entry into the automotive engineering program until graduation. Deep Orange stimulates engineering creativity through collaboration with transportation design students. Industry partners are invited to mentor students on industry-focused engineering practices and subject matter related to developing technology innovations throughout the educational experience.

Deep Orange Background

Deep Orange is led by passionate, interdisciplinary faculty and supported by dedicated staff. The program is located within the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center (CGEC) located on the 250-acre Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus in Greenville, SC. The automotive design component of Deep Orange is incorporated through a strategic partnership with the Transportation System and Design Department at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. The Deep Orange program has strong relationships with over 200 technology partners accessible for collaboration including OEM and Tier 1/2/3 suppliers.

Product Development Timeline

Deep Orange is a part of the automotive engineering program at Clemson University. The 24-month program implements the “engineering studio” approach to teaching by immersing students in the EOM setting. Below is a timeline what to expect during each phase of the Deep Orange program.


Months to Complete

Grand Challenge

Each project addresses a real-world grand challenge related to sustainable mobility. (ex: youth mobility, aging drivers, urbanization). It requires the students to understand societal trends and future legislation.


Months to Complete

Market Analyses and Brand Essence

As part of the curriculum, market analyses are conducted to create a better understanding of the psychographics and demographics of the target audience. Each project is sponsored by an OEM and the students must understand the OEM’s brand heritage to align their concepts with the brand essence of the sponsor.


Months to Complete


During the idea generation phase, the engineering and design students will jointly create a value proposition taking the customer, the brand and the grand challenge into consideration.


Months to Complete

Initial Vehicle Concept

The final deliverable of the definition phase are 10-15 competing concepts. Design and engineering students take inspiration from fashion and other non-automotive domains for develop their concept. One concept is selected for further detailing and realization.


Months to Complete

Design Detailing

The exterior/interior design selected will be further detailed by making quarter-sized models in clay supported by digital computer software to render the surfaces. The engineering students provide the packaging details for the occupants, powertrain and chassis.


Months to Complete

Professional Mentoring

Students are trained to sort through data, identify seminaries and produce a big picture.
Students then have the opportunity to interact with industry professionals who train them to sell their ideas clearly and concisely. The interaction allows them to receive detailed feedback and suggestions for improvement.


Months to Complete

Manufacturing Innovations and Project Status

Students are encouraged to explore and implement disruptive technologies, such as lighter gauge materials folded into innovative, high load-bearing structures, formed with simple low-cost fixtures. The status and maturity of project is captured every 4-6 weeks during design reviews.


Months to Complete

Design-Engineering Convergence

At major project review milestones, the design and engineering work will be overlaid to identify critical geometric, functional, manufacturing or legislative issues. Both designers and engineers will have to work out a compromise.


Months to Complete

Computer Aided Design

In the first 14 months of the project, computer aided engineering and design tools are used extensively to drive the project maturity supporting design, sizing and validation of component, subsystem and full vehicle level properties.


Months to Complete

Digital Mock-ups and Review Meetings

Digital mock-ups are created with 3D software to allow for multiple design iterations in a shorter amount of time. Every 4-6 weeks, the project sponsor will receive a status update on the project. Besides the achievement of vehicle level properties, cost, weight, build progress and timing are reported.


Months to Complete

Usability Testing

Paper prototypes are used to obtain feedback from external end-users to identify problems and guide the design. The process is repeated until end-users find the design satisfying and easy to use.


Months to Complete

Industry Collaboration

The project is an open-collaboration initiative allowing industry partners to work with students implementing, exploring and showcasing novel ideas.


Months to Complete


The built-phase of the vehicle concept allows the students to implement the skills and knowledge that they have gained throughout their program of study.


Months to Complete

Systems Integration and Component Testing

The design and manufacture of future vehicles requires the integrated application of concepts in disciplines ranging from engineering and information technology to business and human factors. Subsystems and components are also tested and calibrated before they are assembled into the vehicle concept.


Months to Complete

Full Vehicle Validation, Graduation and Marketing

In the last phase of the project, the functionality of the vehicle prototype is validated against the targets that are defined in the strategic planning phase. After project completion, the graduates are involved in showcasing the project outcomes at major venues such as the SEMA Show and LA Auto Show