Adventure Vehicle Design Is An Adventure
Storyteller Overland is a Birmingham, Alabama-based adventure vehicle manufacturer and upfitter that is revolutionizing the way outdoor enthusiasts experience the open road and beyond. With a mission to equip individuals with the tools they need to live free, explore endlessly and tell better stories, Storyteller Overland delivers more than just products—it aims to deliver life-changing experiences that will have you telling stories (hence, the name).
While driving into camp sites in a Mercedes Sprinter or a Ford Transit isn’t necessarily new to the world of RVers and campers, Storyteller Overland provides the ability to customize their units. The modular design elements provide customers with the ability to have their vehicle cater to their needs and develop different configurations for their adventures.
At the core of their success lies the innovative utilization of SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which has transformed their design process, streamlined collaboration with suppliers and connected their team throughout the entire product development journey.
Michael Asutell, VP of engineering at Storyteller Overland, was part of a keynote presentation during 3DEXPERIENCE World where he provided some insight into engineering and designing a vehicle for experiencing adventure.
“We are an upfitter that equips outdoor enthusiasts with the tools they need to live free, explore endlessly and tell better stories,” he told the audience. “We’re born out of a spirit of grand adventure and we’re pursuing and passionately equipping those who are pursuing meaningful experiences and discovery, living life out on the open road and beyond.”
He heads a geographically dispersed team of industrial designers and mechanical engineers. Their process begins with industrial designers crafting concepts that capture the spirit of adventure and exploration.
Storyteller Overland’s vehicles have an emphasis on flexibility and modularity, providing their customers with customization options for their adventures. (Image credit: Storyteller Overland.)
Think of these vehicles as less cumbersome than an RV, with more utility than camping in an SUV. Designing for comfortable living while also being transportable is the immediate challenge. Compact is generally not in the same category as comfortable, but Storyteller Overland is about making their vehicles livable.
These concepts are then handed over to the mechanical engineers, who turn them into tangible realities and refine the design. From there, Asutell’s team works with the company’s quality and shop floor teams, as well as outside vendors, to get their custom components manufactured and installed on the vehicles.
With a rapidly growing company and the need for remote work and travel—they are a company promoting the concept of hitting the road, after all—Storyteller Overland opted for the 3DEXPERIENCE platform instead of traditional on-premise methods.
The platform became the central hub for storing, organizing and managing their data, enabling the team to access and work with 3D data seamlessly. By leveraging the platform’s built-in data and lifecycle management capabilities, Storyteller Overland ensures that every team member stays aligned, allowing for real-time feedback and preventing unintended edits or working with out-of-date content.
“We’ve enabled our production engineering team, as well as senior management, to have access to our 3D data and that introduces the ability to receive their feedback in real time.”
Because Asutell and his team work with a variety of vendors to create the best possible experience for their customers, they needed communication beyond just team members. This can be tricky with proprietary info and specs. Controlling intellectual property while collaborating with external suppliers has always been a priority for Storyteller Overland.
“We’re big on controlling our IP and I like that we can selectively share our data with numerous suppliers while protecting that IP. We provide supplier-controlled access to our models while we preserve the complete design context, so it seamlessly integrates with the supplier generated parts and any modifications they might have made to our designs.”
The vehicles that Storyteller Overland designs are built for both comfort and ruggedness, all while keeping unique customization in mind. (Image credit: Storyteller Overland.)
By playing to each individual’s (and partner organization’s) strengths, the platform fosters collaboration and maximizes efficiency throughout the organization. Final designs can be locked down and released securely, ensuring that the integrity of the work is preserved.
Storyteller Overland’s commitment to delivering exceptional adventure experiences and equipping outdoor enthusiasts with the means to explore has been simplified thanks to their cloud-based approach to the technical side of their business.
The company has transformed their design process, streamlined collaboration with external suppliers and connected their entire team throughout the product development journey. An integration of technology, understanding the value of flexible design and a passion for adventure has positioned Storyteller Overland as a leading force in the adventure vehicle industry, ready to create more life-changing experiences for those who seek the thrill of the open road.