Vehicle structure around an occupant’s head and neck makes a great difference to their feeling of comfort and security. Space to move around the head, neck and shoulders stops an occupant from feeling “closed in”; while being held around the waist and hips lets the occupant feel secure.
Atomic Duck will have the rider seated low in the chassis, with the widest point of the body at the shoulder, so there will be plenty of room for the rider to move their upper body. Having a large cockpit opening means the rider’s hands will be free to move and always in sight. A cockpit canopy will direct air over the rider with less drag and more comfort than a fully-open cockpit, and the width and height of the canopy will give room for the rider to move their head without touching any part of it.
The canopy needs to fulfill four criterion:
Secure closing, so the velomobile can be locked like a car.
Normal ventilation, for rider comfort and to stop misting of the screen.
Wide opening, to allow the rider reach out of the vehicle without opening the door.
Optional removal, so the vehicle can be ridden without a screen, or it can be replaced with a low, aero-screen.
To achieve all of these, the Atomic Duck canopy is to be hinged at the front and secured under the door structure using a notched belt and hook.
When fastened at it’s tightest, the tension in the belt will keep the canopy sealed tightly down to the body and, because the hook not accessible from outside the vehicle, the canopy will effectively be locked.
When the strap is released, the canopy is sprung to lift up and allow ventilation around the rider’s head. This will give airflow over the inside of the screen, prevent it from misting over and ensure good visibility. Having the canopy opening at the rear exhausts warm air from the cabin, with low air speed at the rider’s face, that increases as it passes their head; instead of blowing fast moving air from outside into the rider’s face, as would happen with a front-opening canopy.
Pushing the canopy up will allow it to open further and let the rider reach out from the vehicle. To stop the canopy from falling completely forward and being damaged, the unhooked strap is still connected at each end, and will limit the maximum opening angle.