Depending on users : The case of over-snow motorized transport in Russia

Svetlana Usenyuk-Kravchuk*, Nikita Klyusov, Sampsa Hyysalo, Viktor Klimenko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article examines the history of aerosledges – a Russian-invented class of over-snow motorised transport vehicles. It looks at the use of existing industrial capacities in the automotive and aviation industry to create motorised sliding vehicles to generate mobility over vast Russian snow landscapes. This resulted in a series of novel designs of aerosledges and the adoption of principles from aviation and automobility as well as components produced in large quantities for these industries. Aerosledges are used in conditions and locales where little ordinary servicing and maintenance are available. This placed much demand on the users of motorised sliders to be not only drivers and navigators in remote or military terrains but equally on-site mechanics and repairmen. The article argues that Russian motorised sliding transport would not have prospered if it was not for the “user infrastructuring” of diagnostic and repair skills. Therefore, it looks at the aggregated input of the aerosledge sector of technology towards developing technological literacy and the diagnostic and repair skills necessary to keep the technology working in severe environmental conditions. The article investigates the bricolage way of building in these vehicles as a deliberate design strategy that in turn shapes user infrastructure. The article illustrates the historical narrative with selected examples of aerosledge design and concludes with practical lessons for the still relevant challenge of developing good vehicles for the diverse and harsh conditions of Russian roadlessness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-102
Number of pages27
JournalIcon
Volume25
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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