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2007 L.A. Show Design Challenge

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2006 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge

2006 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge

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For the fourth year, the Los Angeles Auto Show is hosting Design Los Angeles, a world conference for designers, along with the Design Challenge, a design contest that garners entries from some of the brightest rising stars at top North American design studios. We’ve come to expect the Design Challenge to be an auto show of its own, with “theoretical” concepts, in the form of sketches and models. They aren’t quite the same as seeing rolling, life-size concept cars, but they sure are fodder to get us thinking about what we may be driving, or riding in, in the more distant future.

 

Last year’s theme was meeting the environmental changes of living in L.A. This year’s theme — “Robocar 2057” — looks particularly far into the future and has proven even more exciting (and open-ended).

 

Read on for a quick rundown of the eight entries for this year. The winner will be announced on November 15.

 

2007 Audi Auto Virtuea Quattro Concept

2007 Audi Auto Virtuea Quattro Concept

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Auto Virtuea Quattro

Volkswagen/Audi Design CenterCalifornia

Heather Shaw, Jae Min, Mattjis Van Tuijl, Karl Strahlendorf, Christian Schoen

 

A hydrogen-powered, single-seat vehicle combining artificial intelligence with “avenues of self expression,” the Virtuea Quattro is capable of projecting, as a holographic image, an array of possible exteriors, accessible through an onboard interface. And the exterior image can be “proudly displayed without environmental impact as no physical materials are needed regardless of size.”

 

Among other unique features are a built-in Respiration System, for that soot-ridden Blade Runner-esque future, and a Community Processing Unit at the helm that can bond with other vehicle CPUs and become exponentially smarter.

 

First thought: Will there a shuffle mode for the indecisive?

 

GM-OnStar ANT

General Motors Advanced Design, California

Frank Saucedo, Steve Anderson, Jussi Timonen, Jose Paris, Lorne Kulesus, Tony Liu, Jay Bernard, Phil Tanioka

 

2007 GM-OnStar ANT

2007 GM-OnStar ANT

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This entry models its communication and traffic abilities on “nature’s best computer, the ant,” using OnStar vehicle-to-vehicle communication along with embedded intelligence. An omni-directional propulsion system (with three podlike ‘Nanorb’ wheel systems) provides versatile mobility, while body panels have artificial muscles, in the form of electro-active polymer actuators, allowing them to be reconfigured depending on the use.

 

The panels also have a “street furniture mode,” where they “…act as open source communication portals adding culture and entertainment to the streets.”

 

First thought: Just what you need to be the best busker in your sector. As for the looks, are the designers Tripods fans?

 

Honda 124 – One to the Power of Four

Honda Research & Development

Ben Davidson, Khrystyne Zurian, Shae Shatz

 

2007 Honda 124 Concept

2007 Honda 124 Concept

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Honda’s designers took a firm nod to an uncertain energy future with the 124, a flexible, fully robotic commuter vehicle especially designed for the “suburban community re-population movement of the 2050s.” Designed for carpoolers, the solar-hybrid-powered 124 allows one to four separate modules, fully functional with gyros, artificial intelligence, and ‘molecular engineering,’ to come together to share commuting costs.

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