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
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
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?
General Motors Advanced Design,
Frank Saucedo, Steve Anderson, Jussi Timonen, Jose Paris, Lorne Kulesus, Tony Liu, Jay Bernard, Phil Tanioka
2007 GM-OnStar ANT
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
The Honda also brings a unique vision of vehicle ownership in the future, borrowing aspects from condos and timeshares. Families will still own larger vehicles, but smaller second vehicles will be replaced with shares in a common vehicle; the shares in turn would be traded through a Honda database.
First thought: Hmm. Something happened to empty out the suburbs. Someone’s been reading The End of Oil and other books like it.
Mazda Motonari RX
Mazda R&D of
2007 Mazda Motonari RX Concept
Sheetmetal is dead, and traffic accidents are a thing of the past, predicts the year-2057 info sheet for the Mazda. Driving the Motonari RX would be a spectator sport in itself, as the effectiveness of cornering is controlled by occupant positioning, and in appearance it’s similar to street luge.
First thought: This is all fine and dandy, but what if you’re claustrophobic? And will having a battle-bot like this be the next measure of sex appeal?
Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of
Gorden Wagener, John Gill, Kevin Kang
2007 Mercedes-Benz Silverflow Concept
The Silverflow is made entirely of micro-metallic particles that mold the car’s shape for the intended purpose; for instance, there’s a longer highway mode, a shortened city mode, and a side-by-side seating configuration. For storage, the car breaks itself down into a pool of material in a “semi-liquid state.”
First thought: A car of the future, and it looks like a car! No, wait, The Blob!
Bruce Campbell, Doug Wilson, Robert Bauer, Bryan Thompson, Rie Arroba, Jeremy Malick, Laurie Tait, Matt Wilson, Soichi Maruyama
2007 Nissan OneOne Concept
The OneOne propels itself in an especially memorable way: it skates along, in a similar way as with rollerblades, with synthetic muscles on its ‘legs,’ then either lies down or stands up to function as a performance car or city car, respectively.
First thought: Triple lutz? Pretty please?
Calty Design Research
Edward Lee, Erwin Lui, Yo Hiruta, Kevin Hunter
2007 Toyota Biomobile Mecha Concept
The Mecha adapts to this grim future, doing triple duty both as a vehicle, temporary dwelling, and ‘environment cleanser.’ It does more than just remove pollution from the air; it extracts pollutants and harnesses them as energy for the vehicle’s driving force. It’s propelled with four nano-laser wheels, while it can adapt its structure horizontally and vertically depending on the purpose.
First thought: A MechWarrior to take refuge in.
Volkswagen Concept Slipstream
Ian Hilton, Derek Jenkins, Patrick Faulwetter
2007 Volkswagen Concept Slipstream
The two-wheeled, teardrop-shaped Slipstream travels upright when in the city, taking up about one fifth the size of a typical vehicle, then in ‘slipstream’ freeway lanes, the vehicle goes horizontal and floats like the tail section of an airplane for speeds of up to 250 mph. Inside, the Slipstream has a motion-sensitive holographic web interface, while the outer skin is made of solar panels and any excess energy is fed back to the grid.
First thought: Gee…It kinda looks like a bowling pin when it’s upright.