Back in September, Los Angeles Auto Show organizers announced the theme for this year’s Design Challenge contest: contenders needed to design a law enforcement car for the year 2025. Today, they have finally announced the six competitors coming from BMW, General Motors, Honda (two entries), Mercedes-Benz and Subaru.
BMW’s entry will be the E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle), which is a concept built on a modular structure with three different drones. In the case of a pursuit in heavy traffic, the patrol officer can deploy either the flying drone or one of the single-wheel drones to chase the suspect and report back to the officer.
General Motors entered the contest with a Volt Squad — a three-vehicle fleet designed around the concept of observe, pursue and engage. Honda has two entries for 2012: the CHP Drone Squad, a vehicle-based-system for 2025, which is designed to work efficiently and seamlessly in the harsh environment of California highways. Honda’s second entry is the "CHiPs" 2025 Traffic Crawler, a vehicle that has the ability to adjust to changes in the traffic environment.
Mercedes is entering the contest with Ener-G-Force, a vehicle based on the G-Class and designed as an environmentally friendly SUV. And finally Subaru’s entry is the SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept) highway patrol vehicles. They are capable of providing an innovative, affordable and environmentally conscious solution for 24-hour highway monitoring, protection and rapid emergency response.
The winner of the contest will be announced on November 25.
Click past the jump to read the press release on each vehicle.
DESIGN CHALLENGE - BMW
BMW Group DesignworksUSA
Vehicle Title: DesignworksUSA E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle)
Jose Casas - Designer
Won Awe – Designer
The BMW Group DesignworksUSA team chose Los Angeles as the region to create a 2025 scenario for the E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle). Their research predicted that Los Angeles would have more traffic, faster vehicles, and vehicles with alternative fuel sources. The design centered on a modular structure and drone technology that enhanced both teamwork and accessibility. The main structure can deploy three drones. In the case of a pursuit during heavy traffic areas, the patrol officer sitting in the two passenger main structure can deploy either the flying drone or one of the single wheel drones to chase the suspect and report back data to the main structure.
DESIGN CHALLENGE - General Motors
General Motors Advanced Design California
Vehicle Title: Volt Squad
Frank Saucedo - Design Director
Phil Tanioka - Design Project Manager
Brent Wickham - Concept Strategist
Charles LeFranc - Observe Vehicle Designer
Shawn Moghadam - Pursue Vehicle Designer
Darren Luke - Engage Vehicle Designer
Thamer Hannona - Storyboard Designer
General Motors has created a new electric vehicle system, the Volt Squad, to meet the challenge of a highway system now brimming with cutting edge technologies. The Volt Squad is a three vehicle fleet, designed around the concept of OBSERVE, PURSUE and ENGAGE. Each vehicle has a clearly defined situational role; delivering superior flexibility, presence and capability for the CHP. At the core of the vehicle’s architecture is the VOLT advanced, electronic, propulsion
DESIGN CHALLENGE - Honda North America
Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Advanced Design Studio, California
Vehicle Title: Honda CHP Drone Squad
Honda Advanced Design has created the CHP Drone Squad, a vehicle-based-system for 2025 designed to work efficiently and seamlessly in the harsh environment of California highways without the need for new infrastructure. The Drone Squad is comprised of a 2 vehicle system. The Auto-Drone operates as a manned or un-manned mission control vehicle which deploys Moto-Drones and can do so on the move. Moto-Drones are un-manned motorcycles capable of being rigged for multiple response or rescue missions.
Honda R&D Japan’s "CHiPs" 2025 Traffic Crawler offers key features that the central office of the California Highway Patrol needs as they adjust to changes in the traffic environment in 2025 where, in addition to conventional traffic problems, vehicles freed from environmental constraints are getting bigger. Despite the transition period to safe automatic driving, the traffic environment is again becoming confusing and challenging as California resumes its once flourishing car culture. In response to the need for strict traffic enforcement, Honda designed a new patrol vehicle that offers sporty mobility with the toughness to respond in severe traffic situations.
DESIGN CHALLENGE - Mercedes-Benz
Los Angeles Design Challenge 2012 and more: Ener-G-Force – off-road for tomorrow
Stuttgart – Is it possible that the Mercedes-Benz G-Class will still be around in 2025? A cool design study from Mercedes-Benz demonstrates how the genes of the classic off-roader from 1979 may still assert themselves in the far future. It is based on the concept of a future police car developed for the Los Angeles Design Challenge.
The Los Angeles Design Challenge 2012 looks far ahead with a quest for the “Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025”. Law enforcement will have to prepare for even more crowded roads with electronically monitored and guided traffic, a much larger population and changes in human behaviour. People will feel young and active until even later in life. Outdoor activities will dominate leisure, the desire for freedom and adventure. The new times will also call for new police vehicles. They must be able to reach any place conceivable quickly and reliably – even far away from any pavement. And they must do so in an exceptionally environmentally friendly way using alternative energy sources. Enhanced green-car characteristics and off-road capabilities will be among the fundamental virtues of a police car in 2025.
As an environmentally friendly SUV, the Ener-G-Force, which Mercedes-Benz is presenting in Los Angeles as a design study, meets these requirements and would be fully capable of supporting police and emergency services in every corner of the world. Gorden Wagener, Director of Design at Mercedes-Benz Cars: “The Ener-G-Force is the vision of an off-roader that, while reflecting tomorrow’s adventures, also invokes the genes of the Mercedes-Benz off-road icon, the G model. Modern and cool, it could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz”.
The small glass areas make the police vehicle a safe cocoon for law enforcement officers who are faced with many dangers. Emergency lights integrated into the roof ensure attention that is impossible to ignore; the striking front leaves no doubt as to the commanding presence of the police, and the gigantic wheels guarantee the right of way even where no way exists.
Back from the future – clean concept for beyond tomorrow
Of course the concept of the Ener-G-Force for the Los Angeles Design Challenge is pure, rendered science fiction. However, the notion of designing tomorrow’s off-roader fascinated the designers at the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Carlsbad, California to such an extent that they evolved the vision of a police version into a civilian version and even built a 1:1-scale model. Like the “Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025”, the shape of the civilian Ener-G-Force is modelled after the G-Class, the off-road icon whose continuous history goes all the way back to the 1970s and that to this very day still tackles the future as a stylistically and technologically advanced SUV.
Like the police version, the model of the civilian Ener-G-Force is unmistakably inspired by the G-Class, which has long been considered an automotive icon. However, it presents a radical reinterpretation of this classic that looks far into the future. Important genes such as proportions and design elements were adopted conceptually and completely redesigned and updated in a clean concept for beyond tomorrow. Ener-G-Force Designer Hubert Lee: “Of course we wanted to take a clear step forward, but we also wanted the G’s characteristic features”. The Ener-G-Force has a similar profile, however with a high shoulder line and scaled-down glass areas.
While the clear design idiom of the G-Class has remained, all surfaces are designed to express intensity and tension. The meticulously executed details also are a clear indication that the Ener-G-Force is the product of modern times. Like the G-Class, the Ener-G-Force sports a front with an expressive radiator grille that incorporates the headlamps. LEDs in the headlamps form lamp units in the shape of a G. This gives the Ener-G-Force a strong, iconic appearance and demonstrates dominance. The front indicators and position lights are mounted on top of the wings as a significant G-Class element.
The mounted roof distinctive to the G-Class and the tripartite glass area also cite the fundamental genes of the classic off-roader from Mercedes-Benz, but represent a clear step forward. This is also evident in the large wheels, whose 20-inch rims give the Ener-G-Force a powerful, towering stance. The Ener-G-Force also plays on the utility factor in an entirely new way. For instance, the distinctive feature in the rear is a slightly off-centre pull-out compartment whose cover takes up the characteristic look of the spare wheel carrier of the classic G-Class. This pull-out tool box can hold a wide variety of equipment items that consequently are quickly in reach without having to open the whole liftgate.
Bursting with energy
The Ener-G-Force stores recycled water in tanks on the roof, and transfers it to the “hydro-tech converter,” where natural and renewable resources are converted into hydrogen for operating the fuel cells. The storage units for the electricity generated in this process are housed easily accessible in the striking side skirts. The Ener-G-Force emits nothing but water, has an operating range of about 800 kilometres and as a result truly is a green car. Four wheel-hub motors, whose output for each individual wheel is adapted precisely to the respective terrain by high-performance electronics, provide the pulling power. A “Terra-Scan” 360-degree topography scanner on the roof permanently scans the surroundings and uses the results to adjust the spring and damping rates as well as other suspension parameters for maximum traction on the
respective surface, regardless of whether it is in terrain or on the road. The strikingly styled side skirts house either the energy storage units or hot-swappable battery packs. Changes in the colour of the illumination of the side skirts indicate the operating and charge status of the energy packs. A roof carrier and additional lamps are integrated into the roof. The ensemble appears to have been carved from a single piece. The overall package of this design model is a clean thing – stylistically and functionally.
DESIGN CHALLENGE - Subaru
Subaru Research and Development, Inc.
Vehicle Title: SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept)
David Cohen - Project Leader
Matt Wherry - Vehicle Design
David Cohen - Vehicle Design
Masashi Kaneda - Character Design
Digital Modeling :
Hang Hui Yao
With the grand opening of Hawaii’s sparkling new inter-island Paradise Highway, Subaru debuts the cutting-edge SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept). SHARC highway patrol vehicles will provide an innovative, affordable, and environmentally conscious solution for 24-hour highway monitoring, protection, and rapid emergency response. Meeting Hawaii’s strict UltraGreen carbon-neutral environmental regulations and reflecting a trend for reduced highway patrol budgets worldwide, zero-emission SHARC vehicles are powered by renewable energy and operate autonomously, eliminating the need for a large full-time highway patrol staff.