3:58 PM PST, December 3, 2012
Call it “Blade Runner” meets “CHIPs,” or maybe “Dragnet 2025.”
Each year the Design Challenge invites a handful of leading studios to dream up visionary ideas for the future of automotive design, with a specific theme in mind.
For the 2012 L.A. Auto Show, six design studios from around the world ponder the future of law enforcement mobility 13 years from now, taking into consideration the needs and logistics of specific regions, most notably Southern California.
Some see a brave new green world, others a more Mad Max-on-the-405 scenario. And if you think car chases are big on local news now, just wait.
Welcome to the year 2025.
Anticipating an L.A. future with exponentially more traffic and much faster vehicles, the BMW team created the E-Patrol Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle, a concept packed with drone technology that’s deployed to chase bad guys by air and asphalt. A patrol officer at a control center monitors the situation remotely and can send up to three flying drones or highly maneuverable single-wheel robots to chase vehicles on jammed freeways.
GM Advanced Design California
Good luck getting away from the Volt Squad, a three-vehicle fleet designed to engage the high-tech highway system of the future. Think auto-controlled cars and satellite-directed traffic. The Volt Squad’s motto is “Observe, Pursue and Engage,” defining each vehicle’s dedicated role with the California Highway Patrol. The vehicles are propelled by a highly advanced VOLT electronic propulsion system, which taps into futuristic high-tech infrastructure.
Honda Advanced Design Studio California
Honda’s Team California envisions a chaotic, crowded and decidedly less tech-heavy freeway system, effectively patrolled by the CHP Drone Squad, a dual-vehicle system designed to navigate the harsh environment of 2025 California highways. The Auto-Drone operates in manned or unmanned mode, sort of a mother ship that deploys Moto-Drones — unmanned motorcycles capable of carrying out multiple response or rescue missions — all covered live in 3-D on KTLA, no doubt.
Honda Advanced Design Studio Tokyo
Another dystopian scenario: Honda’s Japan design crew visualizes a highway system far from green, jammed and polluted with massive mega-vehicles freed from environmental constraints. And as society transitions into fully autonomous driving, traveling is more challenging and confusing than ever. The solution? Honda’s 2025 Traffic Crawler, a highly advanced, ultra-tough three-wheeled CHP patrol vehicle that offers radical mobility to respond in severe traffic situations (and perhaps zombie uprisings).
Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center California
How to deal with gridlocked roads jammed with electronically monitored and controlled traffic — as well as a booming population? The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force handles it all cleanly and with aplomb, aiding police worldwide with nary a foul emission from its fuel-cell powerplant. The structurally and technologically advanced Ener-G-Force is based on the off-road icon G-Class SUV and is actually being previewed as a concept vehicle at the auto show.
Subaru Research and Development
To patrol a hypothetical Paradise Highway system connecting the islands of Hawaii, Subaru presents the SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept). These SHARC patrol vehicles are designed to provide affordable and eco-friendly monitoring of the roads 24/7, reacting with lightning-fast emergency response while meeting Hawaii’s strict environmental regulations. Reflecting a future with less funding for law enforcement, SHARC vehicles use renewable energy and operate autonomously, reducing the need for highway patrol staff.
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