2009 LA Auto Show Design Challenge

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2009

Can you imagine what the cars would be like in 2030? That challenge was posed to South Californian design studios and each of them produced their own interpretation of Youthmobile 2030. Participating design studios include Audi, GM, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota.

Indeed, the cars boast awe-inspiring features, ranging from shapeshifting, changes in colors and materials, a link into a transit system where drivers not only share the commute but trade music and compare class schedules.

Chuck Pelly, director of Design Los Angeles and partner in The Design Academy, Inc., said that this year's Design Challenge has given these studios the opportunity to use their creative talents to revisit the concept of the car of the future.

They were given the chance to use the latest technologies to explore the requirements of young people. Judges for these entries include Tom Matano, Director of Industrial Design at San Francisco's Academy of Art University; Imre Molner, Dean of Detroit's College for Creative Studies; Stewart Reed, Chair, Transportation Design, Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and Jason Hill, Principal of Eleven, LLC and Designer of the Aptera electric and plug-in hybrid/electric vehicle.

Six designers are pushing their entries for the Youthmobile 2030 Design Challenge: Volkswagen/Audi of America Design Center California; General Motors Advanced Design; Honda Research and Development, North America; Mazda R & D of North America; Nissan Design America and Toyota's Calty Design Research. First, Volkswagen/Audi of America Design Center California is submitting its Audi eOra and eSpira vehicles.

Both the eOra and the eSpira employs next generation vehicle control logic, functioning like an extension of the driver's body and senses. Boasting a small footprint and unparalleled agility, the eOra represents freedom and the coming of age, continuously adapting to the driver's movements and intentions. The eSpira, meanwhile, gives the driver unsurpassed control by considering even his smallest body movements and gestures.

General Motors Advanced Design, meanwhile, is presenting The Car Hero game, which pits the driver's skills against the vehicle's autonomous system. Once the user enters the destination into the navigation app on a smart phone, he or she could play against the car and "win" total control over the system, thereby gaining access to more extreme driving scenarios.

That's driving by gaming! Honda Research and Development North America, on the other hand, is submitting the Honda Helix, which incorporates human DNA with adaptive polymers to enable changes in its shape, color and materials. The shape-shifting Honda Helix primarily employs insight gained from human DNA to redefine individuality as well as the relationship between the driver and the vehicle.

Honda Helix features a tri-axis movement, which allows it to adapt and react to certain environments and traffic patterns. The Mazda Souga, as designed by Mazda R & D of North America, is an embodiment of personal branding. The Souga endorses VMazda, a virtual reality Web site that allows young entrepreneurs to design and create their own vehicles. VMazda comes with a virtual design mentor, which ensures that each car is driver-focused yet affordable and eco-friendly.

On the other hand, Nissan Design America came up with the V2G eco-neutral commuter car. A fusion between quality construction and dynamic design, V2G is a top-of-the-line electric vehicle that could be modified to adapt to the needs and wants of its owner.

What Toyota's Calty Design Research foresees for 2030 with the Toyota LINK is a mass transit vehicle for students that allows them to interact with their online social life. The shape of this mass transit vehicle could be customized into a personalized exterior design using "LINK SKINZ." This 2030 mass transit vehicle employs "LINK SPHERES," which are wheels made from an electro-conductive material that could convert friction into energy to recharge LINK's batteries.

Press Release

LA Design Challenge

As timeless as hanging out at the mall, automobiles have played an important role in young people's social lives, have acted as a means of self expression and more importantly a necessary tool for interacting with friends. Today, communication technology is changing how we connect and perhaps even the role the car plays in young people's lives.

Southern California design studios will envision what a new generation of drivers, raised with cell phones, online communities and webcams will demand from their vehicles in the year 2030.

The design studios for Audi, GM, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota reached 21 years into the future and designed their interpretation of Youthmobile 2030. Designs range from vehicles that incorporate human DNA allowing changes in the shape, color and materials to vehicles that link into a mass transit system where drivers not only share the commute but trade music and compare class schedules.

Entries will be judged by Tom Matano, Director of Industrial Design at San Francisco's Academy of Art University; Imre Molner, Dean of Detroit's College for Creative Studies; Stewart Reed, Chair, Transportation Design, Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and Jason Hill, Principal of Eleven, LLC and Designer of the Aptera electric and plug-in hybrid/electric vehicle.

"Automotive designers have always been fascinated with the next generation of drivers and this year's Design Challenge has provided them with the opportunity to use their creative talents to revisit the concept of 'the car' with new eyes, using the hottest technologies to both explore and fulfill the needs of young people," said Chuck Pelly, director of Design Los Angeles and partner in The Design Academy, Inc.

Entries in this year's Youthmobile 2030 Design Challenge include:

Volkswagen/Audi of America Design Center California - The Audi eOra and eSpira are an accessible representation of freedom and coming of age. Like a downhill skier, the eOra carves the roadscape with precision by constantly adapting to the driver's movements and intentions. Using next generation vehicle control logic, the eSpira takes even the smallest body movements and gestures of the driver into consideration and synchronizes them with the vehicle to result in unmatched agility and responsiveness.

General Motors Advanced Design - The Car Hero turns driving into gaming and challenges the driver's skills against the car's autonomous system. Once you enter your destination into the navi app on your smart phone, you can play against the vehicle to "win" complete control over the system and gain access to increasingly outrageous driving scenarios.

Honda Research and Development, North America - Using insight gained from the human genome, the Honda Helix redefines individuality and how a driver connects to his or her vehicle over time. The Helix incorporates human DNA with adaptive polymers that allow changes in the car's shape, color and materials. Tri-axis movement allows adaptation and reaction to specific environments and traffic patterns.

Mazda R & D of North America - The Mazda Souga is the epitome of personal branding. Young entrepreneurs can create their own vehicles on VMazda, a virtual reality Web site that y Web suiteacts as a design playground. With the help of a virtual design mentor, each car is guaranteed to be affordable, eco-friendly and purely driver-focused.

Nissan Design America - The V2G is Nissan's eco-neutral commuter car for 2030. Its combination of dynamic styling and quality construction creates a top-of-the-line electric machine that can be modified to fit the needs and desires of its owner.

Toyota's Calty Design Research - The Toyota LINK is a customizable, mass transit vehicle for students that seamlessly links onto a transportation social network. "LINK SKINZ" can be downloaded to digitally transform the vehicle's shape into a personalized exterior design while "LINK SPHERES," wheels made of an electro-conductive material, convert friction into energy that recharges the batteries.

About the Design Challenge
The Design Challenge is part of the Design Los Angeles automobile designers' conference that is held every year during the Los Angeles Auto Show press days, Dec. 2 & 3, 2009. For the last six years a new Design Challenge theme is chosen and the major Southern California Automotive Design Studios battle against each other to showcase their talents and further explore new ideas in automotive design. The Design Los Angeles Conference also gives designers access to design industry leaders and provides the opportunity to address common industry issues.

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