Cars and Robots in the Automotive Future

Los Angeles, CA, October 12, 2007 –Today’s vehicles feature artificial intelligence that allow hands-free parking and electronic stability control, but in 50 years vehicles might be able to move in any direction, drive and navigate robotically and have structures that morph and adapt to passengers’ needs.

This is according to auto designers as part of the fourth annual Los Angeles Auto Show’s Design Challenge. Eight automotive design studios based in Southern California, including Audi, GM, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen created design concepts that envision the RoboCar of 2057. These futuristic designs adapt to a variety of environmental conditions and consumer needs, from battling LA’s traffic vertically to turning pollutants extracted out of the air into fuel and even picking the kids up after soccer practice without the need for a human driver.

The designers entered two dimensional renderings and concept descriptions predicting how the rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence will integrate into the automobile to make life safer, more convenient and more attractive to consumers 50 years from now.

Entries will be judged by Tom Matano of San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, Imre Molner of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and Stewart Reed of Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design. Special guest judge this year is robotics expert Chris Myers. Meyers is an independent design consultant specializing in remote telepresence robotics and has been a contributing writer for robotic hobby magazines, Servo and Robot. He also teaches design at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University.

Entries in this year’s RoboCar 2057 Design Challenge include:

Audi of America Design Center California: The Audi Virtuea Quattro is a hydrogen-powered vehicle that functions as a solid unit at its core, while providing a myriad of possible holographic exteriors.

General Motors Advanced Design: The GM-Onstar ANT features vehicle-to-vehicle communication to optimize traffic flow along with omni-directional propulsion provided by three independent Nanorb wheel systems.

Honda Research and Development, North America: The 14 – One to the Power of Four is a solar-hybrid powered robotic commuter that allows carpoolers to use HOV lanes and once near final destinations, transforms from one into four separate vehicles.

Mazda R&D of North America: The Motonari RX integrates the driver with the vehicle allowing the driver to experience the road psycho-somatically and also has 360 degree movement capability.

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America: The Silverflow utilizes micro-metallic particles that can be arranged via magnetic fields in many different forms based on pre-selected models and then be completely dissembled into a pool of ferromagnetic material.

Nissan Design America: The Nissan OneOne is guided by a real-time GPS network and acts as both transportation and personal assistant with the ability to run errands or take children safely to school. It also adapts from performance car to city car by lying down for speed or standing up for better visibility.

Toyota’s Calty Design Research: The Biomobile Mecha can extract pollutants in the air and utilize it as an energy source. Nanotechnology also enables the structure of the vehicle to expand and contract horizontally and vertically for multiple uses.

Volkswagen of America Design Center: The Slipstream adapts for city and freeway driving. These two-wheeled, teardrop shaped pods travel in an upright orientation that occupies one-fifth the size of a traditional vehicle and when on the freeway, tilts horizontally to be more aerodynamic.
“Much how the Transformers toys and the more recent Transformers movie have captivated millions of imaginations, the question of how artificial intelligence will evolve in the service of humanity is a topic of almost universal fascination,” said Chuck Pelly, director of Design Los Angeles and partner in The Design Academy, Inc.

About the Design Challenge
The Design Challenge is part of the Design Los Angeles automobile designers’ conference that has evolved into an integral element of the Los Angeles Auto Show. Entering its fourth year, Design Los Angeles provides designers with leading design speakers and the opportunity to address common issues. More than 500 designers attended last year’s event.

The Design Challenge has become a highly anticipated competition that pits design studios against each other to flex their creativity. The competition has received rave reviews from journalists and extensive media exposure throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.

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