Drone Technology at Forefront of 2025 Cop Cars

2012 Los Angeles Auto Show


  • Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept

    Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept

    The Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept can operate autonomously — and bypasses the need for a human police presence. | November 15, 2012

5 Photos

2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • Drone technology, electric cars and sporty mobility are some of the key elements of the 2025 cop-car lineup unveiled on Thursday for the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge.
  • BMW showed off its E-Patrol, a "human-drone pursuit vehicle," while Honda rolled out the CHP Drone Squad, which includes un-manned motorcycles.

LOS ANGELES — Drone technology, electric cars and sporty mobility are some of the key elements of the 2025 cop-car lineup unveiled on Thursday for the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge.

Design studios from BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru offered their takes on futuristic police cruisers, focusing on everything from speed to "environmental sensitivity." The results are part Blade Runner and part Sierra Club — and some of the vehicles don't even require a human presence.

BMW showed off its E-Patrol, a "human-drone pursuit vehicle," while Honda rolled out the CHP Drone Squad, which includes un-manned motorcycles.

BMW's E-Patrol has a main structure that 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," said show organizers in a statement.

Honda's CHP Drone Squad is the brainchild of the automaker's California design studio. The Drone Squad is made up of two vehicles.

"The Auto-Drone operates as a manned or un-manned mission control vehicle which deploys Moto-Drones and can do so on the move," said show organizers. "Moto-Drones are un-manned motorcycles capable of being rigged for multiple response or rescue missions."

GM envisions the "Volt Squad," a three-vehicle fleet designed around the concept of "observe, pursue and engage."

"Each vehicle has a clearly defined situational role," said show organizers.

Honda's Tokyo design studio offered the CHiPs 2025 Traffic Crawler, which puts a premium on "sporty mobility." The futuristic California Highway Patrol vehicle is created to patrol roads where cars drive themselves.

"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," said show organizers.

The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force is spun off the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and puts a premium on being "environmentally friendly."

Subaru's SHARC or Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept is designed to patrol a futuristic Hawaiian highway and operates autonomously, thus "eliminating the need for a large full-time highway patrol staff," show organizers said.

The SHARC is described as an "environmentally conscious solution for 24-hour highway monitoring."

The winning design will be announced on November 29 during the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Edmunds says: It appears that many auto designers envision police cars with no police. Which one should walk away with the prize?

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