Nature Takes Its Course with 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge Entries | Edmunds

Nature Takes Its Course With 2013 L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge Entries


Just the Facts:
  • A futuristic Toyota inspired by a crane, a "Suba-Roo" that mimics a kangaroo and a Mazda that morphs from a fully autonomous car to a manual machine are some of the entries in the 2013 L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge.
  • Chinese automakers are strutting their stuff, with a 2025 car that takes its cues from an ant and vehicles that could be part of a postmodern Silk Road.
  • BMW Group DesignworksUSA used seeds and swarms of insects as inspiration for its entries.

LOS ANGELES — A futuristic Toyota inspired by a crane, a "Suba-Roo" that mimics a kangaroo and a Mazda that morphs from a fully autonomous car to a manual machine are some of the entries in the 2013 L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge.

The annual Design Challenge is a highlight of the Los Angeles Auto Show because it allows auto designers to create cars without boundaries.

This year's theme is "Biomimicry & Mobility 2025." Designers were challenged with using nature to address a variety of transportation topics, including congestion, pollution, safety and sustainability. As a result, entries were not just limited to automobiles, but included mobility networks and even such micro details as "techno gel seat cushions."

The winner will be selected on November 21.

In the meantime, the curious can have a look at detailed images and descriptions of the various entries.

Chinese automakers are strutting their stuff with a 2025 car that takes its cues from ants and vehicles that could be part of a postmodern Silk Road. The SAIC Motor Roewe Mobiliant is the entry patterned after an ant's body. It is designed to be used as a single-seat vehicle for urban public transit.

Qoros Auto riffed on the legendary Silk Road in China with vehicles inspired by silk worms.

Toyota turned to the crane, a revered creature in Japan, for the Toyota e-grus, an electric hyper-commuter vehicle that can be "positioned at a full extension aero profile for efficiency and high-speed stability, much like a crane in flight," the company said.

The Mazda Auto Adapt is aimed at "true drivers," especially those who worry that the car may become extinct by 2025. This car was created "in reaction to the impending demise of the 2025 driver," the company said.

JAC Motors came up with the Hefei or "Harmonious Eco-Friendly Efficient Infrastructure" for the Design Challenge. Idle vehicles are used to power running vehicles, while automated traffic regulates itself.

Changfeng Motor in China created "LaBrea" or the Los Angeles Bio Research Project. This entry envisions a system that resembles a grasshopper. It is "capable of running, jumping, climbing, swimming and also has the ability to squeeze between narrow openings." Changfeng came up with the "techno gel seat cushions" that provide cooling and heating.

BMW Group DesignworksUSA used seeds and swarms of insects as inspiration for its entries.

One of its entries, dubbed "L.A. Subways," explores forgotten waterways as a commuting alternative, along with a concept vehicle.

Another entry, called S.E.E.D., short for "Sustainable Efficient Exploratory Device," uses the maple seed as its inspiration. Solar energy, wind and gravity are used as sources of mobility.

Finally, the Suba-Roo by Subaru's global design team in Japan, is a wearable "mobility device" that mimics the jumping motions of a kangaroo. It was "created to challenge the man-vehicle relationship in a revolutionary way," the company said.

Edmunds says: We're rooting for the Mazda Auto Adapt, which seems to steer right toward the pain.

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