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2012 LA Auto Show Design Challenge asks automakers for futuristic highway patrol vehicle

Kyle Thibaut
For the past nine years, organizers of the Los Angeles Auto Show have chosen a Design Challenge theme, ranging from futuristic race cars to ultra-lightweight concepts. The Design Challenge is a contest for any automaker's studio to show off their design prowess with forward-thinking insights into the future of transportation. This year's theme is 'Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025' and the results are both intriguing and a bit scary.

"The vehicle should empower highway patrol officers to meet new demands and effectively both 'protect and serve' the public while considering not just enforcement needs but emission concerns, population growth and transportation infrastructure, among other trends," according to the LA Auto Show's website. The submissions will be judged based on design, creativity and environmental considerations.

Design studios from BMW, GM, Honda, Mercedes, and Subaru have all entered submissions, with the winner to be announced November 29 during an event at the 2012 LA Auto Show.

Check out the gallery below for the design entrants:

  • BMW Group DesignworksUSA

    BMW’s entrant comes from LA-based BMW Group DesignworksUSA. The team chose Los Angeles as their futuristic setting. Their E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle) design was developed based on BMW's prediction of more traffic and faster vehicles in LA's future. Given that the designs are also judged on environmental factors, it goes without saying that many of the vehicles get their power from alternative fuel sources, including BMW's E-Patrol.

    The design’s main focus is drone technology. The primary vehicle can deploy three drones for pursuit under heavy traffic conditions. The officer has the option of sending out either a flying or single-wheeled drone to chase suspects and keep tabs on them (much like the police vehicles in 2002's Minority Report).

  • Image Credit: BMW
  • General Motors Advanced Design California

    GM developed the Volt Squad, a three vehicle fleet designed around the principles "observe, pursue, and engage." Each concept has an explicit role for each situation. As expected, an electric Voltec powertrain is at the core of each vehicle.

  • Image Credit: GM
  • Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Advanced Design Studio

    Honda Advanced Design, based in California, created the CHP Drone Squad. Designed to work in a harsh environment predicted for the California highway system in 2025, the Drone Squad is comprised of a 2 vehicle system. The two vehicles operate both manned and un-manned. The mission control vehicle deploys Moto-Drones similar to BMW’s design. Moto-Drones are un-manned motorcycles that can operate in multiple types of response or rescue missions.

  • Image Credit: HONDA
  • Honda R&D Company, Ltd., Advanced Design Studio

    Honda R&D Japan has entered what they call CHiPs 2025 Traffic Crawler. The Traffic Crawler offers sporty mobility to get around congestion, but with the toughness to respond to more severe traffic situations.

    Honda Japan forsees many traffic changes in 2025. In addition to predictable traffic problems, vehicles becoming more fuel efficient will lead to more traffic in the region, free of environmental impact.

  • Image Credit: HONDA
  • Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America

    The consensus is that by 2025, officers will face even more crowded roads with electronically monitored and controlled traffic. A much larger population and changes in human behavior are thought to be the cause. The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force is an environmentally-friendly, off-road capable SUV, helping police get to where they need to be, wherever that is.

    Could the Ener-G-Force indicate what a futuristic G-Class might look like? Only time will tell.

  • Image Credit: MERCEDES
  • Subaru Research and Development, Inc.

    Subaru’s entrant takes on entirely different terrain. With the grand opening of Hawaii’s new speculated inter-island Paradise Highway in 2025, Subaru thinks their SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept) could tackle demands of the future highway. SHARC will be used for 24-hour highway monitoring and rapid emergency response.

    In addition to fuel sustainability, the SHARCs will also be human-sustainable by operating autonomously.

  • Image Credit: SUBARU


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 175 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      ron 4 star. Dodge never made a cruiser that held up . My 1st cruiser was a 74 Dodge Monaco, and you could'nt stop it. The 80 Dodge St R4egis was worse. Fast but no brakes and the engines sucked. I doubt if the new ones measure up. The crown vic was hands down the finest cruiser ever produced. Hounddog 1113 MSP ret.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Police spend way too much time on speed enforcement. Get the cars into the school zones and the cops out of the cars. Talk to the kids, prevent some crime, make the schools and neighborhoods safer. Cops write speeding tickets because the supervisors assign them to speed enforcement. Why? Revenue! Let the police do police work instead of being assigned as revenue agents.
      mr.orn
      • 2 Years Ago
      WOW !
      Don
      • 2 Years Ago
      You gotta be kidding me! If Obama stays in for four more years there won't be enough money in the auto industry to build a horse drawn spring wagon. Forget about all this high tech crap. Bicycles will be the modern mode for the police.
      ronlewis7
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can you imagine that thing transforming and give you a Rodney King beat down??? Or ED 209??? Citizen: “But officer, I dropped my weapon....!!” New CopCar: “You now have 3 seconds to comply!!!!"
      janescriv
      • 2 Years Ago
      'Futuristic' designs rarely seem to become actual things of the present. Fun to look at tho'. I have one suggestion: as we know sea levels are rising, and more storms and floods are to be expected, I would think police would want a vehicle which can perform in fairly high water - and then, have the capability to float and be driven even in debris filled water. Now that would be useful. The use of drones is inescapable - but they'd better be good. Can you imagine the lawsuits when one of those things crashes into someone's yard and kills something?
      pmac
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow...what a bunch of rubbish designs. With the possible exception of the off road one there isn't a single practical car there. Police vehicles need to be able to contain people...officers, arrestees, victims etc. Can the driver of the Honda see the road, or is he watching his drone? Nonsense.
      wongtpa
      • 2 Years Ago
      It will probably be buile t in Chins. 80% of the new Camaro is built in China! I thought Obama saved jobs. Fooled by the liberal media again!
      catwomencjk
      • 2 Years Ago
      MIKE
      Owen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hooray for the police, I guess all the bums and criminals on this site, are quaking in their boots
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Owen
        get a life. half you idiots would (are should i say couldnt) do the job these men and women do. just be thankful there watching your back!!
      straight2spam
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not with this crappy economy.maybe the lame ducks in Washington maybe crussing on the 2025 cars.
      a21heating
      • 2 Years Ago
      they need to wake up and tone down the lights. Those million candel power strobe lights are a hazard instead of a safety feature. Even worse they stop cars in the middle of the road anymore, what happened to proced to the nearest safe spot to pull over?
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