Part of the festivities that encompass the LA Auto Show is the annual LA Design Challenge. This year's winner was the Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept, or SHARC. It envisioned automated, zero-emission highway patrolling.

The 2012 edition of the challenge was to envision the future of highway patrol in the year 2025. The goal was to conceptualize a vehicle that would account for the needs of "dynamic urban environments." In addition to Subaru's participation in the contest BMW, General Motors, Honda and Mercedes-Benz, all took part in the challenge.

The SHARC is essentially a law enforcement land-drone. It is entirely automated and runs on renewable energy. Subaru envisioned a future where the Hawaiian Islands are connected to each other by a large highway system. Such an expansive area would require considerable manpower to patrol. The concept of an autonomous patrol vehicle would eliminate the need for a good number of full-time personnel.

Given the proliferation of UAVs and the ongoing development of autonomous cars, this notion of an automated patrol vehicle could be a reality in years to come. For this vision of the future, Subaru was awarded as the 2012 LA Design Challenger winner. To read more about the contest, check out the press release below.
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Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept (SHARC) Named 2012 Design Challenge Winner At LA Auto Show

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 3, 2012 Subaru Global Design wins the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge competition after the presentation of its SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept) vehicle. As a futuristic model for 24-hour highway monitoring, the SHARC provides protection and rapid emergency response solutions for Hawaii's highway patrol.

This year's Design Challenge theme, Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025, called upon premier automotive design studios (http://laautoshow.com/DesignChallenge ) to create the ultimate 2025 law enforcement patrol vehicle that supports the needs of dynamic urban environments. Six automotive design studios from BMW, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru showcased entries featuring cutting-edge vehicle designs with drone technology, land and air capabilities, electric vehicle systems and renewable resource-fueled vehicles equipped with topographical scanners.

"All judges were impressed with the high level of innovation and technology from the finalists this year," said Chuck Pelly from Design LA. "The SHARC captured the vision of the Design Challenge theme by combining functionality and problem-solving technology around a dynamic and plausible story."

With global collaboration among its design studios, the creative minds at Subaru developed the cutting-edge SHARC as an affordable and environmentally conscious highway patrol vehicle that meets Hawaii's strict UltraGreen carbon-neutral environmental regulations. With visible trends in reduced highway patrol budgets worldwide, SHARC vehicles are powered by renewable energy and operate autonomously, eliminating the need for a large full-time highway patrol staff.

Entries were judged by multi-discipline design professionals who selected the winner based upon various factors including: consideration of future needs for advanced technology; speed and agility on future freeway systems; creativity of the solution; meeting the specific region's mandated emission standards; and environmental sensitivity for maintenance and recyclability.

Judges included Tom Matano, Executive Director, School of Industrial Design at San Francisco's Academy of Art University; Imre Molnar, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Detroit's College for Creative Studies; Steward Reed, Chair of Transportation Design at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and Bruce Meyer, founder of the Petersen Automotive Museum and benefactor to automobile world.

The Design Challenge( http://www.laautoshow.com/DesignChallenge ) is a highly anticipated competition where automotive design studios from around the world battle against each other to flex their creativity. Designers enjoy participating in the challenge because it is a strong venue to showcase their talents and further explore new ideas in automotive design( http://www.laautoshow.com/DesignChallenge ).

Participating design studios included:

-- BMW Group DesignworksUSA

-- General Motors Advanced Design California

-- Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Advanced Design Studio, California

-- Honda R&D Company, Ltd., Advanced Design Studio, Tokyo

-- Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc.: Advanced Design Center California

-- Subaru Global Design

The LA Auto Show Design Challenge is sponsored by Faurecia, the world's sixth-largest automotive supplier specializing in automotive seating, emissions control technologies, interior systems and auto exteriors, as well as Yokohama Tire, which works closely with auto manufacturers in the U.S., Europe and Japan to develop tires for the latest concept vehicles. Other sponsors that make Design Los Angeles possible include the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA), Lacks Enterprises, Inc., Dassault Systemes, and Bose.