The LA Auto Show is the place to come for car designers as it hosts a creative competition – this year the challenge was to create the ultimate 2025 highway patrol vehicle.
Design studios from, BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru took on the challenge.
The criteria for a futuristic patrol car included the future needs for advanced technology; speed and agility on future freeway systems while meeting a specific region’s emission standards and environmental sensibility – including maintenance and recyclability
Laurenz Schaffer, president of BMW’s DesignworksUSA said:” We wanted to present a visionary impulse to the theme of highway patrol. The competition gives us the opportunity to do something a little different so our concept has no links to BMW´s future design strategy.
“We took the liberty to think out of the box. Although our design is independent from BMW design elements and known visual cues but looks at new product typologies and fresh ideas on shapes.”
The result is the ePatrol and the DesignworksUSA team began the challenge by selecting Los Angeles as the region to create a 2025 scenario.
Schaffer added: “Being aware that there will be more traffic, faster vehicles, and vehicles with alternative drive trains the design team explored how a patrol team functioned today and in the future and determined that teamwork and accessibility were the two key elements to a successful patrol effort.”
General Motors’ Advanced Design California created a new electric vehicle, the Volt Squad, a three vehicle fleet, designed around the concept of observe, pursue and engage.
Each vehicle has a clearly defined role and, as the name implies, uses the Chevrolet Volt as a base.
Honda’s advanced design studio in California created the CHP Drone Squad, a two vehicle system. The Auto-Drone operates as a manned or un-manned mission control vehicle which deploys Moto-Drones and can do so on the move. Moto-Drones are un-manned motorcycles capable of being rigged for multiple response or rescue missions.
The company’s Tokyo-based designers came up with the 2025 Traffic Crawler designed to operate at a time when we may see more automated driving and traffic control.
However, they think the Californian car nuts will still want to tear around the highways hence a need for strict traffic enforcement. Honda’s cop car offers sporty mobility with the toughness to respond in severe traffic situations.
Mercedes-Benz designers believe officers will need to adapt to even more crowded roads with electronically monitored and controlled traffic, a much larger population, and changes in human behaviour – whatever that may mean.
The Ener-G-Force they reckon will help police around the world and is based on the G-Class off-roader.
Subaru showed off the SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept) which the company said is innovative, affordable, and environmentally conscious, reflecting a trend for reduced highway patrol budgets worldwide.
The zero-emission SHARC vehicles are powered by renewable energy and operate autonomously, eliminating the need for a large full-time policeman.