Posted Nov 21st 2012 10:44AM
This year's theme for the LA Design Challenge was announced back in September and focuses on creating a "Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025," and with the Jon and Ponch long into retirement, we get our first glimpse of what a CHiPs of the future might look like. BMW, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru have all accepted the challenge, and each has released an entrant for the annual design competition with the winner being announced on November 29 during the LA Auto Show.
Entrants range from unmanned drones to vehicles that we could actually picture on the roads in the near future. In this latter category is the Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force, which is designed around a future G-Class SUV, but even though all of these are just design studies, Mercedes-Benz has already taken its drawing to the next level by building a proposed civilian version of the concept that will be on display next week at the auto show.
As fans of cheesy '80s TV shows, Honda's Tokyo design team won us over with the Traffic Crawler, a hydrogen-powered three-wheeled motorcycle (that even wears the "7 Mary 3" call sign belonging to Officer Jon Baker from CHiPs), but you can check out all six of the entrants for yourself below, and then let us know which is your favorite in the poll.
|BMW E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle)||38 (24.5%)|
|General Motors Volt Squad||42 (27.1%)|
|Honda (California) CHP Drone Squad||15 (9.7%)|
|Honda (Tokyo) “CHiPs” 2025 Traffic Crawler||9 (5.8%)|
|Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force||37 (23.9%)|
|Subaru SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept)||14 (9.0%)|
BMW Group DesignworksUSA E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle)
The BMW Group DesignworksUSA team chose Los Angeles as the region to create a 2025 scenario for the E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle). Their research predicted that Los Angeles would have more traffic, faster vehicles, and vehicles with alternative fuel sources. The design centered on a modular structure and drone technology that enhanced both teamwork and accessibility. The main structure 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.
General Motors Volt Squad
General Motors has created a new electric vehicle system, the Volt Squad, to meet the challenge of a highway system now brimming with cutting edge technologies. The Volt Squad is a three vehicle fleet, designed around the concept of OBSERVE, PURSUE and ENGAGE. Each vehicle has a clearly defined situational role; delivering superior flexibility, presence and capability for the CHP. At the core of the vehicle's architecture is the VOLT advanced, electronic, propulsion system.
Honda CHP Drone Squad
Honda Advanced Design has created the CHP Drone Squad, a vehicle-based-system for 2025 designed to work efficiently and seamlessly in the harsh environment of California highways without the need for new infrastructure. The Drone Squad is comprised of a 2 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.
Honda "CHiPs" 2025 Traffic Crawler
Honda R&D Japan's "CHiPs" 2025 Traffic Crawler offers key features that the central office of the California Highway Patrol needs as they adjust to changes in the traffic environment in 2025 where, in addition to conventional traffic problems, vehicles freed from environmental constraints are getting bigger. 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. In response to the need for strict traffic enforcement, Honda designed a new patrol vehicle that offers sporty mobility with the toughness to respond in severe traffic situations.
By 2025, law enforcement officers will need to adapt to even more crowded roads with electronically monitored and controlled traffic, a much larger population, and changes in human behavior. As the most environmentally friendly SUV, the "Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force" meets these requirements and helps police and crews around the world. In terms of design, the Ener-G-Force is based on the G-Class; the off-road icon that has been in production since the 1970s, and continues to shape the future as a structurally and technologically advanced SUV.
Subaru SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept)
With the grand opening of Hawaii's sparkling new inter-island Paradise Highway, Subaru debuts the cutting-edge SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept). SHARC highway patrol vehicles will provide an innovative, affordable, and environmentally conscious solution for 24-hour highway monitoring, protection, and rapid emergency response. Meeting Hawaii's strict UltraGreen carbon-neutral environmental regulations and reflecting a trend for reduced highway patrol budgets worldwide, zero-emission SHARC vehicles are powered by renewable energy and operate autonomously, eliminating the need for a large full-time highway patrol staff.