Auto Manufacturers Compete in Design Challenge at L.A. Auto Show  

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It's no mistake that the Los Angeles Auto Show has developed a reputation of being focused on automotive design over the past several years. The L.A. region has long been considered a hub of emerging American creativity and consumer trends. Therefore, it's no wonder that the area, a 120-mile radius to be precise, contains the highest concentration of auto manufacturer design studios in the world with 15 from Europe, Asia and North America. Los Angeles is also home to the Art Center College of Design, one of the world’s foremost transportation design institutions where many of today’s leading automotive designers began their careers.

Running four years, the L.A. Auto Show in conjunction with the Design Los Angeles automobile designers' conference presents the Design Challenge competition where a panel of 6 prominent judges announce a winner. Based on this year's theme, ROBOCAR 2057, eight auto manufacturer design studios without the worry of legislative or production restrictions have "entered two dimensional renderings and concept descriptions predicting how the rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence will integrate into the automobile to make life safer, more convenient and more attractive to consumers 50 years from now."

Jump to the following pages to view all eight Design Challenge entries with summaries. Stay tuned as we will be covering the L.A. Auto Show live on November 14 and 15.

Detailed content

About Design Los Angeles

The Design Challenge is part of the Design Los Angeles automobile designers’ conference that has evolved into an integral element of the Los Angeles Auto Show. Entering its fourth year, Design Los Angeles provides designers with leading design speakers and the opportunity to address common issues. More than 500 designers attended last year’s event.

The Los Angeles region, long hailed as a leader of creativity and consumer trends, is home to the world’s largest concentration of manufacturer design studios, representing automakers from North America, Europe and Asia. It is also the home of Art Center College of Design, one of the world’s foremost transportation design institutions where many of today’s leading automotive designers began their careers.

Design Los Angeles is unique in that automobile designers are playing an integral role in its ongoing development. Six prominent designers are on the advisory board to identify issues that are of interest to designers.

CONFERENCE DIRECTORS – The Design Academy, Inc.

Chuck Pelly

A 40-year veteran of the design industry, Pelly most recently started The Design Academy, Inc., a design and creative group that consults on projects for BMW Group, Nokia and Magna International, among others. Through lectures, articles and appearances, Pelly continues to contribute to the design profession. He has received more than 50 awards, including the Eyes on Design Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been involved with Art Center College of Design since 1968 as student, teacher, mentor and lecturer. Pelly has received the Art Center’s George Jergenson Design Achievement Award for his significant contributions.

Joan Gregor

As co-founder of The Design Academy, Inc., Joan Gregor works to bridge the gap between the design worlds of industry, academia and research. Gregor’s experience in design, corporate, entrepreneurial and nonprofit environments has provided her with a perspective on developing strategic design initiatives. She has also developed a variety of new product concepts, taking them from design all the way to the retail market.


Chris Chapman – Director of Automotive Design, BMW Group DesignworksUSA Chapman counts among his many concept and production design projects the X5, X-coupe concept and the CS1. Before joining BMW, Chapman spent four years with Isuzu Technical Center of America, where he designed the exterior of the gull-winged XU-1 concept vehicle. He graduated from Art Center College of Design.

Kevin Hunter – Vice President, CALTY Design Research Kevin Hunter oversees Calty Design Research, which is a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation and part of a global design network for Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicles. Hunter’s handiwork can be found in the exterior designs of Toyota’s Tacoma, Avalon and RAV-4. He was also the chief designer of the Matrix, as well as the 2001 RSC Show Car Concept. Hunter graduated from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

Derek Jenkins – Chief Designer, Volkswagen/Audi Design Center California Derek Jenkins became Volkswagen’s North American design chief in 2000. He spent the earlier part of his career in Germany, immersed in the disciplined design environment at Audi. Jenkins’ work includes the Audi A2 and the current-generation A8 production cars. He also designed and directed the development of the Volkswagen Microbus, Concept T show car and the GX-3 that had its world debut at the last January’s LA Auto Show. Jenkins graduated from Art Center College of Design.

David Marek – Chief Designer and Senior Manager, Honda Research & Development Dave Marek heads the Automotive Styling Group at Honda Research & Development and has been with Honda since 1987. He has served as project leader for such programs as the 1994 Accord Wagon and the 1997 Acura CL. A graduate with honors from the Art Center College of Design, Marek has been an instructor at the college since 1989 and has been instrumental in bringing numerous sponsored projects to the Transportation Department.

Joel Piaskowski – Hyundai Chief Designer, Hyundai Kia America Design Center Joel Piaskowski is the chief designer responsible for the Hyundai design team. Piaskowski received an early education in the world of automotive design, drawing cars with his father, a designer at DaimlerChrysler. Piaskowski graduated from the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and worked at the General Motors Design Center for more than 12 years before joining Hyundai. The Hyundai HCD-8 Sports Concept is one example of the numerous design projects that have received his design direction.

Frank Saucedo – Design Director, General Motors West Coast Advanced Design Studio Frank Saucedo, design director of GM’s studio, has a long list of design credits that include international experience at General Motors’ Russelsheim studio, where he worked on Opel products, including the Corsa, Tigra, Astra and Omega. Saucedo was formerly the chief designer at Volkswagen’s California design studio, as well as chief designer at General Motor’s Advanced Concepts Center in Newbury Park, Calif. While at ACC, Saucedo contributed concepts for the current Corvette and the CK-series pickup. Saucedo graduated from Art Center College of Design.

Design Studio Backgrounder

Creative Climate Conducive for 15 Automobile Manufacturer Design Studios

From the sand and shopping to the latest music and movie stars, Los Angeles is known as the leader with a diverse cultural playground. In the eyes of the automotive world, Los Angeles is also seen as one of the global leaders in automobile design.

The Los Angeles area is home to 15 automobile manufacturers’ design studios — all situated within a 120-mile radius. In 1972, Calty (California Toyota) was the first automaker to formally open a design studio in the area. Others soon followed, inspired by the stimulating environment which both motivates untraditional thinking and enables the studios to serve as cultural outposts to monitor developing trends.

What distinguishes Los Angeles?

  • The region’s cultural diversity and its passion for cars. Latino and Asian cultures play a decidedly increasing role in the composition of Los Angeles.

  • Warm, temperate climate allows consumers to enjoy their automobiles year-round. The geography of Los Angeles also provides a wide range of terrain, from soaring mountains to sandy beaches.

  • There is a tradition and culture of expressive freedom. Angelenos are quick to incorporate fresh ideas and activities into their lifestyles and an entrepreneurial spirit permeates the region.

  • Integrating film, television, and music, Los Angeles serves as the intersection of the entertainment world. The character of the city reflects the trendsetting nature of the industries and its role in popularizing the most current images worldwide.

  • Customization has become an expression of Los Angeles’ culture and desire for individualism. There are more aftermarket businesses located in the region than anywhere else in the world.

  • The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena is recognized as one of the world’s leading design schools. Many of the world’s leading automobile designers have trained at/or graduated from The Art Center.

Perhaps no other city is associated with and as dependent upon the car as is Los Angeles. The automobile allows the freedom with the ability to decentralize. With Los Angeles being the home to some of the country’s first freeway systems, fast-food chains and drive-through banking, LA continues to play significant roles as a trendsetter. Even as the region continues to develop, it develops first around the automotive culture.

Los Angeles has the ideal culture and climate to serve as an epicenter of creative automobile design and has clearly caught the attentions of leading automobile designers.

Southern California-based Automobile Design Studios

Studio – Opened – Location

Advanced Design Studio – Honda R&D – 2006 – Pasadena

BMW Group DesignworksUSA – 1972 – Newbury Park

California Advanced Product Creation – 1984 – Irvine

Calty Design Research – 1972 – Newport Beach

DaimlerChrysler’s Pacifica Design Center – 1983 – Carlsbad

General Motors West Coast Advanced Design Studio – 2000 – North Hollywood

Honda Research & Development – 1985 – Torrance

Hyundai Kia America Design Center – 2003 – Irvine

Isuzu Motors America Design Studio – 1984 – Cerritos

Mazda Research & Development of North America -1988 -Irvine

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America – 1990 – Irvine

Mitsubishi Motors Research & Development – 1984 – Cypress

Nissan Design America – 1979 – La Jolla

Volkswagen/Audi Design Center California – 1991 – Santa Monica

Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center – 1986 – Camarillo

It’s the year 2057 and Audi continues to revolutionize through technology, offering a hydrogen-powered vehicle that combines artificial intelligence with avenues of self expression.

This single-seat, autonomous driving machine functions as a solid unit at its core, while providing a myriad of possible holographic exteriors stored in a library and accessible through the vehicle’s interactive holographic interface.

Virtuea’s holographic exterior provides a variety of possibilities, allowing the driver to select from the most innovative designs from one minute to the next. The vehicles image can now be proudly displayed without environmental impact as no physical materials are needed regardless of size.

Audi takes pride in introducing personal transportation that combines passion with intelligence, which not only positively affects the environment but your life as well.

Volkswagen/Audi Design Center California -
Design Team:

  • Heather Shaw
  • Jae Min
  • Mattijs Van Tuijl
  • Karl Strahlendorf
  • Christian Schoen

Much like the self-regulating traffic system found in nature’s best commuter, the ant, OnStar enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communication and ubiquitously embedded intelligence allow GM’s ANT to act independently yet communicate with other vehicles to optimize traffic flow. Quantum computing power also allows each ANT to virtually recreate a highly personalized space for any occasion or personal need.

Omni-directional propulsion, provided by three independent Nanorb wheel systems, operate as independent robots and can arrange themselves in different configurations, turning virtually anything into a mobile device. Layered, environmentally friendly, single-walled, carbon-polymer nanocomposites form the flat surface panels, which incorporate the carbon nanotube battery.

All body panels are connected with electro-active polymer actuators (a.k.a. artificial muscles), allowing the easy and silent reconfiguration of body panels, depending on their optimal street use.

General Motors Advanced Design, California

Design Team: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

  • Frank Saucedo
  • Steve Anderson
  • Jussi Timonen
  • Jose Paris
  • Lorne Kulesus
  • Tony Liu
  • Jay Bernard
  • Phil Tanioka

The solar-hybrid powered Honda 14 is an energy efficient, fully robotic commuting solution. A suburban community re-population movement in the 2050’s has increased consumer demand for a truly flexible commuter vehicle.

The solar-hybrid Honda 14 solves the carpooling dilemma because it allows carpoolers to take advantage of HOV lanes, share commuting costs and once near the passengers’ final destinations, robotically transforms from one to four separate and unique modes of transportation.

Through a combination of gyros, artificial intelligence and molecular engineering, each individual vehicle instinctively reconfigures as a fully functional vehicle. When traveling as one, the division points are undetectable. The latest advancements in molecular engineering allow the body panels to divide and reshape to form each individual vehicle.

Honda Research & Development
Design Team:

  • Ben Davidson
  • Khrystyne Zurian
  • Shae Shatz

The Motonari RX, named after legendary Japanese warrior Mori Motonari, non-invasively integrates the driver with the vehicle making each indistinguishable from the other. A driving suit serves as the primary interface between the occupant and the vehicle, which contains millions of microscopic actuators functioning as a haptic envelope. This allows the driver to experience the road psycho-somatically, receiving electrical stimulation to specific muscle groups.

The entire structure of the vehicle is comprised of a 100 percent re-prototypable, carbon nano-tube/shape memory alloy weave with a photovoltaic coating. This enables programmable tensiometry and fluid movement while insuring efficient energy transfer to the in-wheel electro-static nanomotors.

The four omni-wheels allow 360 degree movement. Acceleration and direction is determined by two armrest mounted control points. Occupant positioning controls the effectiveness of cornering and is comparable to street luge maneuvering in appearance.

Mazda R&D of North America

Designer: Matthew Cunningham

The Mercedes-Benz SilverFlow utilizes micro-metallic particles that can be arranged via magnetic fields in many different forms based on pre-selected models. The vehicle, which can be completely dissembled into a pool of ferromagnetic material for easy storage, can adapt and transform its shape to best suit its required purpose.

The magnetic assembler, activated by a simple key fob, creates whatever vehicle its user needs. All of the programmed modes for the SilverFlow are inspired by the Mercedes Benz Grand Prix cars from the golden era of motorsports with distinct low slung shape, tall thin wheels and dramatic open-wheel design.

Any damage can be self repaired and any color/configuration/size is possible depending on the amount of source material available.

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America

Design Team:

  • Gorden Wagener
  • John Gill
  • Kevin Kang

In the year 2057 robots have become an integral part of our lives blurring the line between humans and machines. The Nissan OneOne is the ultimate pet; a friendly, helpful member of the family of the future. OneOne (pronounced “won-won,” an endearing Japanese description of a barking dog) takes care of every aspect of the family’s busy lives from retrieving dry cleaning and groceries, to tending to the children. Guided by a real time GPS network, OneOne can take the children safely to school, soccer practice and back home in time for dinner.

OneOne takes mobility to a new level. Using synthetic muscles in its “legs,” it propels itself along by skating, much like you would on a pair of rollerblades. From performance car to city car, it lies down for speed or stands up for better visibility, allowing for more nimble navigation and easier parking.

OneOne fulfills every need from dutiful pet to spirited sports car in a design that makes it a welcomed member of the family.

Nissan Design America

Design Team:

  • Bruce Campbell
  • Doug Wilson
  • Robert Bauer
  • Bryan Thompson
  • Rie Arroba
  • Jeremy Malick
  • Laurie Tait
  • Matt Wilson
  • Soichi Maruyama

It is the year 2057 and due to limited ground space, vertical architectures have caused the transportation industry to create new pathways that also explore vertical space.

An innovative solution is discovered in biomimicry. Inspired by life found in nature, the vehicle is powered by pollution with dynamic driving instincts and structural adaptations to accommodate the user’s need for space.

This vehicle’s unique capability to extract pollutants in the air and utilize it as an energy source restores balance to our atmosphere. It is able to autonomously adapt to its driving environment by utilizing its four nano-laser wheels. Nanotechnology also enables the structure of the vehicle to expand and contract horizontally and vertically to serve as a compact commuter, an aerodynamic performance vehicle and temporary dwelling.

Calty Design Research

Design Team:

  • Edward Lee
  • Erwin Lui
  • Yo Hiruta
  • Kevin Hunter

In the year 2057, population centers have become unimaginably dense and the roadways have reached the point of total saturation. Volkswagen’s solution is an advanced autonomous vehicle that dynamically adapts to minimize its footprint in the city and its drag coefficient on the highways.

When in the city, these two-wheeled, teardrop shaped pods travel in an upright orientation that occupies one fifth the size of a traditional vehicle. When on a special freeway lane called the “Slipstream,” it tilts to a horizontal orientation optimizing its aerodynamic shape. Rear fins slide out to allow the rear of the vehicle to float like the tail section of an airplane to achieve speeds in excess of 250 mph.

The skin of the vehicle is made of hyper-efficient solar panels that power the vehicle.

Volkswagen/Audi Design Center California

Design Team:

  • Ian Hilton
  • Derek Jenkins
  • Patrick Faulwetter

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1 评论: to “ Auto Manufacturers Compete in Design Challenge at L.A. Auto Show

  • 14/10/07 19:02  

    what an amazing sight! those cars look so good I wish I could eat 'em! haha! nice pics of cars!