This year’s iteration of the annual Design Challenge at the LA Auto Show asks the question: How will a new generation of drivers age 16-23, raised with cell phones, web cams and online communities, emotionally connect to the automobile in 2030? We don’t know the answer either, but at least six designers from some of the world’s top automakers decided to give it a go with their own ideas.
First up are the eSpira and eOra from Audi, which are controlled by thought and by the minutest adjustments to the pilot’s body. Next we have the General Motors Car Hero… yes, the name is borrowed from the popular Guitar Hero line of games and the car, as you might imagine, “turns driving into gaming.” What happens when the inevitable “Game Over” comes at the end? Moving along, we come to the Honda Helix, a shape-shifting vehicle that borrows actual DNA from its owner. Yuck, we don’t want to be a car, we want to drive a car.
Which brings us to the Mazda Souga, easily our favorite out of this crop of concepts. Mazda’s vision for the future would have each owner design his own car for the low price of $2,000 while paying an additional monthly usage fee that also covers the price of electricity to power the Souga.
Nissan’s vision for the future includes cars that get their power from an electrically-charged roadway called the GRID, and the vowel-challenged V2G UNLMTD is quickly hacked into an OFF-GRID transportation device by the next breed of young hackers. Lastly, we have the Toyota Link. According to Toyota, future college students will have nearly no income and will rely on mass transit vehicles like the Link that allow them to interact via their various social networks on their daily commutes. Sounds boring to us, but what do we know?