The pace of change in society accelerates every year, with breakthrough technologies and rapidly developing countries constantly rewriting the rules in a global economy. How this translates into life on the road for the general public is open to interpretation, but for law enforcement, it is a mission-critical assignment. To better patrol our roads and effectively “protect and serve,” the future highway patrol vehicle will have to be designed with an entirely new set of considerations, including advanced powertrains, alternative fuels, telemetrics and new sizes to effectively navigate dynamic urban environments.
In this the ninth annual Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge asks a highly competitive field of major auto manufacturer design studios, from the U.S., Germany and Japan, to solve this puzzle and create the ultimate law enforcement Highway Patrol vehicle for the year 2025. So far, design studios from BMW, General Motors, Honda (both NA and Japan), Mercedes-Benz and Subaru have accepted the challenge to use their innovation and insight to explore creative solutions as they contend for this annual design honor.
BMW Group DesignworksUSA - 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 Advanced Design California - 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 R&D Americas, Inc., Advanced Design Studio, California - 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 R&D Company, Ltd., Advanced Design Studio, Tokyo - 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.
Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc.: Advanced Design Center California - 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 Research and Development, Inc. - 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.
Judging criteria was based upon various factors including: consideration of future needs for advanced technology, speed and agility on future freeway systems; creativity of the solution; meeting a specific region’s emission standards; and environmental sensitivity, including maintenance and recyclability.
Entries were judged by 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; and Stewart Reed, chair of Transportation Design at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design. This year’s guest judge, Bruce Meyer, is a board member of the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation, which provides emergency benefits to CHP employees and the members of their families in times of crisis. Mr. Meyer is perhaps better known as a high-profile collector, former racer and past chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum.