Twelve auto design studios are competing for the prize, including BMW, Changfeng, Hyundai, JAC Motors, Mazda, Mercedes, Nissan, Qoros, SAIC Motor, Subaru and Toyota. All entries are concepts for mobility solutions and systems inspired by natural creatures, structures and occurrences.
BMW entered two concepts into the competition. The first concept, ‘LA Subways’ (pictured above), is a mobility solution for reducing traffic congestion in Los Angeles. The German marque explains the futuristic-looking boat concept uses “forgotten waterways as a commuting alternative”.
Its second entry, called ‘S.E.E.D’ (Sustainable Efficient Exploratory Device) (pictured below), is inspired by the maple seed, and is designed to explore inhospitable environments for signs of life. Fulfilling the ‘biomimicry’ theme, S.E.E.D is powered by wind, solar energy and gravity.
JAC Motors’ concept, ‘HEIFI’ (Harmonious Eco-Friendly Efficient Infrastructure), is intended to be a mobility system inspired by nature’s self-sufficiency. All vehicles are powered by a grid system, and idle vehicles on the grid power running vehicles. JAC suggests that if all vehicles are on the same grid, autonomous driving would be easier to introduce, reducing accidents, traffic jams and energy waste.
Mazda’s proposal (pictured top and below) is less esoteric than others, and is designed to make autonomous vehicles more attractive to keen drivers. Called ‘Auto Adapt’, the concept takes inspiration from nature’s adaptability, allowing vehicles to be operated either manually or autonomously.
In a nod to its Australian fanbase, Subaru’s proposal is inspired by none other than the kangaroo. Described as a one-legged, wearable mobility vehicle, the ‘Suba-Roo’ concept mimics the “efficient yet powerful jumping motions of the kangaroo”. Conceived as a go-anywhere vehicle, and combined with Subaru’s existing ‘EyeSight’ safety system, Subaru says the concept changes the human-vehicle relationship in a “revolutionary way”.
Entries are judged on various factors, including their creative adaptation of nature; their application of human intelligence to biomimicry for improving vehicle efficiency; comfort, convenience and aesthetics of the vehicle; and the personality of the vehicle in relation to the brand.
The concepts will be on display at the LA motor show from November 22 to December 1. The winner will be announced on the eve of the show, November 21.