Every year, the Design Challenge–formulated by and for the LA Auto Show–asks the automotive industry’s most advanced design labs to speculate on possible futures as they pertain to the continuing evolution of the automobile. This year’s theme: highway patrol 2025. Entries from the likes of GM, Subaru, BMW, and Honda naturally show a lot of imagination, but more than that they show a degree of agreement between the industry’s brightest creatives that the future is going to be crowded, full of traffic jams, and above all very, very automated.
As in the defense sector, robotics potentially offer law enforcement agencies a force multiplier–something that allows fewer officers to be more productive at a lower cost–and this year’s Design Challenge entrants clearly understand that. Some of the proposals are pretty straightforward; Mercedes Benz offers up an advanced, fuel-efficient SUV for police forces trying to own the road with sheer size, while General Motors introduces the “Volt Squad,” a three-vehicle manned system based on the electric propulsion technology pioneered for the Chevy Volt. Thanks to Popular Science for this insight!