Connectivity and in-car technology are becoming increasingly paramount in new car design. But with the advent of autonomous driving technologies, the future also has us contemplating an even greater level of discourse with the car.
This is reflected in this year’s LA Design Challenge brief, which called for designers from 10 global design studios to answer the question: “How Will Cars Interact With Us in 2029?”
The entries will be judged on various factors including comfort, attention to human sense and emotional connection, ecological sensitivity, creativity of concept, control and function of concept and reflection of the brand.
Below are five of the entries that will be competing in this year’s 11th annual Design Challenge.
Acura Human Machine Interface Concept
Honda R&D Americas (USA)
Designed a human-to-machine interface concept for Acura that is comprised of an exterior and interior shell, connected through a modular adjustable mesh material that can flex to custom fit a passenger’s preferences. Able to accommodate one or two passengers, the interior is constructed out of a fabric-like material that can be altered simply by pushing or pulling on the surface. With the help of biometrics and repeated use, the vehicle will be able to learn the user’s preferences, anticipate their needs and have the ability to change its shape.
Lili Melikian, Design Lead; Lisa Lee, Design Lead; James Robbins, Designer; Johnathan Norman, Advisor; John Frye, Advisor; Michelle Christensen, Advisor; Dave Marek, Director
Infiniti SYPNATIQ concept
Infiniti Design San Diego (USA)
The SYPNATIQ concept is a new universal fuselage pod that can transform into three vehicle types. This vehicle will be used for the brand’s unique triathlon competition, the A.R.C. race (Air, Rally, Circuit). The first stretch of the A.R.C. race is a Formula 1 grand prix course from LA to Las Vegas. The second portion is a desert race, which requires driving an off-road buggy to the Grand Canyon. The final leg of the race is a radical gymkhana-style jet race through virtual pylons back to Los Angeles. The A.R.C. triathlon race will also be the debut of Infiniti’s new futuristic HMI called SYNAPTIQ, a system that will make the driver and machine become one by connecting the SYNAPTIQ S.U.I.T. (Symbiotic User Interface Technology) through spinal lock attachment. It will enhance the driver’s passion and performance for racing as well as influence the design of a vehicle that will provoke imagination.
Taro Ueda, Vice President; Shinichiro Irie, Design Director; John Anthony Sahs, Interior Design Manager; Randy Rodriguez, Project Lead Designer; Jackie Chang, Senior Interior Designer; Dan Jimenez, Exterior Designer; Sam Lim, Exterior Designer; Simon Tien, GUI Designer; Daniel Mai, GUI Designer; Ann Ngo, Senior Researcher; Ray Devers, Senior Designer; Don Sondys, Specialist Senior Visualization; Matt Wilson, Senior Digital Designer; Jon Wen, Design Intern; Sam Kenny, Design Intern; Omead Dorandish, Design Intern
Honda CARpet concept
Honda Advanced Design Studio (Japan)
Honda’s Advanced Design studio in Tokyo created the CARpet, a human-focused interior consisting of two elements, a carpet and a ball. The carpet is a highly flexible platform used to create a seamless and uninterrupted space with the freedom to change its shape to accommodate each user. Whether alone or traveling with friends, users can manipulate the car’s interior and make intuitive and natural forms for their ride. The second element, the Honda ball, allows drivers to interact during their autonomous journey. Within its closed shape, the Honda ball provides users a calm interface that responds to voice, touch and gesture commands for human-to-vehicle communication. In “active mode,” the driver can use the ball to control the car; the synergy between car and machine emulates that between a rider and their horse. Via the Honda ball, the car interprets driver commands to determine its optimum move.
Jonas Sandstrom, Design Lead; Seokmin Kim, Design; Dmytro Zyubyairov, Design; Rafik Ferrag, Design; Jun Goto, Advisor; Motoaki Minowa, Director