At the Los Angeles Auto Show, which is ongoing through December 9, the winner of the yearly Design Challenge was recently announced. We’d already highlighted one entry from Mercedes-Benz that’s a very futuristic looking SUV powered by hydrogen fuel cells. That didn’t win, however, instead being beat out by Subaru’s entry entitled SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept).
The Design Challenge, which focused on what cleaner driving law enforcement might be like in 13 years, had entries from Mercedes, Subaru, BMW, General Motors and Honda. Each of these entries, said the LA Auto Show organizers, featured “cutting-edge vehicle designs with drone technology, land and air capabilities, electric vehicle systems and renewable resource-fueled vehicles equipped with topographical scanners.”
Subaru’s winning SHARC entry was described by judges as “an affordable and environmentally conscious highway patrol vehicle that meets Hawaii’s strict UltraGreen carbon-neutral environmental regulations. With visible trends in reduced highway patrol budgets worldwide, SHARC vehicles are powered by renewable energy and operate autonomously, eliminating the need for a large full-time highway patrol staff.”
The design idea has a number of innovative technological concepts envisioned into it. One is the Arm Gear control and monitoring device, which is a futuristic heads up display unit that monitors the SHARC’s condition in real time, as well as offering officers information related to law enforcement duties. Some of this same information can also be viewed via special 3D goggles officers would wear, which tie into the SHARC systems to share data visible behind the inner lens of the google.
Technical aspects of the SHARC concept include a dual-mode traction system, electric motors in each wheel and, perhaps most interesting of all, an inflatable body skin made from non-woven Kevlar composite fabric that is flexible. This skin would be bullet proof and capable of being deflated for easier storage.