What will the gadget-obsessed youth of tomorrow want in a vehicle? The design studios at Audi, GM, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota set out to find the answer for the YouthMobile 2030 Design Challenge, which challenged Southern California-based auto designers to come up with cars that teenagers of the future will covet. The winner will be announced on December 3 at the L.A. Auto Show. Check out some of the wild ideas below.
Audi eOra and eSpira
These vehicles use some sort of "next-generation vehicle control logic" to sync the body movements and gestures of the driver with the car's movement. In other words, the driver's body is a like a human joystick.
The Car Hero
GM's entry into the competition is both a vehicle and a game, challenging drivers to outdrive the car's autonomous system. If the driver succeeds in proving their skills, a new level of outrageous driving scenarios is unlocked. It's an interesting concept, but it sounds like a way to ensure that teenage drivers get in even more accidents.
Honda's concept incorporates human DNA with adaptive polymers that can supposedly shift shape, color, and material properties based on the owner's needs and wants. Over time, the vehicle forms a creepy-sounding "singular bond between both human and machine DNA".
This electric vehicle is based on a virtual reality Web site, dubbed VMazda, that allows users to design their own vehicles at no cost. The vehicle is manufactured at a custom manufacturing plant and sold to the user for $2,000. After that, a monthly bill takes care of electricity costs. This is perhaps the most realistic design of the lot, though getting an EV down to a base cost of $2,000 is a bit of a stretch, to say the least.
Nissan wistfully imagines that the V2G will be the best-selling EV of all time thanks to its affordable range of cell phone-like access plans. In Nissan's vision, solar skins cover all major urban structures and provide power directly to the grid, allowing for cheap and easy access to EV juice.
The Link is a customizable mass transit vehicle—imagine your own personalized autonomous taxi cab and you get the basic idea. Students meet at transportation hubs to pick up their link and communicate with other drivers on a "transportation social network". Instead of using wheels, the Link drives on spheres that are made out of a mystery electroconductive material that converts friction into energy and recharges the vehicle's batteries.