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Subaru SHARC wins LA Design Challenge [w/video]

Fri, 07 Dec 2012

Subaru's SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept) has been named the winner of the 2012 LA Design Challenge.

The judges chose the futuristic drone as the best embodiment of the 'Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025' with the judges declaring that the studio captured "the vision of Design Challenge theme by combining functionality and problem-solving technology around a dynamic and plausible story" from a choice of designs from six other automotive design studios.

Studios from BMW DesignWorksUSA, General Motors, Honda North America, Honda Japan, Mercedes-Benz submitted concepts that would create a highway patrol vehicle for 2025 that tackled the ‘protect and serve' aspect while considering emissions, population growth and transportation infrastructure.

With the opening of Hawaii's hypothetical inter-island Paradise Highway, Subaru presented the SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept) that provides an innovative, affordable, and environmentally conscious solution for 24-hour highway monitoring, protection, and rapid emergency response. 

David Cohen, Lead Designer in Subaru's Tokyo Design studio and project leader says, "The Subaru SHARC concept and design was a global effort with contributions made from our design studios in America, Germany, and Japan.

"This year`s LA Design Challenge was a great opportunity for Subaru to showcase its core safety technologies, Symmetrical AWD and Eyesight and enhance them for use in a forward thinking highway patrol application," says Cohen.

He also cites budget restrictions and officer safety as core values considered during the development process.

"The highly automated SHARC vehicles eliminate the need for a large full-time highway patrol staff," he explains, "which in-turn greatly reduces the number of officers put in harms way when patrolling high speed roads"

Meeting Hawaii's strict UltraGreen carbon-neutral environmental regulations and reflecting a trend for reduced highway patrol budgets worldwide, zero-emission SHARC vehicles are powered by renewable energy and operate autonomously, eliminating the need for a large full-time highway patrol staff.

The winning design was announced during the press days of the Los Angeles auto show last week.

The entries were judged by Tom Matano, Executive Director, School of Industrial Design at San Francisco's Academy of Art University; Imre Molnar, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Detroit's College for Creative Studies; and Stewart Reed, Chair of Transportation Design at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design.

Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for an in-depth feature on Subaru's winning design.

Vehicle Title SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept)
Design Team
David Cohen - Project Leader
Matt Wherry - Vehicle Design
David Cohen - Vehicle Design
Masashi Kaneda - Character Design
Digital Modeling
Teru Kobayashi
Takamitsu Watanabe
Hang Hui Yao

By Rufus Thompson