Past LA Design Challenge winners and design themes

Honda CARpet

A morphing interior so dynamic that it feels alive! The way we use the interior will change when vehicles have become fully autonomous and accidents a thing of the past. This is an interior with a human focus, free from traditional interfaces. The interior consist of two main elements, a carpet and a ball.
The carpet is a highly flexible platform created as a seamless and uninterrupted space with freedom to change the shape just as you like. Whether you are alone or traveling with friends the users can play with the interior and make intuitive and natural forms fitting relaxed or immersed rides.
Users can interact their autonomous journey with the Honda ball and bring back the joy of exploration. In its closed shape it provides a calm interface that responds to vocal, touch and gesture commands for human and vehicle communications. In active mode the driver can use the ball to control the car in a synergy similar to riding a horse. The driver gives input that the car interprets to find the best way. Driver focus is measured and synched with the cars autonomous drive. High focus gives greater control and lifts the vehicle performance above normal capacity, acting as an incentive for those who love driving. The shift between interacted and fully autonomous drive is seamless. Simply enjoy the ride!
Together the ball and carpet form an interior that is playful, harmonious, alive and highly adaptive. Our bodies were not meant to sit still!

  • The carpet project became a success because we looked to create a bright future focused on the user needs and not on the technology of how to get there.

    It was important to create an enviroment where the users would feel welcome.
    A place where you want to spend time, a place that excites you!

  • Incredible team work and efficiency in such a short timing. Great experience!

  • “Moving room” was the idea that sparked the whole project! From this simple concept we started to spread tones of sketches, post-it, stories and thanks to a great team I am very proud of what we came up with and our success.

  • Good team, precise work, excellent result.

Honda’s Japanese Advanced Design studio has won the 2014 LA Design Challenge competition. The Tokyo-based studio came out on top against four other design studios to win the award for the intuitive CARpet concept, which, after much deliberation, the judges felt best answered this year’s brief: “Sensing the Future: How Will Cars Interact with Us in 2029?”
“A lot of us in the design community love technology and new things,” said Design Challenge judge Stuart Reed, Art Center College of Design’s Chair of Transportation Design. “Our jury team felt that as we think about the promise of human-centered technology in the future, it’s probably way more submerged, in a quieter way.
“We used the example of how, in the future home, there probably won’t be big speakers for sound systems, we’ll just hear beautiful music,” Reed continued. “We think that technology is going to be very intuitive and beneath the surface, not apparent. The Honda CARpet concept was that. It had a crazy simplicity about it and we liked that.”
Reed cited that fellow competition judge Alexander Klatt pointed out the “highly flexible seating arrangements that take us back to an innocent time when we didn’t have all of the safety constraints of seat belts and airbags and people were enjoying the space inside the vehicle” as another factor that influenced the decision to bestow the ultimate award to the Honda CARpet concept.
“Designers go very wide with their thinking but at the end the judging criteria set by Chuck Pelly and Joan Gregor [Design LA Conference Directors] was very clear,” said Alexander Klatt, Chair of MFA Transportation Design & Associate Professor at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit.
The judging criteria consisted of human factors — comfort, attention to human sense — and the emotional connection to the machine (both of which accounted for 50 percent of the result) as well as the intuitiveness of the control interface, ecological sensitivity, the overall creativity of the concept and its ability to accurately reflect the brand.
The judges went through all of the concepts in the morning of the November 20th and came up with two shortlisted contenders based on the criteria above, but after seeing the team presentations in the afternoon they resumed deliberations.
“We learned so much more about the contenders after the presentation that we went back and started over,” said Klatt. “We looked over the criteria sheet and the matrix we had created. We comprehensively went through all of the considerations again. And, to be honest, every one of the entries came up as a winner at some point in our discussion. We all agreed that, as Chairs in design education, we had to stick to the criteria and leave our gut feeling out.”
“Overall it was our decision to go with the seamless approach of the CARpet project,” Klatt concluded. “It was the purity that we’ve been aiming for in interiors for a long time, the comfortable position in terms of human factors was that we could change the interior, we could create a lot of seating configurations and everyone in the vehicle could do something completely different.”
Although all five participating design studios presented thought-provoking concepts, it was Honda Tokyo that best met the judging criteria on how future technology will further transform human-to-machine interfaces that connect with senses, predict our next moves and create a more humanlike relationship with our vehicles.
“Honda Advanced Design Tokyo created a seamless, inclusive and integrated concept with CARpet that brings back the fun in family road trips,” said Tom Matano, Design Challenge judge and Executive Director of the Academy of Art University’s School of Industrial Design. “They successfully created a human-centric design solution which included the promise of technology and connectivity to make the experience for drivers enjoyable. It is truly intuitive and anticipating of what people want.”

Acura Human / Machine Interface Concept

2029: Technology and human beings have converged to allow a deeper level of interactivity between human and machine. Implants are common - they allow humans to connect with objects and modify them mentally and physically; they enable an enhanced experience when it comes to comfort and efficiency. This allows technology not only to cater to the needs of a passenger, but also to anticipate them. The future interior of the autonomous Acura car will be a sandbox for creativity and usability, giving our vehicles a greater role in passengers’ everyday lives. Our concept is comprised of an exterior and interior shell, connected through a modular adjustable mesh that can flex and shape to custom-fit a passenger’s needs. The interior is also constructed out of a fabric-like material that can be changed by simply pushing or pulling on surfaces that can accommodate one or two passengers. With the help of biometrics and after repeated use, the vehicle will learn the preferences of each user and anticipate their needs by changing its shape.

from right to left
Dave Marek, Director
Johnathan Norman, Advisor
Lili Melikian, Design Lead
James Robbins , Designer
Lisa Lee, Design Lead
John Frye, Advisor
Michelle Christensen, Advisor ( not in the photo )

1st - 2005 ‘Ultimate LA Machine’
Winner : the Dodge Superbee and Volkswagen Mobile Lounge (joint-winners)

2nd - 2006 ‘An LA Adventure’
Winner : the GM Advanced Design team

3rd - Oct/ 2006
a 100 percent recyclable, five-year lifespan vehicle with ‘accoutrements that add fun or function to represent California's unique green lifestyle.’

Winner : Hummer

4th - 2007 ‘RoboCar of 2057’
Winner : Volkswagen

5th - 2008 ‘Motorsports in 2025’
Winner : Mazda

6th - 2009 the ultimate ‘youthmobile’ for the year 2030
Winner : Nissan(NDA)

7th - 2010 a 1000lb (454kg) 2+2 vehicle that is both comfortable and secure while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the emotional connection and beautiful styling today's consumers demand.
(For the first time, design studios from outside the US - from both Germany and Japan - will compete for the prize.
General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz Germany (Smart), Mercedes-Benz Japan (Maybach), Mercedes-Benz US, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo)

Winner : The GM Advanced Design team and Smart

8th - 2011 sub-1000lb vehicles through to ‘Motorsport 2025’
Winner : Smart

9th - 2012 ‘Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025’
Winner : Subaru SHARC

10th - 2013 ‘Biomimicry & Mobility 2025: Nature's Answer to Human Challenges’
Winner : SAIC

11th - 2014 ‘Sensing the Future: How Will Cars Interact With Us In 2029?’
Winner : Honda's advanced studio in Japan

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