The judges of the 10th annual LA Auto Show Design Challenge named SAIC Motor the winner of the 2013 competition. SAIC Motor beat out eight world-renowned auto design studios for the honor with an innovative public transit solution aimed at alleviating urban problems such as air pollution and traffic congestion.
Inspired by an ant’s distinctive body structure and the mutually beneficial relationship between ants and trumpet trees, SAIC Motors designed Roewe “Mobiliant.” Mobiliant is a single-seat vehicle for urban public transit, which helps improve both transportation and operation efficiency for future urban ecological systems.
|SAIC’s Mobiliant. Click to enlarge.|
The judges unanimously agreed that it was Mobiliant’s focus on the concept of mutualism that set it apart. The system was based upon the balance and harmony found in nature when two organisms of different species exist in a mutually beneficial relationship. The judges also agreed that the Mobiliant concept was optimistic, beautiful and best answered the competition criteria by mimicking a truly sustainable solution that resembled an ancient system that has worked for millions of years.
Themed “Biomimicry & Mobility 2025 – Nature’s Answer to Human Challenges,” the competitors focused on mobility solutions for a variety of transportation issues, such as congestion, pollution, safety and sustainability.
Other auto design studios who participated in the LA Auto Show’s 2013 Design Challenge represented brands BMW, MINI, Changfeng, JAC Motors, Mazda, Qoros, Subaru and Toyota.
Entries were judged on various criteria: creative adaptation of nature’s laws (plants & animals); application of human intelligence to Biomimicry in unique ways to improve the efficiency of future vehicles; comfort, convenience, aesthetics of the vehicle; sustainability of the building, servicing, operation, and life cycle; and the personality of the vehicle.
The panel of judges included Tom Matano, Executive Director, School of Industrial Design at San Francisco's Academy of Art University; Stewart Reed, Chair of Transportation Design at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design; John Manoogian, Adjunct Professor Auto Design Studio at the College for Creative Studies; and Abel Sampson, Publisher of the Design Group of CarDesignNews. The panel was also joined by guest judge, Dr. Gabriel A. Miller, who currently serves as the Director of Research & Development at the Centre for Bioinspiration at San Diego Zoo Global, where he devotes his work to the implementation of nature’s design and engineering solutions to advance humanity, wildlife, and habitats.
In addition to the nine competing studios, three additional studios chose to highlight their team’s capabilities by displaying their concepts in this year’s Design Gallery, making for a total of 12 displays. These organizations include Hyundai Design and Research Center, Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center California and Nissan Design America.
The LA Auto Show Design Challenge was sponsored by Faurecia, the world’s sixth-largest automotive supplier specializing in automotive seating, emissions control technologies, interior systems and auto exteriors. Other sponsors that made Design LA possible included Lacks Enterprises, Inc., Eastman, Dassault Systèmes, Autodesk, Bose and BBC.com, alongside the 2013 Design Challenge media partner, Car Design News. The Design Challenge is organized by the LA Auto Show and the Design Los Angeles chairs, Joan Gregor and Chuck Pelly of The Design Academy.