Wednesday, 1 December, 2010 1:41 AM
Aera Concept Wins 7th Annual L.A. Design Challenge
Advanced Design team most honored in challenge history
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
representative from General Motors accepts the award
for winning the 7th Annual L.A. Design Challenge.
LOS ANGELES --
The Cadillac Aera concept vehicle won the 2010 Los Angeles
Auto Show Design Challenge, tying with Smart and besting entries
from seven other automakers including Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Nissan,
Toyota and Maybach. GM Advanced Design has now won the honor more
times than any other design team; this is its third victory since
This is the seventh year
for the contest, and this year designers were asked to envision
the "1,000 lb. car" and tasked to imagine an efficient
four-passenger vehicle that maintained comfort, safety, driving
performance and style while not exceeding the weight requirement.
"The Cadillac Aera
concept was designed to continue the forward-thinking imagination
of Cadillac's 'art and science' philosophy," explains Jussi
Timonen, lead designer for the project. "It's designed as a
small city urban vehicle, but we approached this 2+2 touring coupe
very much from the brand's luxury perspective. Every detail of the
Aera was conceived to minimize the vehicle's environmental impact
without sacrificing the style, comfort and attention to detail that
are hallmarks of the Cadillac brand."
The Aera is powered by
compressed air via a highly efficient Pneumatic Drive System that
has a 10,000-psi composite air storage tank with capacity for a
1,000-mile range. Flexible, pressurized air cells in the exterior
skin, similar to material developed for the NASA Mars Rover airbags,
enhance passive safety and interior comfort. The flexible polymer
skin optimizes aerodynamics and functions as an ultra-lightweight
alternative to conventional body panels and glass.
Aera's body utilizes
a 3D lattice, mono-formed frame that was designed to be similar
to configurations found consistently in nature. The structure is
formed from unique, alloy-utilizing, semi-solid freeform manufacturing,
creating a naturally strong, extremely lightweight frame. All major
body parts, including interior components, are essentially "grown"
into a single part lattice structure.
The interior is crafted
with an ultra-light recyclable polymer that allows for HVAC channels,
fully adjustable seating, storage and comfort features all in one
mono-form structure. Generous storage space accommodates luggage
for two people.
include an all-in-one wheel system that combines rotary actuator
propulsion, steering and suspension functions. A drive-by-wire system
decreases the mass of electrical components, while vehicle-to-vehicle
communication promotes active safety.
The concept was conceived
in GM's North Hollywood Advanced Design Studio by Frank Saucedo,
director; Phil Tanioka, vehicle designer; Brent Wickham, concept
strategist; Shawn Moghadam, layout designer, and Timonen, the project
manager. Earlier this week, GM commemorated 10 years of advanced
design at the L.A. area studio.
"This year's design
challenge was extremely difficult to judge because of the quality
of all of the entries, but I believe that the executions that won
exemplified everything that we were trying to achieve with this
competition," said Stewart Reed, chair, Transportation Design,
Art Center College of Design. "The concepts that won were really
spot on for their brands, which was one of many reasons for the
The Design Challenge
is part of the Design Los Angeles automobile designers' conference
and has evolved into an integral element of the Los Angeles Auto
Show. Design Los Angeles connects those working in the design industry
with well-known automotive design industry leaders. Los Angeles
is home to the world's largest concentration of manufacturer design
studios, representing automakers from North America, Europe and
Asia. It is also the home of Art Center College of Design, one of
the world's foremost transportation design institutions where many
of today's leading automotive designers began their careers.
Source: General Motors
credit: General Motors Design
Cadillac Aera Concept
credit: Smart USA
Smart 454 WWT
more photos from the 7th Annual L.A. Design Challenge
and RTT sketch-off competition, click on Next Page.