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Photos: LA Design Challenge 2057

The LA Auto Show, which kicks off in mid-November, is holding its fourth annual Design Challenge. This year, it asked leading manufacturers to create a concept for a "RoboCar of 2057." What do Audi, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen think you'll be driving by then? The answers take into consideration environmental concerns, safety and your wildest dreams.

1 of 8 Volkswagen/Audi Design Center California
Audi came up with the Virtuea Quattro, a hydrogen-powered vehicle with artificial intelligence and a holographic exterior so that people can customize and change their car's look at whim without environmental impact.
2 of 8 General Motors Advanced Design, California
Believe it or not, General Motors says that it based its Ant car of 2057 on the actual insect. It considers the ant "nature's best commuter" because, as a team, ants do well at coordinating traffic. The Ant would use a more enhanced version of GM's current OnStar communications system to create vehicle-to-vehicle communication for coordinating traffic patterns. Three independent wheel systems and "electro-active polymer actuators" acting as artificial muscles would allow the car to contort into many different configurations...Was that idea based on the rubber-tree plant?
3 of 8 Honda Research and Development
Honda's "One to the Power of Four" is a solar-hybrid vehicle that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and molecular engineering to allow it to transform into four types of vehicles depending on its owner's needs at any given moment.
4 of 8 Mazda R&D North America
Forget the fictitious Heroes samurai Takezo Kensei...Mazda named its car of the future after the real Japanese warrior Mori Motonari. Like the samurai armor of old, the Motonari RX is meant to become one with its owner. Four wheels with 360-degree movement are controlled by the driver through a suit that functions as the controller . "The entire structure of the vehicle is comprised of a 100 percent re-prototypable, carbon nano-tube/shape memory alloy weave with a photovoltaic coating. This enables programmable tensiometry and fluid movement while ensuring efficient energy transfer to the in-wheel electro-static nanomotors," according to Mazda.
5 of 8 Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America
While the car is roughly styled after the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix race cars of yesteryear, the concept is all tomorrow. The micro-metallic particles on the SilverFlow are arranged by manipulating magnetic fields. Like a space bag for your clothes, the car can essentially be shrunk for easy storage.
6 of 8 Nissan Design America
Nissan's OneOne, whose name sounds like the Japanese word for a cute barking dog, is meant to be a pet as well as a mode of transportation. Going on the theory that robots will become a "helpful member of the family," the OneOne will not only drive you to the grocery store, but will also do the grocery shopping. It's guided by GPS and moves with a skating motion similar to rollerblading. It can lie down for more speed or stand up for easier parking and storage. Hopefully, it doesn't roll over.
7 of 8 Toyota/Calty Design Research
Toyota went with the theory that we are simply going to run out of highway space and will need to move on a multilevel system in order to accommodate our driving population in the future. And as with the Back to the Future De Lorean, Toyota's Biomobile Mecha is powered by "pollution." Only instead of "Doc" Emmett Brown's backyard trash, the Mecha sucks in pollutants to power itself and clean the air.
8 of 8 Volkswagen/Audi Design Center California
The Slipstream is a teardrop-shaped pod made out of solar panels that rides on two wheels. In anticipation of overcrowded highways, Volkswagen designed the Slipstream to travel in a special highway lane that will enable it to be driven in an upright position that takes up one-fifth of the highway space taken by today's average car. It will also feature rear fins that let it hover at speeds of up to 250 mph.

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