May 17, 2006 Each year at the North American International Auto Show (aka NAIAS or the Detroit Motor Show), the Michelin Challenge Design offers a global platform for students and designers to share their visions of design for automotive industries in the 21st Century. This year, 22 vehicles made it to the show in full-sized form and all of them represent original thought in the automotive design process and a trip to the design web site will provide hours of fascination for any mechanical engineering enthusiast. Two designs that really interested us this year were from young German designers Tilmann Schlootz and Oliver Keller who collaborated to produce the Baal and Hyanide designs pictured here and inside. They represent an entirely new vehicle concept using a bendable rubber track that offers much more traction than its closest relative, the motorcycle, as well as freely changeable directions.
The Baal and Hyanide are steered by both hands and feet and though the display models use a 500cc ATV Motor, the designers believe the construction could allow the use of different engine concepts including fuel cell systems.
The Baal is seen by the designers as having significant off road advantages due to its greater theoretical traction and could take part in desert rallies the Dakar or Baja 1000.