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SAIC's ant-inspired concept wins LA Auto Show Design Challenge


December 1, 2013

SAIC Motor has taken out the 2013 LA Auto Show Design Challenge with its Mobiliant concept

SAIC Motor has taken out the 2013 LA Auto Show Design Challenge with its Mobiliant concept

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The 2013 LA Auto Show Design Challenge has been won by SAIC Motor Corp. The Chinese automaker’s “Mobiliant” concept saw off competition from eight other contenders who where challenged to create forward-looking designs under the theme "Biomimicry & Mobility 2025 – Nature's Answer to Human Challenges."

Over the past decade the LA Auto Show Design Challenge has been a forum for an array of thought-provoking and often wildly outlandish concepts, allowing designers to throw off the shackles of practicality and think as far outside the box as their imaginations can carry them. The 2013 event has proved no exception.

This year's Biomimicry & Mobility theme challenged competitors to provide solutions to transportation issues including congestion, pollution, safety and sustainability. Entries were judged on factors such as the creative adaptation of nature's laws, the application of biomimicry, comfort, aesthetics, sustainability and of course, personality.

The SAIC Mobiliant concept is inspired by the simple structure of an ant’s body and their symbiotic relationship with trumpet trees. Among the technologies imagined for this single-seat urban vehicle is a translucent cover that mimics the exoskeleton of ants, absorbing pollutants from the air and converting them into fertilizers that are transferred to plants in an "Ecobuilding" (i.e. the trumpet trees), which returns the favor by providing the vehicle with fermentation products to power its biofuel cell. The concepts also sports something called a "Cilium Layer Advanced Wheel System" which would provide enough grip to start climbing walls ... a feature that could be taken full advantage of in the 3D road network (the Mobiliant Expressway) which is proposed as part of the overall concept.

"The inspiration for the creative team comes directly from our surrounding environment," says Anthony Williams-Kenny, Global Design Director at SAIC Motor Corp. "The rapid and dramatic growth of the world's large conurbations inspires our designers to consider the requirements of personal mobility systems – to focus on the environmental factors related to automotive use such as the need to continue to reduce vehicle emissions, making each journey more efficient through the development of appealing, high value, personal transport."

Other participants included BMW, Subaru and Toyota, with entries referencing everything from self-sustaining silk worms to maple seeds to Kangaroos.

The Mobiliant was awarded the prize after judges agreed that its focus on the concept of mutualism – the harmony and balance found in nature when two different organisms develop and mutually beneficial relationship – set it apart from other entries.

Hit the source link below or head to the gallery to check out some of the other radical concepts featured in this year's competition.

Source: LA Auto Show Design Challenge

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds. All articles by Stu Robarts

This is why "designers" should be kept as far from production designs as possible.


Futuristic designs, inspired by nature, as required by the contest, but yet with wheels, motors and batteries. No one was inspired by a magnetic gecko, for example. Exactly the way I think for many years, SAIC had the same idea of substituting elevators by own vehicle, but not magnetically, as I think will be when we have magnetized pathways.


Here is a new concept - did these designers ever consider that most people in the world just want to get from point A to point B in the cheapest and safest way possible? The lack of comments here should be an eye opener!



This is a design competition, not an engineering one. Designers by their very nature don't worry about practicality, only about aesthetics.


I could easily rephrase the post by donwine, but not improve upon it.


Oh well... even if it's not practical, it makes someone's portfolio appear to be "cutting edge". Perhaps it will inspire a few details in the next Will Smith robot adventure.

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