Did you hear? SHARC – Subaru’s new inflatable car concept!

SHARC – Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept

So, it sounds like Subaru has some really innovative engineers and concept artists! Subaru recently won the Global Design challenge at the LA Auto Show, up against some tough competition from other major manufacturers. The challenge, taken on by Subaru’s Global Design Team, BMW’s Designworks USA, General Motors Advanced Design California, Honda’s R&D design studios from both Los Angeles and Tokyo, and Mercedes-Benz R&D North America’s Advanced Design Center California, was a project to design the Ideal Highway Patrol Vehicle of 2025.

Subaru’s entry was very…different.

SHARC is an autonomous unmanned drone design, with the capability of nimble land based driving and quickly changing into an airborne form factor, and being controlled remotely if desired. Its fueled by renewable energy, and meets Hawaii’s environmental mandates for “Ultra Green Carbon Neutral” fuels. The SHARC is constructed from a Kevlar skin, with a frame made of electrically activated fiber that changes shape as a charge runs through it. Its envisioned to be deployed from a tube and afterward it inflates to the correct shape, also exposing its four 96 bhp electric wheels – which also become the rotors for flight, as they can rotate to be parallel to the ground.

The  judges included Stewart Reed, Transportation Design chair at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, Tom Matano, executive director for the School of Industrial Design at Academy of Art University, Imre Molnar, provost and chief academic officer at College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and Bruce Meyer, founding chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Subaru “captured the vision of the Design Challenge theme by combining functionality and problem-solving technology around a dynamic and plausible story,” in the words of Chuck Pelly from Design LA.

Check out the press release below from the LA Auto Show

With global collaboration among its design studios, the creative minds at Subaru developed the cutting-edge SHARC as an affordable and environmentally conscious highway patrol vehicle that meets Hawaii’s strict UltraGreen carbon-neutral environmental regulations. With visible trends in reduced highway patrol budgets worldwide, SHARC vehicles are powered by renewable energy and operate autonomously, eliminating the need for a large full-time highway patrol staff.

Entries were judged by multi-discipline design professionals who selected the winner based upon various factors including: consideration of future needs for advanced technology; speed and agility on future freeway systems; creativity of the solution; meeting the specific region’s mandated emission standards; and environmental sensitivity for maintenance and recyclability.

WINNERSubaru Global DesignVehicle Title: SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept)

Design Team:

David Cohen – Project Leader

Matt Wherry – Vehicle Design

David Cohen – Vehicle Design

Masashi Kaneda – Character Design

Digital Modeling:

Teru Kobayashi

Takamitsu Watanabe

Hang Hui Yao

With the grand opening of Hawaii’s sparkling new inter-island Paradise Highway, Subaru debuts the cutting-edge SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept). SHARC highway patrol vehicles will provide an innovative, affordable, and environmentally conscious solution for 24-hour highway monitoring, protection, and rapid emergency response. Meeting Hawaii’s strict UltraGreen carbon-neutral environmental regulations and reflecting a trend for reduced highway patrol budgets worldwide, zero-emission SHARC vehicles are powered by renewable energy and operate autonomously, eliminating the need for a large full-time highway patrol staff.

To learn about Subaru’s current (and still very innovative) vehicles, please check out our website, here: www.rimrocksubaru.com
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