BMW Imagine Police Car of the Future

The L.A. Motorshow is not just the place to inspect new models of automotive companies, it’s also the place where design teams from the top automotive companies enter a competition to come up with new visionary concepts.

In 2012 the design teams were challenged with exploring solutions for futuristic patrol cars based on a set of criteria which included: future needs for advanced technology; speed and agility on future freeway systems; creativity of the solution; and meeting a specific region’s emission standards and environmental sensibility (including maintenance and recyclability). Furthermore the teams were challenged to look into the future to envision and create the trends and tools that haven’t been imagined with the added complexity of a vehicle fit for law enforcement.

The BMW Group DesignworksUSA team began the challenge by selecting Los Angeles as the region to create a 2025 scenario. Being aware that there will be more traffic, faster vehicles, and vehicles with alternative drive trains the design team explored how a patrol team functioned today and in the future and determined that teamwork and accessibility were the two key elements to a successful patrol effort. For teamwork, the design team was inspired by the partnership between a patrol officer and their canine.

The design of the ePatrol Vision centres on a modular structure and drone technology that enhanced both teamwork and accessibility. The main structure can deploy three drones. The top drone sits above the main structure and is a flying drone, while the other two are one wheel vehicles attached to the rear. In the case of a pursuit during heavy traffic areas, the patrol officer sitting in the two passenger main structure can deploy either the flying drone or one of the single wheel drones to chase the suspect and report back data to the main structure. When all drones are deployed, the main structure can continue to function. All drones have added protection benefits in that they can send an impulse to another vehicle and disable it.

The interior design was inspired by a woven structure made of aluminium wire inside carbon fibre and polymer resin. The seats form a significant connection between driver and architecture. From a manufacturing standpoint, the 3D woven carbon fibre structure has the advantage that tooling is not required. All interfaces within the interior are touch screen. For greater protection to the patrol officers, windows are not included in the vehicle. The windshield is replaced with a large screen that on the exterior can communicate critical information such as accidents or route information to other drivers. On the interior, the large screen acts as a monitor on which data from the drones can be displayed.

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