caddy aera

Joining the Smart 454 WWT as the joint winner of the 2010 Los Angeles Design Challenge is General Motors Advanced Design California’s Cadillac Aera, which takes Cadillac’s philosophy of Art and Science into new territory with an innovative and stylistic ultra-light weight vehicle.

The Aera, which gets its name from a merger of the words Aero and Era, fits the design challenge’s theme of a 1000 lb four-seater vehicle, in this case in a 2+2 touring coupe form, and it can travel 1,600 km before refueling.

caddy aera 2

The Aera works with a 3D lattice, mono-formed frame – the polyhedral structure is similar to configurations found consistently in nature, like inside the grouping of bubbles. It’s built with a unique, alloy-utilising, semi-solid freeform manufacturing process, with all major body parts – including interior components – essentially “grown” into a single part lattice structure.

The Aera is powered by compressed air (like the Volvo Air Motion) via a highly efficient Pneumatic Drive System (PDS), and the 10,000 psi composite air storage tank has ample capacity for a 1,600 km range. Flexible, pressurized air cells in the exterior skin – similar to material developed for the NASA Mars Rover airbags – enhance passive safety and interior comfort. The flexible polymer skin optimises the Aera’s aerodynamics and functions as an ultra-lightweight alternative to conventional body panels and glass.

caddy aera 3

Additional technologies include an All-In-One (AIO) wheel system, combining rotary actuator propulsion, steering and suspension functions, as well as a drive by wireless system, which decreases the usage of electrical components and vehicle to vehicle communication (V2V).

Gallery after the jump.

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