Children Imagine the Cars of the Future

Published May-19-15

Children from all over the world share their ideas for their dream cars of the future.

Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan

The Story:

Children Imagine the Cars of the Future Einstein was always ready with a snappy and sometimes profound quote to get us all thinking. Talking about ideas and creativity he once said, "To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition." So perhaps there are lessons to be learned from looking at what and how children create when set tasks?

Awesome Ideas

Since 2004, car giant Toyota has been running a crowdsource design competition for children, called the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. It is one of the largest global art contests for children in the world and kids in several age categories are invited to draw pictures of their dream cars. This is not a drawing contest per se, but a vehicle (if you'll forgive the pun) to see how entrants give flight to their imaginations.

The annual contest wants to inspire children to continue with their dreams and to encourage the next generation of thinkers, creatives, inventors and designers. As Toyota's contest website says: "Every great idea was born in the glimmer of a dream."

In 2014, more than 660,000 drawings were submitted from children in more than 75 countries and regions. Among the concepts were a car that scoops up plastic scraps and turns them into low-cost bricks for housing, a car specially adapted to drive in humid conditions and a car that shrinks down to fit inside your pocket at the touch of a button, solving parking issues at an instant.

There were three categories: 7 and under, 8 to 11 and 12 to 15) and winners of national contests were selected regionally. This created 31 winners who were invited to the awards ceremony in Japan.

Among the winners were Bui Thanh Mai (age 6) of Vietnam for “Super Crab Car” and Mealaksey Pha (age 5) of Cambodia for “Smart Fish Car”.

Fun and Fantasy

As wonderful and as exciting as the cars appear, they won't be moving along the production line anytime soon.

Many of the drawings are crammed with great concepts, some practical others not so with current technologies or budgetary constraints. But one of the neat things about the contest is that children had free rein to let their imaginations take them wherever they go. The best ideas are included in a permanent gallery on the contest's website, and who knows perhaps these will spark some further ideas that could bring about breakthrough concepts in the automobile industry?

Never Say Never

One of the winners, Raceanu Iasmina Maria (age 15 at time of submitting her drawing) from Romania had this to say about her reasons for taking part in the crowdsourced contest:

"As a motto for the experience offered by Toyota I would choose a phrase found in the book ‘Alice in Wonderland’: “Beyond what you see, everything might be totally different”. Toyota Dream Car Art Contest was, for me, an opportunity to increase my motivation to think of something you never thought of before. They say never cannot be thought of. I hope that now, I think, to some extent the "never"!

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