Every year, car designers open their minds for the Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge and show off what they think the cars of the future will be like. While previous contests have asked designers to create everything from futuristic police cars to vehicles that exist in harmony with nature, this year's theme is especially relevant to current industry trends.

The theme for the 11th running of the design challenge is "Sensing the Future: How Will Cars Interact with Us in 2029?" It calls on participants to create a vehicle interface "with human emotion in mind" that can seamless connect drivers and passengers—and all of their technology—to a future car.

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Designers will have to ponder the future of the human-machine interface in cars, something that's very much on the minds of the designers and engineers of current production cars, who must juggle concerns with distracted driving with consumers' attachment to smartphones.

Eight companies will participate in the 2014 design challenge, including: BMW, Honda (with one team each from the U.S. and Japan), McLaren, Nissan, Peterbilt, Qoros, and SAIC. That Chinese carmaker won last year's challenge with its single-seat Roewe Mobiliant.

The entries will be judged by a panel of top automotive design experts. Details on each concept will be revealed at the Art Center College of Design Car Classic in Pasadena, California on October 26, and the winner will be announced on November 20, at the end of press days for the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.


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