We all know children have the power to imagine just about anything, so the ingenuity that’s burst forth in response to Toyota’s 8th annual Dream Car of the Day campaign should come as no surprise. Not only have hundreds of children around the world imagined absolutely amazing cars of the future, per the campaign’s purpose, many of them double as solutions to our most pressing environmental, social and health issues.
When Toyota asked children around the world to share their vision of their “dream car” of the future, 660k+ children ages 4-15 from over 75 countries submitted drawings. The result? An unexpectedly diverse array of images depicting solutions to social issues and some of our biggest environmental concerns. Toyota was so impressed with the submissions, it decided to showcase the 90 brightest innovations through a series of Vine videos that bring the children’s drawings to life.
“We at Toyota believe that great ideas and great cars are born from the power to dream, and it is important to nurture this power of the next generation,” said Toyota Motor Sales & Marketing president & CEO Masanao Tomozoe. “Looking at the submitted artwork, we are astounded by the variety of topics, which range from environmental sustainability to social issues to addressing local needs in their respective communities.
“We realized that all the artwork had one thing in common: They depict the vision of how to build a better world and offer their own perspectives in how to do so,” Tomozoe added. “We share this vision at Toyota and through our approach in building better cars and initiatives such as personal mobility, we think it is important to understand and share these visions and ideas of the next generation to be able to build a better future.”
Here are just a few:
- The Pollution Eraser by Brooke Cudahy, age 11 (Canada)
This futuristic car (main article image) can travel by land, sky and sea, erasing pollution wherever it goes. On the road, it cleans the pollution from other vehicles and can transform into an airplane and clean the air. In the ocean, it becomes a pollution-fighting submarine.
- Aqua Tour by Deepak Saji Kumar, age 14 (Qatar)
The car is designed to draw out water from the humid atmosphere to be used for irrigation and drinking water after purification.
- Recycling Plant Car by Sumeeth Singh, age 10 (South Africa)
This car sucks up broken plastic items and turns them into building blocks for housing.
- Powered by Waste by Gelanyi Kata, age 13 (Hungary)
Renewable energy and recycled waste come together to drive this environmentally friendly car.
- Nature Sound Music Car by Sethumdee Dulanya Dewagamage, age 6 (Sri Lanka)
What other sources of renewable energy can power a vehicle? In this dream car, the sounds of nature are transformed to fuel.
Toyota’s creative team employed a variety of methods including CGI, 3D printed models, paper cut outs, and stop-motion animation to transform the top 90 drawings into six-second videos, which have been unveiled on the Dream Car Vine account one per day since the end of May.
“Every year, we look forward to reviewing the Dream Car artworks as they give us great insights into what the future generations are thinking,” Tomozoe said. “Toyota designers and product planners are also part of the judging process and are excited to look at each of the drawings as they offer such innovative and out-of-the-box thinking. It is great pleasure to find how completely different solutions could be imagined for the same issues we try to address without our products. Even though they may not influence our development directly, the artwork remind us of the importance of imagining, dreaming and understanding the world through the future generation’s eyes.”
The campaign will culminate with the announcement of the winners of the Dream Car Art Contest on August 26, when 30 finalists and their families will be flown to Japan for the Awards Ceremony. Until then, the 90 semi-finalists will each be featured as a “hero of the day” on the Dream Car of the Day website along with their original artwork and accompanying Vine video.
While it remains to be seen whether any of the Dream Car ideas eventually become a reality, Toyota's not the first company to tap young minds for groundbreaking innovations:
- In December, Unilever and the Cambridge Program for Sustainability Leadership announced the seven finalists for the inaugural Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards. The competition, open to anyone aged 30 years or under, looks for inspiring practical, tangible solutions to help make sustainable living commonplace. The seven finalists, selected from 510 entries from 90 countries, submitted scalable and sustainable products, services or applications that enable changes in practices or behaviors in such areas as sanitation and hygiene, water scarcity, greenhouse gases, waste, sustainable agriculture and helping smallholder farmers. The winner, Garbage Clinical Insurance (from Gamal Albinsaid, 24 [Indonesia]), proposed waste recycling as a currency for primary health care.
- And last year, Intel’s Science Talent Search awarded the $100,000 grand prize to 17-year-old high-school senior Sara Volz of Colorado Springs, Colo., for her work around the viability of algae biofuels. Algae oil can be converted into a sustainable and renewable, yet costly, fuel; Volz’s research used artificial selection to build populations of algae cells with high oil content, which are essential for an economically feasible biofuel.