July 7, 2015
Disruption is something that most of us in the tech community either hear or talk about on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s just that: talk and chatter. However, other times, disruptive efforts by entrepreneurs and startups have accomplished some magnificent and awe inspiring feats.
Local Motors is one of those rare companies that both talks about plans to disrupt industries and then follows through on said plans. Specifically, they talk about disrupting the automotive industry on as many levels as they can.
Recently they took a major leap and launched what they called Project Redacted, a design competition that sought to uncover inspiration for building the world’s first fleet of 3D printed cars. To be chosen for the win a submission had to meet a host of prerequisites, chief among them a focus on the benefits of Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM).
You see, Local Motors is actually the first company to utilize DDM in vehicle production. Further, it’s something we know they can do – and do well – as is evident by the Strati, the world’s first 3D printed car.
“At Local Motors, we are hell bent on revolutionizing manufacturing,” says John B. Rogers, Jr., CEO and cofounder of Local Motors. “Car manufacturers have been stamping parts the same way for more than 100 years. We now have the technology to make the process and products better and faster by linking the online to the offline through DDM. This process will create better and safer products, and we are doing exactly that.”
The winning entry for Project Redacted was chosen through a voting process that included the Local Motors community, Jay Leno – car enthusiast and Tonight Show host, John Waraniak – SEMA VP of Vehicle Tech, and Geert Jan Schellekens – SABIC Senior Manager. After they all cast their votes, the winner was announced:
Project Redacted is only the first major step in a long line of upcoming initiatives for Local Motors, all of which will highlight the power of cocreation. To that end they’ve partnered with the University of Michigan, Arizona State University, and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
This partnership will specifically amplify 3D printing activity while also highlighting some of the best and brightest minds in the nation. They’ll all be working with Local Motors’ new fleet of cocreated University Vehicles – Michigan is already looking into autonomous, electric student transportation.
As they continue to legitimately disrupt the automotive industry at large, Local Motors is planning on rolling out a Low Speed Electric Vehicle (LSEV) iteration of the Project Redacted winner to debut in Q1 2016. Not long after that they’ll be launching a fully highway ready version. I can honestly say that I don’t think auto manufacturing is ever going to be the same again.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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