Local Motors Creates R&D Lab Via UNLV Partnership

September 2, 2015

10:00 pm

The world’s first 3D printed car has already been made – it’s happened, and it’s called The Strati. Local Motors first developed the initial schematics for the vehicle in June 2014, and ever since then they’ve been working to optimize the design: the team has showcased their astounding 3D printing abilities and begun development on the first highway-ready models.

No doubt about it, it’s a huge bout of success for Local Motors. What’s more interesting than a 3D-printed car though (I know, hard to top) is the way everything was pulled together.

That is, Local Motors has always held fast to cocreation by letting their community members heavily influence and even design their direction. This essence of cocreation permeates nearly every facet of Local Motors, but it’s begun to have a measurable impact on local tech ecosystems as well.

Although the Local Motors headquarters are in Phoenix, they have a marked foothold in the Downtown Las Vegas tech community. As a result of their willingness to engage with others, the company recently announced that they’ll be partnering with the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) via the university’s Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL).

Together, DASL and Local Motors will create a R&D program specifically to create new automobile technologies. Their first project will be to create a Local Motors 3D printed vehicle with a pseudo-autonomous driving system that’s piloted by a robot, DRC-Hubo (pictured in the driver seat below):


“This partnership with UNLV is an example of how Local Motors is using the power of co-creation to advance vehicle technology,” says Corey Clothier, Local Motors lead for automated vehicle development.

UNLV is actually now a part of the Local Motors Cocreated (LOCO) Program, which advances automotive education and research initiatives at partner universities. Specifically, the program covers 3D printing and vehicle anatomy in an effort to disrupt the paradigms set by the automotive industry.

Through the LOCO Program, university students and faculty will have access to the Local Motors cocreated projects and vehicles to aid in the development of next generation vehicle technology. Not to mention it acts as a big neon sign that basically reads: “Hey, potential new students/donors/etc, we have relevant and meaningful technology programs and partnerships to offer”. DASL couldn’t be happier.

“Local Motors’ vision and realization of microfactories is truly exciting…it will yield bold innovations for inspiring wonder and empowering creativity,” says Pal Oh, leader of DASL.


When Local Motors begins selling the world’s first 3D printed car next year, UNLV will be on the list of affiliates who get access to iterations of the highway ready vehicle. Just imagine what putting that kind of open ended creativity into the hands of the right students could bring forth. Pay attention to this, trust me, because this is history literally being made before our very eyes.

Image Credit: Flickr / Gage Skidmore’s page / cropped, resized

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Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988

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