The 3D printed car is happening. Certainly not too long ago that was a pretty mindblowing concept, but as we’ve watched Local Motors progress with their concept from their famed ride with Jay Leno to showing us how cars are made in their factories to unveiling their autonomous Olli vehicle over the summer in Washington, D.C., it’s a reality that just keeps expanding with the power of 3D printing, and other technologies as well.
While drones and 3D printing are often mentioned together, generally because enthusiasts enjoy making many of their own parts, Local Motors is allowing us to catch a glimpse of the first 3D printed car with its own drone. While this is a great way to show what the technology of today can do, as the Arizona-headquartered high tech automotive company worked with Grant Imahara from Mythbusters, we see that everyone looks like they are having a whole heck of a lot of fun too.
The idea was to couple the Strati with a deployable drone. Working with electronics supplier Mouser Electronics, first though, they enhanced the 3D printed Strati with autonomous capabilities allowing the car to navigate for itself, with the drone taking off and offering a video feed inside the car. As the ‘driver’ rides in the car that is doing all the work itself, they are able to find out where the traffic jams are, as well as checking out the nearby landscape. While both of these machines are self-propelled and the drone can go so far as to redirect the car when it goes over the center line, the driver is still ultimately responsible for controlling both of them.
The accompanying drone is the result of a challenge launched several months ago where contestants were asked to come up with unique ideas for autonomy. The winner, Finn Yonkers, was lauded for his concept of fly mode.
“The main thing with fly mode, I kind of wanted to flip the idea of autonomy on its side,” Yonkers explains, “so by introducing the element of flight, you are actually increasing the sensory experience of travel, giving you a viewpoint that’s out of context so you’re not really inside the vehicle anymore. You’re outside of it, and it gives you plenty of opportunities to expand on the experience.”
“You’re not just along for the ride,” verifies Imahara, demonstrating that as they take the Strati out for a test drive.
Releasing the drone immediately, the guys enjoy a ‘look, ma, no hands!’ experience in the autonomous car as the drone follows steadily behind, keeping an eye on them, and feeding images to the screens in the car when the driver employs them. If this technology becomes made available to the public, drivers will have a much easier time avoiding traffic jams—and when stuck in them, can deploy the drone to show them exactly what is happening.
The car’s system and the drone can also function on an augmented reality level, even serving to allow for gaming while driving in autonomous mode. Check out the video for examples of this, and more. Is this a car you’d like to be driving in the future? Local Motors is certainly doing a great job of hyping their 3D printed car—and we sure look forward to seeing them on the roads—drones and all! Discuss in the Local Motors forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: RoadShow]