Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Public Transportation of the Future: Knoxville Local Motors Factory Produces First 3D Printed Olli

HP

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The idea of Olli seems to be gaining traction around the world. And it certainly makes sense as the wave of the future for public transportation. The 3D printed vehicle, meant to carry multiple passengers to and fro in any city, is manufactured by Local Motors—the Arizona-headquartered company you may know best for their mission in reinventing the car. That would seem to be translating into mini-buses as well, with only a smartphone needed to plot the next stops to get on and off.

We were introduced to Local Motors as the 3D printed Strati hit the scene—and more recently, was even accompanied by a deployable drone. And while being able to buy a 3D printed car is a novel idea for sure, with Olli we are offered the potential of convenience in metro and campus travel, with little expense. Olli will be produced in microfactories in both Berlin and Tennessee, with the first 3D printed version being made just recently in the Knoxville facility. The Local Motors team believes this to be the only 3D printed vehicle of its type.

And while Olli is charming looking—perhaps even cute—the ramifications for the future of making such vehicles are staggering.

“Let’s consider how a large automaker, like General Motors, has made their vehicles over the past century,” states the LM Labs team in a recent blog. “They invested heavily in engineering for mass production. They may spend 2 years engineer for a new vehicle they will make. They will invest massive amounts of money to build the tooling and means for mass production for perhaps a run of 100,000 vehicles. If anyone wanted their vehicle to be modified, it would not be possible. They are stuck with 1 vehicle design for all their world markets.”

Local Motors personnel have a seat in the lower portion of the 3D printed Olli.

With Local Motors’ new dynamic in manufacturing, a shuttle-style vehicle like Olli can be made to suit a particular geographical area or college campus. With the benefits of 3D printing, the vehicle can be easily refined without having to completely modify it; in fact, it is as easy as going into the digital file and making the changes to an already existing design that may have been manufactured already. Any number of design features can be changed. It is anticipated that shape and size would be the aspects requiring the most editing, depending on the locale. With low-volume capacity easily available, everybody wins—and most especially, the travelers!

Local Motors expects that in the future they will be involving numerous other professionals in the design of these vehicles, to include experienced urban designers, city planners for transportation, and numerous others who would offer relevant input in working with the Local Motors (AUTHORITY) 3D printing team. So far, Olli has already been at the service of commuters in Washington, D.C., as well as Berlin. Discuss in the Olli forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source / Images: LM Labs]

 

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