Traditional and inefficient manufacturing processes in the automotive industry are giving way to digital design techniques and advanced manufacturing methods like 3D printing. In an ongoing partnership with Autodesk, Los Angeles-based startup company Hackrod has taken on a major challenge to transform the way automobiles are designed and manufactured. According to their website, the company aims to redefine the way vehicles are designed, engineered, and produced in the 21st century, and they’re currently developing methodology that will enable the rapid prototyping of bespoke vehicle solutions and fully realize the concept of consumer as co-creator in the automotive space.
Hackrod was originally featured on 3DPrint.com back in July 2016 for using advanced processes to design custom vehicles. Today, they’re making news again for their equity crowdfunding campaign through MicroVentures. The company is seeking to raise $50,000 – $1,070,000 and, as of the time of publication, has already raised $34,720 from 52 investors.
From the firm’s official description from MicroVentures, “Hackrod is currently laying claim to the world’s first car designed in virtual reality, engineered by artificial intelligence, made with the full potential of advanced manufacturing, and delivered by the supply chain of the future.”
For those interested in investing, a $10,000 investment will secure the first option to purchase a limited edition La Bandita sports car. However, a $25,000 investment will get contributors a ticket to attend a desert test session and ride along.
Hackrod launched in 2015 after they began research for Autonomo, an action car movie produced by Hackrod CEO Mike “Mouse” McCoy. The plot of the movie, which inspired the team to launch the company, takes place in a future battle between autonomous systems and the American dream of the open road ─ a world where AI and robotic manufacturing empowered young entrepreneurs to realize their wildest automotive visions. Hackrod’s platform will be featured in the movie and Autonomo plans to commission the company to design, manufacture, and develop 50 cars for the movie. These replica cars will serve as templates for future customers to use as starting points for their own designs.
The co-founders behind Hackrod each bring to the table a unique set of skills developed from years of experience in design, media, stunts/racing, and manufacturing. With this diverse skill set, they determined that if they could bring together new technologies, they could see a future where normal consumers could play a bigger role in the design and manufacturing of custom cars.
Their goal is to challenge the traditional approach to automotive manufacturing by leveraging generative design, virtual reality, 3D printing, and a cloud-based supply chain. Their design and manufacturing process will include engineering analysis and performance simulation as well as supply chain management, ordering, and hardware integration. Hackrod’s partnership with Autodesk is based around developing car prototypes using the Autodesk VRED 3D visualization and virtual prototyping software.
It’s no secret that automobile manufacturing is in need of a serious makeover, and by that, I mean, adopting new technologies that give consumers the ability to customize their options – as well as provide a digital platform to do everything else such as component sourcing, engineering analysis, and hardware integration.
Users of the platform will use a game-like interface to choose options along the way. They’ll be able to see the analysis happen and watch the design come together with the help of artificial intelligence. What’s more is that users will have the ability to test the car in a video game simulator that collects real data. Finally, the user can sit back and watch as the parts are ordered and the car is built. If implemented successfully, this would be an exciting advancement for automotive enthusiasts, but might be considered a threat to industry leading manufacturers.
Hackrod’s proof-of-concept car is a retro-styled roadster called La Bandita. The car will be designed in mixed reality, engineered by artificial intelligence, and manufactured with advanced manufacturing techniques. When La Bondita is completed, the company will turn their focus on automating key tasks such as structural engineering and suspension geometry, bringing the vision of consumer as co-creator vehicle design closer to reality.
Since the body was designed and reviewed in virtual reality, the was no need to develop expensive and time consuming scale and full size models. Hackrod 3D scanned an existing race car to capture the suspension geometry. The chassis was engineered by an artificial intelligence algorithm which will then be 3D printed in aluminum, eliminating the need for costly tooling and allowing the team to make changes to every car produced with no impact on production costs.
What do you think of think of future of automotive design and manufacturing? Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[Sources: Motor1, MicroVentures / Images: Hackrod]
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