You’ve likely heard of self-driving cars, but self-designing ones? It sounds far-fetched, but that’s the concept that drives Hackrod, a startup that allows anyone to create a customized vehicle using generative design, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and 3D printing. That’s the goal, anyway. Hackrod wants to change the way that cars are manufactured, essentially democratizing their creation the way that technology has democratized so many other things. Since its inception, Hackrod has made a lot of progress towards that goal, running a successful equity crowdfunding campaign and working towards the completion of a proof of concept car showcasing its technology.

Hackrod has already partnered with some major corporations that share its vision, and now it adds another one to the list: Siemens. The Siemens Digital Innovation Platform will help Hackrod to accelerate the development of its proof of concept, a car called La Bandita. Multiple tools from Siemens PLM Software, including NX software and the new cloud-based collaboration software Solid Edge Portal, will provide the startup with design and engineering tools so it can rapidly design, test and manufacture its product without the need for huge industrial infrastructure or tooling budgets.

“The Hackrod and Siemens PLM Software partnership is vitally important. Our shared vision includes optimized aesthetic design, robust validated engineering, complex advanced manufacturing and rapid in-situ quality assessment,” said Dr. Slade Gardner, Hackrod CTO. “Because the Hackrod vision includes rapid data collection for product design and iteration; and customized manufacturing of sophisticated mechatronic systems, Siemens’ hardware connectivity for Industrial IoT and multi-axis additive manufacturing are critical to success. The products of our partnership will illustrate the impact that an efficient and motivated team can have with access to world class digital design, engineering, visualization, manufacturing and inspection power.”

The Hackrod platform involves designing a car in virtual reality, engineering it with artificial intelligence and then 3D printing it. The company compares the creation of a car using its platform to playing a video game – it will be that easy for small companies or even individuals to design their own custom automobiles. With Siemens’ software helping it along, Hackrod plans to showcase its proof of concept as an example of what its technology can create – but only one example. The possibilities for customization are endless.

“Hackrod’s vision for automotive design is an exciting and unique use of our design and engineering software, and is completely in line with Siemens’ vision for the future of manufacturing,” said Bob Haubrock, Senior Vice President, Product Engineering Software, Siemens PLM Software. “We look forward to seeing the ‘La Bandita’ speedster and using it as proof of concept for this revolutionary design to production methodology.”

You can already pre-order your own version of La Bandita at Hackrod’s website. Hackrod is getting close to its goal, and that’s exciting for automotive enthusiasts – if not so much for traditional car manufacturers. 3D printing is already changing the way we manufacture cars, and Hackrod means to change it even further, ushering in a new era of custom, tech-driven creation.

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[Images: Hackrod]

 

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