Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Toyota to Let People 3D Print Custom Parts for Vehicles in Japan with the Open Road Project

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toyota2Customization is a huge hobby for owners of cars, trucks, motorcycles and vehicles all around the world. When you drive down the street, no matter where you live, you are bound to come across many vehicles which have been customized through the use of body kits, new wheels, and fancy paint jobs. Now, one automaker is set to take customization to an entirely new level.

toyota1Japanese based automobile manufacturer, Toyota, has just announced the launch of their “Open Road Project” in Tokyo, Japan. The project, which features the i-Road super-compact electric vehicle, will launch this July with 10 of the i-Road vehicles being tested by a total of 100 participants. Each individual, which includes everyone from normal everyday people to trendsetters and experts within the industry, will have the opportunity to drive one of these unique vehicles for a little over a month.

The i-Road isn’t only an extremely compact vehicle, but it also has the ability to be charged from a standard 100V electrical outlet. Because the vehicle can fit into super snug parking spaces and can make use of ordinary wall outlets for charging, the potential for these vehicles seems very promising. These aren’t the only benefits though. Toyota also has set out to make the i-Road extremely customizable with 3D printed body parts which allow drivers to modify these 3-wheeled vehicles on a daily basis. The 3D printed parts can help distinguish one i-Road from another, but most importantly allow drivers to have a little fun by changing out different colored and textured 3D printed parts.

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While this project is limited to only a select number of individuals so that Toyota can test out this mass customization idea, this seems as though it may be the start of a more widespread adoption of custom 3D printed parts on other Toyota vehicles in the future. Today we are 3D printing custom parts for the i-Road, but will we soon see this option become available for other Toyota cars and trucks? It’s very possible.

toyota6For those living in Japan who would like to be part of the Open Road Project, which is setting out to “explore the future of urban mobility,” feel free to signup here.

It should be interesting to see see what types of 3D printed customized body parts people begin coming up with, and whether or not anyone will actually 3D print their own parts, or if they all end up being outsourced through Toyota themselves.

What do you think about this unique idea? Is there a future for car manufacturers who provide their customers with tools to create custom 3D printed parts? Discuss in the Toyota i-Road Vehicle forum thread on 3DPB.com.

https://www.openroad-project.com/movie/iRoad_v18.mp4

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