Toyota uses 3D printing in Open Road Project to produce custom electric vehicles
The future of automobile clearly belongs to electric cars, or even self-driving ones, with new designs. Some producers of automobiles have decided to allow their customers to create their customizations with 3D printers, just like producers of other products.
Surely we shouldn’t expect that individual parts of engine will be designed, but the inside or outside parts of a car (like body panels and other elements) that have nothing to do with safety of vehicles could be 3D printed. That’s what Toyota is planning to attain launching the new campaign that will start in July, 2015.
The company that has already dealt with innovations of early stages (like the revealing of the Prius Hybrid car) will start and lead their project in Tokyo that will support the convenient practical use of the new iRoad vehicle along the Tokyo streets. The car is a very compact electric automobile that is suitable for city environment. Users can charge it from common 100V electrical outlets. One of its advantages is that you can park it easily even when the streets are too crowded.
To fulfill their project Toyota will look for creative thoughts from other producers, community and the companies that specialize in it or anyone from the public who will be able to provide feedback on two major areas of the company’s work. The company will be focusing on those areas of user’s experience for the next couple of years – new opportunities to find comfortable parking and customization using additive manufacturing.
In general, every year 100 participants will be given 10 iRoads for about a month. Among the participants there will be common citizens and real experts. As one of the aims of Toyota is to allow users customize their cars, they will encourage the use of custom components on their cars as well as to develop 3D printed vehicle parts in different colors and designs to their liking.
The participants in their turn will give the feedback to the company that will help them improve user’s experience and practical characteristics of the iRoad, like how to make it more usable or how to customize it.
If you are in Tokyo and are willing to take part in the project, you may apply for being part of it. The company has settled a couple of criteria according to which the participants will be elected, one of which is frequency of using the car.
In the official release Toyota mentioned that via consumer trials they want to find the most suitable ways for development of services and products that are one of the main advantages of the new type of vehicle discover new ways of mobility.