Kevin Czinger, founder and CEO of Divergent Microfactories, unveiled today at Solid a completely 3-D printed car that makes use of node-like aluminum components to build a chassis that is lightweight, strong and completely modular.
The audience at Solid, the O’Reilly Media Conference focused on the nexus between hardware, software and the Internet of Things, gasped collectively and broke into applause at the car’s unveiling.
Czinger — who was motivated to reimagine car manufacturing after realizing the higher carbon toll that comes from electric vehicles if both fuel consumption and manufacturing processes are factored together — said the car’s production marks the start of “the single most important chapter in the history of the automobile.”
“In the next 35 years, the industry expects to build another 4 billion vehicles. We need to dramatically reduce the material and energy required to build cars, and we need to do it now,” implored Czinger.
He showed that when factoring in total emissions, dematerialized manufacturing can outperform electric vehicle production. This led Czinger and his team to “set out to build an Arduino for cars: a carduino.”
Given the technology’s reliance on microfactories and 3-D printing alongside its modular design, APIs could play a key role in the global production of this new generation of vehicles. As 3-D printing factories like Shapeways have demonstrated, APIs are a key tech for enabling personalized manufacturing at scale, by being the communications protocol that connects designs to the factory floor.
With a global network of microfactories able to produce cars that have 700 horsepower, can go from 0 to 60 miles an hour in 2 seconds, and weigh just 1,400 pounds, Divergent Microfactories will no doubt be looking to APIs to share designs and collaborate across shop floors and among manufacturers.
“If you want to find the next new thing in automobile engineering, you need to look for a new production system. So just as Arduino democratized electronics, Divergent Microfactories is bringing real innovation to the car industry for the first time in a hundred years,” said Czinger.
ProgrammableWeb’s coverage of Solid will continue throughout the rest of the week.